Diego Gubellini was Zam’s guest for a long interview in which the situation of Yamaha was analyzed a few days before the start of the championship
March 22, 2023
Diego Gubellini48 years old and chief technician of Fabio Quartararo, is in his fifth year working with the Frenchman at Yamaha. Gubellini was a guest of Zam for an interview on his Youtube channel.
Diego looking back on 2022 is there still a bit of lump?
“Losing 2022 gave me more displeasure than winning 2021. At the start of the championship we made a mistake because we didn’t believe in it much, then we found ourselves with an enormous advantage but not because of our own merits, but because of the others’ demerits. The world championship was then lost because on a technical level we were in great difficulty, always at the limit”
Did you feel helpless, could you do nothing?
Let’s look ahead to 2023, is Quartararo ready?
“Yes, he understood some things that may have betrayed him in 2022, physically he’s always very ready, trained, motivated”
And the motorcycle? From the tests in Valencia to Portimao, give us a summary…
“The first test, in Valencia, wasn’t one of the best, we expected improvements that didn’t happen. We didn’t panic but we were blocked, because part of our evolution was based on increasing power. During the winter there were analyzes that explained and comforted us. So in Malaysia and Portimao we were calmer and we tried other parts, because the engine was back to performing like in Misano. Our engine has improved but the gap hasn’t closed, on the contrary, it’s quite large (laughs, ed), but we have improved, we have done a great job. In Malaysia we weren’t fast, we left with a bad taste in our mouths, we didn’t do well especially on the flying lap, but also on the race pace. Then we worked a lot in view of the Portimao test. Japanese engineers have been busy. In Portugal we immediately improved on the first day, then the turning point came on the second day. We made a radical change to the bike that seems to have paid off: we did well in terms of race pace and flying lap, we’re not far from the podium”
Quartararo said that you returned to 2022 in terms of aerodynamics, is it true?
“We came back with several details, including a frame. Fabio clearly defined that the problems remained the same, my decision was to go back to the bike we had in 2022 in Portimao, when Fabio won. I thought they would fire me after my request to go back to that bike, but they agreed. So we restarted from the 2022 bike putting back all the new components from 2023 to figure out which ones worked and which ones didn’t. For this we have arrived at a hybrid 2022-2023. A finishing job”
And that is the basis from which you will start on Friday…
Has Japanese philosophy struggled to accept the rapid development of aerodynamics?
“Complex aspect, in motorcycles this aspect arises from the need to cover up the flaws that motorcycles have, let’s say, by nature. Let’s take Ducati: the aerodynamic discussion was born to try to make the most of their acceleration because they had gaps from a chassis point of view, at least until a few years ago. It is normal that they are further on. Manufacturers like Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki had other problems and less need to develop aerodynamics, and in my opinion this is the reason why the Japanese are not at the level of Ducati and Aprilia. For us, the need was to develop the engine, they had an aerodynamic team in which many ideas were born and they obtained extra results compared to what were the objectives at the beginning”
How do you prepare for the Sprint race?
“The riders with more years in MotoGP know what pace they have to keep in order not to run out of tyres. On a mental level, the Sprint race has this substantial difference: being half the laps, the rider can push from start to finish with everything the bike, physique and concentration allow him. With the Sprint race, let’s say, we are closer to qualifying than to the race”
How much is missing a satellite team and how much is missing another rider who is able to bring the bike to Fabio’s level, given Morbidelli’s difficulties?
“We actually miss him, the first years we worked with Morbidelli in Petronas and there were Vale and Vinales in the factory team, all four of them were fast, he was a help in various situations. Because, for example, not everyone takes the corners in the same way and you had the opportunity to understand in terms of trajectories, braking, mapping, in short, many parameters to try to understand and optimize performance. Unfortunately we have been trying to improve for a year and a half only with Fabio’s comments and our sensations. We lack this type of help. Ducati, with eight bikes on the track, I think it’s easier from the outside. The riders have much more information and are quicker to improve”
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