Fabio Quartararo believes that Yamaha will be better able to “prepare” with his MotoGP bike when it comes across difficult moments this season, unlike in 2020.
The Yamaha works rider won three races last year when he drove for Petronas SRT and led the championship up to the Aragon Grand Prix when a severe loss of form pushed him to eighth place.
Yamaha’s 2020 motorcycle was extremely inconsistent from race to race. Quartararo only had one more top 5 finish outside of his wins – while Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi had similar problems.
The Japanese brand was rarely able to do damage control on difficult weekends, and Quartararo and Vinales grew increasingly disappointed with the situation as the campaign progressed.
After a positive test in Qatar ahead of the 2021 season, in which Quartararo finished third after a strong race pace on his M1, the Frenchman believes that Yamaha is better prepared to overcome the problems it suffered last year.
Quartararo knew that Qatar was masking some of the Yamaha problems on grippy surfaces: “Of course we know the 2020 bike was really good here last year, but it will be great because after these races it will be Portimao .
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“It’s one of the tracks we struggled with the most. So it will be great to be there and see the potential of our bike.
“Of course I’m not 100% confident, but I believe in myself, in Yamaha, and even if there are difficult times we will make it and try to do a lot better than last year.
“We are not 100% sure that the bike will work everywhere, but I feel we have done a great job and I think if we have problems we are ready to prepare something.”
The pre-season test in Qatar gave Quartararo the first opportunity to experience working with a factory team. He admitted that it was “strange” to have so many people around at first.
“I think the responsibility you have as a works driver is enormous,” he added.
“I felt like we developed the bike with Maverick. Maverick has of course more than six years as a works driver, I think he’s used to that.
“But for me it is a bit strange from the start to see all these engineers, everyone is listening.
“You feel like every word you say is so important. So you have to be smart and say as few words as possible, but use the most direct words as possible.”