The Sepang test timesheet might look like it was the perfect day for Fabio Quartararo on his debut with the 2020 factory Yamaha, but he remains hungry for more time on the bike before being confident with the updated package.

After topping the opening day of the Sepang test using the 2019-specification Yamaha, Quartararo has repeated the feat on his first run with the 2020 factory-specification YZR-M1 having set the best lap of the test with a 1m 58.572s on the 63rd of his 72 completed laps.

The Petronas Yamaha rider’s consistency also caught the eye as he notched up 26 laps inside the 1m 59s bracket, the most of any rider on day two at Sepang, but his top speed remained stunted at 324.3km/h – fourth slowest overall and almost 5km/h off Maverick Vinales as the leading Yamaha in the speed trap.

Quartararo feels he needs more laps on the 2020 factory M1 plus a fresh engine before hunting for optimum performance as he focused primarily on setup and electronics work.

“We are missing kilometres to really understand the bike. Okay, we did 72 laps, but we changed a lot of electronics, settings and so we still don’t have the perfect base on the bike,” Quartararo said. “The potential is there and maybe tomorrow I can be a little bit clearer on my comments.

“My top speed actually didn’t improve that much [Quartararo’s Day 1 top speed was 322.3km/h] but the most important thing is that I have the same engine, maybe with more kilometres than the factory, but let’s say the power delivery and electronics is the same so this is really nice.

“Of course, we will arrive in Qatar with the same kilometres then the bikes will be the same. The most important thing is the acceleration, the electronics we need to make a setup with, but it feels good.”

Reflecting on the overall 2020 M1 package, last season’s MotoGP rookie of the year says the improvements on his previous bike are clear and he will continue to iron out the teething issues on the final day of the Sepang test tomorrow.

“We made quite a lot of 59s with really old tyres which is really positive,” he said. “We need to improve a little bit on the pace because we are not feeling 100% comfortable because we know that with a new bike you have some positives and some points that you are struggling more than last year.

“But at the moment I already found the positives in one day so with the settings that we will change with the electronics we hope to find more positives for tomorrow.”

Quartararo will ride the 2020 ‘Factory-Spec’ Yamaha this season with Petronas Yamaha team-mate Franco Morbidelli on the ‘A-spec’ bike on what will be the French rider’s last year at the satellite team before stepping up to the official Yamaha squad in place of Valentino Rossi in 2021.

Morbidelli was fifth fastest on day two of the Sepang test, 0.259s off Quartararo’s leading effort, with Vinales sixth (+0.321s) and Rossi 10th (+0.544s).

 

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