Fabio Quartararo: Top speed ‘win’, but ‘losing’ corner speed | New chassis at Le Mans

Fabio Quartararo: "The top speed compared to two years ago, we win a lot. But in terms of corner speed, we are losing."

Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP race, Spanish MotoGP, 28 April
Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP race, Spanish MotoGP, 28 April

With Yamaha and Honda yet to make significant gains in performance, the big question is when the ‘D’ concession duo will play one of their main trump cards and introduce engine changes.

In-season engine modifications are still prohibited for the other MotoGP manufacturers - Ducati, KTM and Aprilia.

But with both Japanese brands having recently tried a range of chassis and aero developments without a breakthrough, altering the engine character looks increasingly crucial.

Yamaha’s former world champion Fabio Quartararo confirmed that the success in addressing the M1’s previous top speed deficit has come at a high price.

“Well, to be faster is always an advantage normally, but I think this [top speed gain] makes us lose a lot of our [other] strong points,” Quartararo said.

“I think the engine changed quite a lot from last year. And it changed a lot, in the end, the bike. I think the turning and grip we had in the past was much better.

“So of course the top speed compared to two years ago, we win a lot. But in terms of corner speed, we are losing. So we have to analyse pretty well what we are doing, especially for the future.”

Countryman Johann Zarco, who has switched from Ducati to Honda this year, explained that the top speed charts don’t just reflect engine performance.

“You don't really look at it,” said Zarco. “It's coming when it's coming. And this difference in top speed [on the Honda] is not what is making the biggest difference in lap time.

“I think we have anyway some steps back with the aerodynamics in Honda and I think for this reason we struggle in the fast corners. But then even in the straight, the way they study it, we maybe slow down a bit. [So] I don't think it's a real problem of the engine.

“I cannot compare it [to] the previous years on the Ducati when I could be a bit faster because it's maybe about the way of getting out of the corner or the aero. Even among the Ducatis there were differences so maybe the leather suit, the helmets, all little things.

“Sometimes the top speed is about when you are braking. So many times the guy that got the best top speed is the one that is braking the most late. That's why it's really kind of random I would say.”

While Zarco said he won’t have anything new for his home Le Mans event this weekend, having joined the other Honda riders in rejecting Stefan Bradl’s RC213V prototype at the Jerez test, Quartararo will have the new chassis.

“It's always special to come here, I think it's one of the only tracks where the party starts already on Wednesday!” Quartararo said of the enthusiastic French fans.

“We will try some things from the test. The new chassis… It's not a massive difference. But we'll see.

“The swingarm was planned to be [used also] but we have a test in Mugello after the race here, so we will test it there.”

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