At last November's Malaysian MotoGP, it was announced that rookie star Fabio Quartararo would join Petronas Yamaha team-mate Franco Morbidelli in having 'A-Spec' machinery for 2020.

'The team has fielded one A-Spec and one B-Spec Yamaha YZR-M1 for its debut MotoGP season in 2019... This new agreement means that both Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo will run with equal machinery next year,' the statement added.

But at today's team launch, it was revealed that the Sepang bikes will actually be 'in Factory-spec for Fabio - who is set to join the factory Yamaha team in 2021 - and A-spec for Franco'.

While Quartararo charged to seven podiums, six pole positions and fifth in the world championship during his rookie season, Morbidelli's second year in the premier-class brought four front-rows, a best race finish of fifth and tenth overall.

The precise difference between Morbidelli's 2020 package and the Factory Yamahas is not yet clear, although the air intakes on the bikes presented at today's launch (main picture) for example are clearly different. Either way, the Italian's bike is still said to be a step up from last year's A-spec machine.

Quartararo's 2019 B-Spec bike had some older-spec parts and five instead of seven engine changes, resulting in a reduction of 500rpm to extend engine life. However, the rev difference was removed for the last five rounds when it became clear that he'd saved enough engines to finish the year at full revs.

Quartararo and Morbidelli will take to the track in their 2020 colours when official testing starts at their home circuit tomorrow (Friday).

"In MotoGP we set the bar high in 2019, so there is a lot of external pressure and motivation to repeat or improve this level of performance," said Petronas Yamaha team principal Razlan Razali.

"We have targeted improvement in every area of the team but we are mindful that the element we don’t have control over is our rivals and how much progress they have made over the off-season.

"We’re eager to see everyone out on track over the forthcoming days at Sepang and we’re pushing hard to prepare ourselves in the best way possible for the season ahead."

Team manager Wilco Zeelenberg revealed there had been "no changes in the MotoGP crew so we should work even better together. Last year was our first as a new team, so it always takes a little time for people to gel and understand each other. With this experience and our motivation, the team should be stronger for 2020 and we hope to show this on track over the days and weeks ahead."

"In particular, I want to improve my race pace," Morbidelli said. "Last year I was fast in practice and close to the top riders on Friday and Saturday, but on race day it was different. I wasn’t able to match the top guys in the races. In 2020 I want to make this step up. The start of this is testing over the next three days so I can’t wait to get started."

"After finishing 2019 with podiums and taking great results, I hope to be fighting in the top five again, targeting podiums and looking for wins," said Quartararo. "I don’t have any goals for the championship, my approach is race-by-race, trying to finish on the podium. The next step is to see the potential of the bike here at Sepang and this will give us a clear idea about what we can expect from the season ahead."

Both Petronas seats are currently free for 2021, although Valentino Rossi made clear that if he decides to race on, Petronas is now the logical destination.

 

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