The Italian Grand Prix is undoubtedly one of the most eagerly awaited events of the season and Fabio Quartararo can’t wait to get on track to put the new features of his Yamaha to the test. Which is nothing new: after much searching, in the Frenchman’s garage it was decided to go back to last year’s setup, which in a MotoGP that is constantly growing and evolving is truly a challenge.
Attempts to find a balance in the winter tests and those in Jerez have led both El Diablo and his team to think about starting from the base of 2022. On a track like Mugello, where Quartararo won two years ago, it won’t be easy fight your opponents, who are making a huge difference right now: “A good track for Yamaha? I do not know. To be honest, it’s not a circuit that suits us very well, but I can be really fast. In 2021 I managed to win, in 2022 to fight for the podium and the victory. It’s a different era, even though it’s only been a year, we’re in a different situation. It will be important for us to give 100% and do well in qualifying.”
“Slow corners are our weak point from an aerodynamic point of view. But coming from a fast corner, I think the power disadvantage is less. So I think we will be better on the straight than in Le Mans or Austin. It will be something that will give us fewer problems than in the past. In the first five races we always tried to find the best version of the bike…we made many attempts, everything was possible, but in the end we realized that whatever we tried, nothing really worked”, explained Quartararo on Thursday at the Gran Italy Award.
At Mugello it won’t be the first time he will take to the track with last year’s setup, already at Le Mans his M1 was “the old version”. However, the home race ended with a bitter taste, a crash in the Sprint and a seventh place in the Sunday race didn’t show how good the choice was: “Already in Jerez my staff wanted to go with the setting of the last year, but with the engineers we tried to do something more. But at Le Mans we decided to go back to what we already knew from last year. We had a meeting and I wanted to have this bike for the next three races. Then we will have six weeks off and there will be time to think. I think that, even if it is not the best thing, it is the best choice to limit the damage. Doing three races with the same bike can really help you adapt.”
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Marc Fleury
“During the pre-season we tested a lot of things that we hadn’t tested a lot…chassis, engine, aerodynamics. But in the end we didn’t use anything we had tried and it was frustrating. Same thing in the Jerez tests: new things, but nothing. Obviously it’s frustrating, but now we have to focus on what we have and do our best. Having these three consecutive races will also be good for my confidence as I have the same bike. This is what I need,” he explains.
Furthermore, Mugello is a particularly demanding track from a physical point of view: “It will be tough, especially because Mugello and Assen, together with Austin, are the three most physically demanding races on the calendar. I will have to be really focused, healthy and try to recover as soon as possible. But it will be good, I like having three consecutive races, due to the fact that we are where we are and having the same bike as in the past will be important.”
“At the moment there is no expectation. Obviously the goal is to finish as best as possible. But to be honest, my expectation at the moment is to be in the front row on Saturdays. Not so much on Sunday, I’m not even thinking about Sunday races. But for example in Austin, having done well in qualifying I was able to start well and finish on the podium. To be honest, we didn’t even have the speed to be on the podium. Pecco crashed, Marc wasn’t there…so to be realistic we had the pace for the top 5. But it’s better this way than finishing tenth. We will have to take the maximum we can and I think that from my point of view it is right to be realistic without fixating on the result, otherwise we can be disappointed”, concludes Quartararo.