Yamaha has come to the 2022 season with a bike that hasn’t evolved much from the 2021 M1 Quartararo won the championship with, particularly in terms of horsepower.
Quartararo struggled to ninth in Qatar, was eighth in Argentina and seventh in Austin, while in the wet in Indonesia he was second, victorious in Portugal and narrowly missed the win last weekend in Spain in second.
This is in stark contrast to his Yamaha counterparts in teammate Franco Morbidelli and RNF Racing duo Andrea Dovizioso and Darryn Binder, who between them have scored just 32 points compared to the 89 Quartararo has at the top of the standings.
While Quartararo believes all of the 2022 M1’s issues stem from its lack of horsepower, his comments have been at odds with the other Yamaha riders as they bemoan a lack of rear grip.
Admitting his up and down form led to him being “surprised” that he headed the standings after his Portugal win, Quartararo says the fact his fellow Yamaha riders are struggling so much is of little consequence to him as he has “enough to think about being almost with our bike”.
“I was already surprised to be leading the championship last week [after Portugal]because apart from Mandalika, it was… I would not say a disaster, but my position was seventh, eighth, ninth, second, then of course the victory [in Portugal],” Quartararo, who now leads the standings by seven points, said.
“In the end, we always finish in the top 10 and these kinds of races where you need to give your best to take three, four, five points more than what you need, it makes these points super important.
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“But, to be honest, I’m riding to the limit and have no more in every moment.
“But it’s true the other Yamahas are struggling quite a lot, but in the end this is not my problem.
“I have enough already to think about being fast with our bike. So, I’m looking after myself.”
Quartararo is aware that races are on the horizon where he will struggle like he did in the opening rounds, which means he can’t simply settle for points at strong venues for the Yamaha.
“I think I don’t need to be conservative,” he added. “I think I need to give my best every time I’m on track.
“In Austin, I finished seventh and unfortunately I was happy because I felt I did my best, but could not do better. But I fight exactly the same for P7 as P1 or P2.
“I have to be on the limit everywhere because I know some tracks will arrive where I will struggle and this is the reality we will be struggling like the beginning of the year. But I will be on the limit all the time.”