Fabio Quartararo shrugs off Yamaha’s engine problems

Factory Yamaha rider Rossi was forced to retire with a mysterious engine problem in the final stages of the Jerez season opener, while Petronas man Morbidelli suffered an identical retirement while fighting for the podium in Sunday’s second encounter at Jerez.

Motorsport.com announced on Thursday that Yamaha had sent an engine belonging to Rossi and Maverick Vinales back to Japan for analysis, with the official engine data sheet issued by MotoGP on Sunday morning confirming this.

The sheet also revealed that Vinales has unsealed all of his five allotted engines for this year, while the other three Yamaha riders have all been using four.

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With three races at two performance-based circuits in Brno and the Red Bull Ring coming up over a three-week period next month, this could pose problems for Yamaha.

But when asked if he was worried about Yamaha’s issues affecting his chances in the coming races, points’ leader Quartararo said: “I’m not worried.

“Our job as riders is to perform on the track and we have hundreds of engineers working on the engine and the bike.

“If there is a problem, we have two weeks [before Brno] so I hope you find something. But at the moment I had zero problems with the engine.

“Well, I’m feeling good. Like a driver, I just focus on driving and not on technical issues.”

Vinales, who finished second at the Andalucia GP, said he felt a “strange rumble” from his engine in FP3 last week but didn’t encounter any further problems over the two race weekends.

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing, Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing, Maverick Vinales, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“Well, I had a problem in FP3 in the morning,” he said. “I felt a strange rumble coming from the bike so I immediately pulled over to the garage.

“I do not know anything anymore. I know that the engine was not causing any problems at the moment. It was consistent throughout the race, the power didn’t drop off so we’ll see how it goes.

“But like Fabio said they have two weeks to understand what the problem was with the engine and see because we see Franco broke an engine, Valentino broke an engine last week. So we have to find it and fix it.

“That’s also very important because this championship is difficult and we’ll be putting a lot of pressure on the engine, especially in the next few races.”

Morbidelli was at a loss as to what had happened to his engine when asked to explain his retirement, which occurred on lap 17 of 25 when he finished fourth.

“It came out of the blue, the bike just stopped and we don’t know why,” he explained.

“But it came out of the blue. I just had the feeling that the engine wasn’t running anymore and I shut it down [off] the bike because I didn’t know what was going to happen.

“It wasn’t a real meltdown, just something was wrong. I didn’t understand exactly what was going on. but [because I was] when in doubt, I switched off the engine.”

Additional reporting by Matteo Nugnes

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Franco Morbidelli, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images