until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Big win for Yamaha as Quartararo signs new MotoGP deal

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Yamaha's MotoGP programme has secured a major win on the rider market by agreeing a new two-year deal with its lead rider Fabio Quartararo.

The 2021 world champion had cut an unsettled figure for much of last season in particular as Yamaha's performance levels dipped lower than they'd been at any previous point in the MotoGP era.

Having won the title in '21 and then only missed out in 2022 thanks to a historic Pecco Bagnaia comeback, Quartararo was never a serious contender for individual wins, much less any championship glory, last year.

The M1 had become desperately outmatched by the series' European bikes in particular, with glaring issues in terms of top speed and single-lap performance.

The former seems to have been conclusively addressed in the off-season, but Yamaha's fortunes haven't changed meaningfully - with Quartararo and new team-mate Alex Rins relative non-factors in early 2024 so far.

Despite this, the 24-year-old is staying in Yamaha blue, with a conventional two-year contract extension to cover 2025 and 2026 - the two final years of the current MotoGP rules cycle.

"Last winter Yamaha proved to me that they have a new approach and a new aggressive mindset," Quartararo said. "My confidence is high: we will be back at the front together!"

Quartararo had split with long-time manager Eric Mahe last year, and was very open in exploring opportunities outside of Yamaha - but has also spoken very positively, especially as of late, about the steps it has taken to turn around its MotoGP programme.

He has been particularly buoyed by not just the development on the engine side, spearheaded by ex-F1 hire Luca Marmorini, but also the signing of Max Bartolini from the dominant Ducati team as a project leader.

There will have been other contenders for Quartararo's signature, but only Honda will have logically been in the position to offer the Frenchman the same terms as Yamaha - and there is virtually no evidence its competitive situation is an upgrade.

Aprilia was also known to be interested, but it was rumoured there was a disparity on the financial side.

"Keeping Fabio as a part of the factory team is integral to Yamaha's MotoGP project," said Yamaha managing director Lin Jarvis.

"Yamaha Motor Company, Yamaha Motor Racing, and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team are sparing no effort to ensure a bright future with Fabio by taking a more 'aggressive approach' to bike development.

"We have already made significant changes to our organisation including a new internal management system, recruitment of top expertise within the industry, new external technical partnerships, increased development budget, and an intensified testing programme [as part of MotoGP's new concessions system].

"All these changes are designed to speed up the process for us to return to winning ways.

"Fabio has understood this commitment, and this has given him the confidence to make his decision to stay with us for the coming years."

The ride alongside Quartararo is unfilled as of yet for 2025-26, but Rins represented an impressive coup for Yamaha when poached away from Honda last year and there's currently very little reason to think he and Yamaha won't want to continue beyond 2024.

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