Quartararo to decide Yamaha MotoGP future at Misano test
Last season, the French rider narrowly missed out on the world title despite making up for the shortcomings of his Yamaha, losing out to Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia at the final round in Valencia.
It took until Bagnaia and Ducati’s engineers unlocked the full potential of the Desmosedici GP22 to turn it into the almost perfect prototype, which enabled the Turin native to overhaul a 91-point deficit to Quartararo, as he completed the greatest comeback in MotoGP history.
Yamaha focused on improving the top speed of its M1 going into 2023 – its main weakness compared to Ducati – and, after the first winter tests, it gave the team optimism in that area. But, as this season began, it became clear it was a false dawn and had compromised the overall Yamaha package.
In addition to gaining less top speed than targeted, the M1 lost the agility that had always characterised Yamaha’s efforts and was its major strength against its rivals.
The results so far in 2023 have been bleak and, after nine rounds, Quartararo is 11th in the standings followed by team-mate Franco Morbidelli in 12th. Between them they have achieved just one grand prix podium, which Quartararo secured with third place at the Americas GP, along with a third place in the Dutch GP sprint race.
After the summer break, there had been hopes of a turnaround but at Silverstone the Yamaha riders were the lowest points finishers.
With Morbidelli ditched in favour of bringing in Alex Rins, who will join the Spaniard in the Yamaha garage in 2025 remains to be seen. Quartararo’s current deal runs until the end of 2024, one he is unlikely to break due to a lack of alternative options, but beyond that depends on what the French rider feels Yamaha can produce.
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Quartararo has admitted he has started to run out of patience with Yamaha and its inability to deliver a package he demands. This will come to a head at next month’s Misano test, held immediately after the San Marino GP, when the first prototypes for 2024 will be run.
“In the Misano test I want to have proof. They have a month. Yamaha has been promising me things for three years in a 10-page PDF document, of which nine-and-a-half pages are not fulfilled,” Quartararo told Motorsport.com last weekend at Silverstone. “This year I did not want to see that PDF.
“I don’t want to see written things, what I want to see is the Misano bike, because that will be, at 95%, the one that will run in 2024. There it will be seen if Yamaha really wants me for the future.”
Despite his frustration, Quartararo reaffirms his priority is to stay with Yamaha if it provides what he wants – but at Misano it cannot be on a promise.
“Yamaha is the priority because it is the brand that brought me to MotoGP – I trust Yamaha and I gave them a chance, but there won’t be a second one,” he said.
In June, Quartararo split with long-time manager Eric Mahe and registered a new management company FQ20, which has taken charge of his contracts and image rights. That company will negotiate with Yamaha or wherever the French rider ends up moving to from 2025.
“Now I feel much freer,” Quartararo added about the management change. “I have people at home who deal with the legal part and the economic part.
“I know what I want, I don’t want to get dizzy. That will be very important with a view to seeing what Yamaha does for next year.”