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MotoGP

Quartararo already ‘not confident’ about 2024, met Yamaha chief

by Valentin Khorounzhiy, Scott Mitchell-Malm
4 min read

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Yamaha MotoGP rider Fabio Quartararo says he cannot be confident about the M1 bike making a step forward next year – and revealed he’s had a meeting with a Yamaha higher-up in order to try and spur on progress.

Quartararo non-scored again in the German Grand Prix sprint on Saturday, as what had looked as a decent opportunity based on his practice pace unravelled when he only placed 12th in a mixed-weather qualifying and dropped further back at the start, forced to “cut [throttle] to zero” to avoid a collision off the line.

Predictably, little progress was made from then on and he finished 13th – and though the grid position, driven by “the struggle we’ve had on the wet patches for years”, and the start contributed, Quartararo also acknowledged “the feeling was not good” after that.

“We have to find a solution as soon as possible, to at least be able to fight for something,” he said, lamenting a rear grip deficit not just on corner exit but entry – with the rear sliding in a way that clashes with how the M1 usually needs to be ridden.

“It’s difficult,” he said of his mindset. “It’s difficult because one year ago I won here and now I’m not even in the top 10.

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“So, pfff. It’s not easy, tough to really enjoy it. But, you know, I have to try to stay calm, try to figure out what we can improve.

“But we are already more than a quarter of the season [in], almost on half, and we haven’t found anything yet. It’s difficult but at the moment it’s like this.”

Asked if he felt Yamaha was now largely focused on righting the ship for 2024 instead, with the engine spec being homologated for the year, Quartararo said: “I hope.”

Then asked whether that suggested he had doubts about it, he said: “Of course. I mean, it’s a lot of years that we are waiting for something big, a big change.

“So hopefully they can really provide us a really good bike for next year. But of course I’m not confident, with the last years’ evolution. So, I hope they work really hard.

“It’s difficult to be confident when you are fighting in this position, that we made all the pre-season [in]. They work hard but we couldn’t find any improvement. You know that they work hard, but you don’t know if they’re going to reach the improvement.

“So, yes. They work hard and this is most important, but hopefully they found the correct thing to make the step for the end of the year and the next year.”

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And when asked about Marc Marquez, who is having his own difficult patch with fellow Japanese brand Honda, meeting its vice president Shinji Aoyama and Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe, Quartararo revealed he’d requested and been granted a meeting of his own with a Yamaha ‘president’.

Though he didn’t specify who, logic dictates it would’ve been Yamaha Motor Company president Yoshihiro Hidaka rather than Yamaha corporation president Takuya Nakata.

“Hopefully it’s going to accelerate the process a little bit and [he] sees that we are really far from the top brands,” Quartararo said.

“The president was there and I asked for that. It was not planned but I asked because my mentality is I’m a fighter, I want to win, I don’t want to be in this position because I think no one in the team is enjoying to be fighting for that.

“I want to motivate everyone, try to bring this bad energy into a good one, and make a step, especially a technical step.”

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