until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Side effects of more engine power ‘killing’ Yamaha – Morbidelli

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Yamaha’s MotoGP riders are increasingly convinced it is paying the price in 2023 for a more powerful engine, with Franco Morbidelli describing the knock-on effects as the key issue.

Though the M1 got outdeveloped badly last year, with Fabio Quartararo’s push for a second successive title fizzling out, 2023 has been a massive climbdown even compared to that.

Despite being equipped with a more powerful engine – though still not quite powerful enough to compensate for the level of drag from aero devices Quartararo would like to see on the bike – the Yamahas have barely featured in podium or even top-five conversation in 2023.

Franco Morbidelli Yamaha MotoGP Le Mans

Their woes continued at Mugello, both Quartararo and Morbidelli well short of advancing to Q2 either on Friday through practice or on Saturday through Q1.

The pair qualified 0.001s apart on Saturday morning, Morbidelli just ahead in 14th.

“The situation is this, since the beginning of the year,” the Italian had said after Friday.

“Unfortunately, everybody else improved much more than what we did. And to give more power to the engine, we lost some rideability, unfortunately.

“And that thing is killing us right now.

“So, we wanted more top speed, we have more top speed, but unfortunately we lost some rideability right now. And that’s killing us.

“Race pace is always decent, is always interesting. But we can’t do nothing [from lowly grid positions].”

Both Quartararo and Morbidelli emphasised at Mugello that the M1 chassis is not meaningfully different to what it had been in previous years.

But while the former has committed to just running a set-up from 2022 until the summer break to find some semblance of rhythm and understanding, there is “a lot of difference” and a shortage of confidence.

Fabio Quartararo Yamaha MotoGP Mugello

“The feeling I have with the front, with the rear, is different,” Quartararo said on Friday.

“Even going back to previous settings, the feeling is not 100 percent, so let’s see if we can figure it out and find a solution.

“Because I have to enjoy more on the bike, and – of course being on the limit – but not fight that much.

“The feeling I have going into the corner is just rigid, you know? I have no feedback from the front, and this is the feeling of a lack of confidence from my side, that I’m going into the corner and I have no feedback.

“I have no idea [why]. If I’m not wrong, the chassis the same. The only thing that changed is the engine.”

Quartararo did acknowledge to MotoGP.com that he has to “see also on my riding style what I have to change”, as he has been coming nowhere near his own past lap record – only surpassed this Saturday morning – from 2021.

The theory that the increased power has knocked the M1 off its balance is one the Yamaha duo was much more reluctant to present earlier this season, but it’s one that feels intuitively obvious.

Certainly, such was the view of Honda rider Joan Mir last month, Mir leaning on his own past experience of having a major power hike at Suzuki in its final season.

“The Yamaha, I don’t know… when you make the engine more powerful, maybe you f**k some areas,” said Mir.

Joan Mir Suzuki MotoGP Qatar

“It happened with us, with the Suzuki, from one year to the other, we improved the top speed, you remember? But then we struggled to stop the bike.

“Normally, nowadays, with this equality of bikes, when you improve one part, you make another weak point.”

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