Fabio Quartararo was naturally the center of attention at a press conference in Barcelona this Thursday, hours after announcing his two-season extension with Yamaha. For months, the reigning world champion maintained the suspense without noticing any real advances in the engine, which he saw as the only weakness of an M1 perfectly tailored to his driving style.
In pre-season testing, Quartararo asked the manufacturer for guarantees before re-engaging. Guarantees were there, Yamaha has strengthened its engine division with several rookies already working on improving the inline-four. This inner realization convinced Quartararo that the grass wasn’t greener anywhere else and that stability was the best choice for his future.
The Frenchman was also confident in his hopes of shining at Barcelona this weekend, a track where he has been able to win in both Moto2 and MotoGP but where he particularly dominated the mood last year with his combination problem Has.
Was the decision to renew at Yamaha difficult?
It wasn’t an easy decision. We took a little more time to evaluate the entire project. In the end Yamaha is trying hard, recruiting a lot of people and they know where to improve. Over the past two or three years they’ve focused from one area to another and now they know where they need to improve and that’s clearly power. I’m very happy because they really understood that we had to correct what we’re missing and I believe in the project. That’s why we made the decision a few weeks ago and I think it was the right one.
Fabio Quartararo will wear Yamaha’s colors until at least 2024
Have you seen the plans for the new engine?
No, it’s too early.
Have the new Yamaha arrivals you mentioned arrived yet or are they expected by the end of the year?
They are already at Yamaha and of course on the engine side because we know I feel really good on the bike I have nothing to say. All drivers want more grip, more speed but if I have to be realistic it lacks top speed compared to others. That’s what decided me, a lot of engineers come into the engine department. It will be for that part of the bike.
We didn’t only discuss with Yamaha. It took so long because at some point I decided on a side, next week I wanted to go somewhere else… It was a bit difficult.
We know that the decision was long. Was it because you were waiting for those new people, negotiations or other elements of Yamaha going forward?
In fact, as you can imagine, we didn’t just talk to Yamaha. It took so long because at some point I decided on a direction, next week I wanted to go somewhere else… It was a bit difficult. With the arrival of the engineers in the engine department and my good results, knowing that I could not get better with the power of the engine I have, I told myself that they are doing everything to have more power and I feel good the bike. That’s what decided me.
Looking to make up for last year’s two penalties for cutting the first corner and driving the open combination this weekend?
Last year was a weird weekend but I still feel good at this track. I got my first podium in MotoGP, my first win in Moto2. We were very quick last year so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be fighting for a good result this year. Of course we know we have a long straight here, but at Mugello it was certainly a problem, but we finished second. I hope that tomorrow morning we will feel and work better here than in Mugello. Let’s see if we can find a good rhythm at EL1.
Why are you so good at the Barcelona circuit? Is it your cornering speed that gives you an advantage, or do you have a specific technique?
Since I was 14, I’ve been as fast in the CEV as the poles in the World Championship [de Moto3] and I was always fast on this track. It’s a track that I really like and in MotoGP in particular I’ve always been very fast. I think my driving style really suits this track. In the last sector there are two corners where you have to keep a lot of pace and I think that’s a strength of our bike but also of my riding style. It’s hard to tell which part and which corners I’m in very fast on this track but I think it really suits my driving style.
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