Yamaha has been in decline since Quartararo won the championship in 2021, the Frenchman winning fewer races in 2022 and unsuccessfully defending his title, while in 2023 he has scored just one podium in five rounds.
On Friday, Quartararo labelled 2023 the “toughest” year he has faced in MotoGP, and his woes continued on Saturday as he qualified a lowly 13th then crashed out of the sprint won by Jorge Martin while running eighth.
Yamaha brought a raft of new items to try at the post-Spanish GP test at Jerez two weeks ago, but none of them worked according to Quartararo.
Asked by Motorsport.com if he feels confident that Yamaha actually understands how to improve its bike, he replied: “Confident? I will not say confident, because we tried so many things and nothing was working in a positive way.
“But we have to work and try to find a solution as soon as possible. After this race we have three weeks off, but unfortunately the problem we have is a matter of power.
“The only points for me to overtake – for everyone in general – is Turn 3, Turn 8 and Turn 9. But they are out of acceleration and [our rivals] take one tenth, one tenth and a half [of advantage].
“Then you cannot make Turn 1 much faster and arrive into Turn 3 overtaking. It’s a matter of having more power to use more downforce, because if we compare the wings we are using to the others are really small.”
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
A lack of power has long been an issue for Yamaha, but the Japanese marque appeared to gain a few horsepower this year from its engine.
Quartararo even suggested on Friday that the M1 has lost a lot of its strong points due to its increase in power, but is once again blaming a lack of top speed as the primary reason for his tough season.
“We are just having not enough horsepower to be able to use the aero like we want,” he explained.
“Like in Austin, on the back straight out of first gear, you can have a little bit more power, but if you don’t have the wings to have the front load you cannot use it.
“Apart from when Luca [Marini] overtook me on the straight [at COTA], it’s power but also acceleration from really slow corners [where Yamaha misses]. And in this track [Le Mans], this is what is happening.”