The new MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo has attributed Yamaha for his improved package 2021, although it lacks horsepower compared to other manufacturers.
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Yamaha had an extremely frustrating end of 2020 despite finishing second in the championship with Franco Morbidelli.
In particular, Quartararo’s early-season promises made the team look like potential champions before losing themselves.
However, the Japanese manufacturer has taken significant steps this season to compensate Quartararo for its deficiencies and thus to win the world title.
In fact, the exact issues that cost Quartararo the title last year became its greatest strengths in 2021 – front-end feel, braking, cornering and, as we saw on Sunday, being able to overtake all Yamaha riders have struggled before.
And while the above factors all played a huge role, Quartararo pointed out that the “front-end feel” is the main improvement over 2019 and 2020, a feeling that kept him “one” throughout the season.
“To be honest, we fought to have the factory bike last year, but with the Covid situation and everything, the 19-inch bike was better,” said Quartararo.
“With the 2021 (bike) I felt a lot better and the feeling at the front brought me to victory.
“We know we have to work on performance, but the feeling that I had to overtake on the brakes; not in this race, but in general, was way higher than 19 and 20.
“Yamaha has worked a lot. We have to improve a lot for next year because we know that power is something so important. But at the moment I felt at one with the bike.”
Although Quartararo seemed undaunted for most of the year, which couldn’t be said about him last year, the Frenchman believes the experience he had was as important to his first title as the equipment he wore.
Quartararo added: “Right before the race, I was with Tom [Maubant] (best friend and personal assistant) and I was nervous, I felt stressed.
“But he said, ‘Just think about the last three races last year,’ which were a total disaster. I remember just wanting to finish the championship in every position.
“Today I started the race that made me the world champion. I think everything that happened last year helped me a lot to win the title today.
“Thanks to all of these people for supporting me in that moment and I think I’ve learned a lot in these two years in MotoGP, but I still have a lot to learn to get even more results like this.”
Quartararo’s championship win at Misano last Sunday is his first as a MotoGP rider, the first for a French rider in the premier class and the first for Yamaha since Jorge Lorenzo in 2015.