Quartararo can see light at end of tunnel after lack of Yamaha MotoGP progress

Quartararo made that comment after jumping from 17th on the grid to finish ninth in Sunday’s Catalan Grand Prix, securing his second top-10 finish of the season.

The Frenchman was racing with a new aero package in Barcelona, part of the larger suite of upgrades that Yamaha has been testing between grand prix weekends in a bid to overhaul its troubled M1 challenger.

The 2021 champion has previously been vocal about how the Japanese manufacturer has not been able to bring any meaningful developments to its bike in recent years after falling down the pecking order.

But the 25-year-old says the progress he has now seen in recent months has finally given him hope that Yamaha can turn the ship around and close the gap to the frontrunners.

«When you are doing the small steps, you want to have a bigger one as soon as possible,” he said.

“But to be honest, this one and a half year, we have been without making any progress and to feel that we are seeing the light coming out of the tunnel, it’s great.

«So hopefully we can make some good steps pretty soon.»

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Asked how the updates introduced in Barcelona helped his cause, he explained: “For me, it helps to turn, to go a little bit faster into the corners. It’s difficult to say if it’s a massive step or not because the aero is not something that you say, ‘wow, it’s much better’.

“This aero, you have to get used [to it] and in the future, it will be a really good step, and we are looking to make another step like this one. So hopefully we can do it.”

Yamaha and Honda are able to take advantage of a new concession system in 2024, which rewards them with unlimited testing with race riders during the season, plus greatly expands their scope of upgrades.

Quartararo says the extra track time allows Yamaha to try new parts on the M1 but also get fully accustomed to them.

Further, he feels the Iwata-based marque is not only bringing upgrades for the sake of them, as only those bits and pieces are put on the bike that offer meaningful improvements.

“For me [with] the aerodynamics you get used much more when you make more laps,” he said.

“I learn [about] the aerodynamics even more during the [whole] weekend that I use because I can understand where the strong points of this aero are, and in five laps you cannot really understand [that]. This is the benefit of having the concessions.

“After Mugello, we go to Valencia [for] two days of test. It’s really busy but it’s really worth it because Yamaha has never worked like that in the past, has never had that much idea[s].

“And we are not bringing things to bring. We clearly speak with the team that I don’t want to test another chassis or another swingarm. We tested 100s of them already.

«We know where the problem is coming [from], so now they are really focussed on that and they are working in a clever way.“

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