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Quartararo stokes MotoGP future rumours – but does he mean it?

by Simon Patterson
5 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo has once again stirred the pot about his future in the premier class.

On Friday at Austin he refused to deny rumours that he and his veteran manager Erich Mahe are in talks with manufacturers other than his current Yamaha squad for 2023 and beyond.

Yet while the potential for a switch might remain, does that mean it’s an option that the Frenchman is realistically considering?

Speaking after the first day of practice for the Grand Prix of the Americas in Texas, Quartararo stressed that his focus right now remains on winning with the 2022 Yamaha M1 rather than what comes next.

But he admitted that the time to make a serious choice is no longer all that far away.

“To be honest right now, I feel like I’m focused on the present,” Quartararo began.

“It’s not that we are looking for options that I want to leave, because it’s completely not like that.

“But right now I feel that my priority is to fight for the championship this year and I don’t have so much time to think about other things.

“When I am on a race weekend I have all my attention on doing my best all weekend, but it’s true that we also need to look at my future and we will have a look during this month or the next one.”

Quartararo also nixed the idea floated by Repsol Honda racer Pol Espargaro on Thursday that the increasingly focused world of MotoGP means that the chances of riders departing manufacturers will become less and likely.


Espargaro was considering both his own tough experience switching from KTM to Honda and with the acclimatisation difficulties we’ve seen for the likes of Jorge Lorenzo and Maverick Vinales in recent years as they moved from Yamaha to Ducati to Honda and Yamaha to Aprilia respectively.

“I do whatever I think is right,” Quartararo explained of any potential move to another manufacturer in light of Espargaro’s comments, “because in the end if everyone thinks like that no one will change teams and everyone will stay the same.

“In the end you need to not think about these things if you feel that the bike has potential.

“For sure it will take time because if you spend so much time with one bike you get used to it, but this is something that is completely out of my head.

“It’s about the project, that’s the most important thing. Then about the riding style, you need to adapt yourself.

“Even with our bike, I made a massive change in Mandalika and of course it’s different. But you get used to it, you adapt and in the end it’s great to see with the data, because you can compare with many riders and adapt yourself. You can see where you need to improve.”

But really, that begs the question: what is the right thing for the 22-year-old and his future, and what options even remain open to him?


Of the five other manufacturers, two already seem like closed doors. KTM has hinted that its main goal is to maintain its current line-up, while at Ducati Jorge Martin is widely expected to join Pecco Bagnaia in factory colours next year.

At Aprilia, with Aleix Espargaro now all but admitting he’s staying and with Vinales finally starting to show some pace, it’s hard to imagine either being booted out – something that team boss Massimo Rivola admitted to The Race after Espargaro’s win at the Argentine Grand Prix.

Suzuki is one team that might potentially both have interest from and in Quartararo, but it’s also got two riders who are currently outperforming him in the 2022 championship.

The same applies at Honda, widely seen as the most likely alternate home for the champion – but with Pol Espargaro making a strong start to the season, that too might not be the chance it was.

Which in reality leaves only one real conclusion: the only choice that both Quartararo and Yamaha really have right now is each other.

Quartararo has proven that he’s the only current Yamaha rider able to consistently win on the M1 – and at the same time, it’s difficult to see another place for him where he’d get the same chances to win.

There’s no doubt that the Yamaha is far from perfect – but the best way to fix that is arguably to continue to work with it rather than leave for another package that, as Espargaro pointed out, could be very different from the one you’re currently on.

Quartararo has made it clear that his primary focus is on winning and nothing else, and while he might not be happy about some aspects of the M1, it’s still essentially the bike that he won the title on last year.


And sure, it hasn’t been the dream start to 2022, but let’s be frank – that is entirely because of just how manic the season start has been.

Dusty conditions and a dirty circuit in Qatar, disintegrating track and torrential rain in Indonesia, and an ultra-compressed day and a half schedule in Argentina mean that three rounds in, no one has much of an idea of what’s what yet.

This is exactly why Quartararo is really in no rush to make a decision. It’s not because he’s too busy to think about it and entirely because the kid who just wants to win knows he’s in a symbiotic relationship with his employer where both need each other.

And as a result, he’ll wait until the season is back in Europe and things are a little more normal again before doing anything brash.

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