Marquez’s Honda exit «woke a lot of people up» at Yamaha

Earlier this month, Quartararo inked a fresh multi-year deal with Yamaha, keeping him with the Iwata-based manufacturer until at least the end of the 2026 season.

The new contract was agreed despite an underwhelming start to the new campaign for Yamaha, leaving the 24-year-old to fight for lower reaches of the points in the opening three rounds of the season.

It also followed six-time champion Marquez’s call to leave Honda with a year left on his contract and join forces with the independent Gresini Ducati team in 2024, a decision that has already allowed him to fight for podiums and race wins.

But while Quartararo didn’t follow in the footsteps of Marquez and elected to keep his faith in Yamaha, he believes the Spaniard’s decision to split with Honda actually worked out in his favour.

He feels Marquez’s move to Gresini sprung Yamaha into action, as it showed that top riders in MotoGP are willing to trade loyalty for more competitive machinery.

«It’s a moment that a lot of people have been waiting for,» the 2021 champion told French broadcaster Canal+. «My choice was to stay with Yamaha, not by default, but for the project.

«I think that Marquez’s departure from Honda to Ducati woke up a lot of people at Yamaha.

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

«They’ve recruited a lot of new engineers, and a lot of things are happening in Italy rather than in Japan.

«The speed with which parts can be changed has totally changed. I think it was very interesting for me to continue with Yamaha.»

Some factions have questioned Quartararo’s choice to stay at Yamaha for 2025-26, amid its continued struggles in MotoGP over the last few seasons.

While the Japanese manufacturer has been overhauling its MotoGP programme by bringing in new people and changing its philosophy, while also taking advantage of the new concessions system, the jury is out on whether the work it is putting in will yield the desired results on track.

Quartararo admitted that he did consider moving to a different team earlier in the year, but his decision was swayed by the amount of resources Yamaha is dedicating to return to the sharp end of the field.

«Of course, I totally understand [that people have doubt about his choice] because even I, a few months ago, was really ready to take my departure for another team,» he said.

«I’m not going to say [which one] but of course, Yamaha is investing huge sums to get a better bike. I think it’s one of the only brands investing so much in this project.

«We’re already going to see some improvements this year. I think that this year will be very difficult, already to fight for a few podiums, but I think that this year will be very important for the next two.»

Watch: MotoGP: Vinales recovers from 11th to win | 2024 #AmericasGP

Source link