Quartararo comes into this weekend’s 18th round of the season just two points clear in the standings, after a disastrous wet Thailand GP – in which he battled with a high front tire pressure – left him 17th.
Phillip Island, which last featured on the calendar in 2019, has always proven to be a strong venue for the Yamaha owing to its fast and flowing track layout.
And Quartararo confirmed this on the underpowered 2022 bike by finishing Friday fourth overall 0.139 seconds off the best pace set by Pramac’s Johann Zarco.
With the 2022 Yamaha having made little development progress compared to its predecessor, Quartararo notes that he typically ends a race weekend this season with the same bike that he started it with.
But after Friday’s running at Phillip Island, the Frenchman admits it was “one of the first days we really felt we had to make some changes” to the set-up and feels there is more margin to improve.
Asked if his strong Friday in Australia brought with it some renewed confidence after Thailand, Quartararo said: “Yeah, especially because I felt I was riding well – riding well and also have margin in some corners that can help me win one tenth here, one tenth there.
“At the end of the race it can make a big change.
“Today was one of the first days we really felt we had to make some changes, because in general when we start the weekend we finish it with the same bike.
“In this type of track that is quite different from other tracks, we made quite a few changes and will make a few tomorrow.”
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Quartararo briefly led the afternoon session in the closing stages during the soft tire time attack runs, but admits he made “a big mistake” on his best effort.
“This morning was tricky, [but] I could make quite a good pace for the conditions,” he added.
“This afternoon was better, I made quite a big mistake on my fast lap so I’m pretty happy to still be on the top five.
“I still think we have a few things to improve tomorrow to try to improve our feeling.
“I feel we still have a little margin on the pace, especially we saw [Alex] Rins try the hard rear, looks like it’s going well. So, let’s see how it goes.”