After a difficult title defence year in 2022 that saw him lose his crown to Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia, Quartararo was clear in his comments to Yamaha for the winter that it had to make big gains with the top speed of its M1.
A new engine tested at Sepang on Friday left Quartararo and Yamaha second on the top speed charts at 334.3km/h compared to Ducati’s 336.4km/h.
But the Yamaha rider also had various parts to try, including new chassis and aerodynamics, which he admits made the first day “a bit of a mess” as he had never had so much to test before in his MotoGP career.
“I mean, today was the day where we tried many things but couldn’t really see if it was better or not,” Quartararo said of his 2023 Yamaha package.
“We tried a new chassis; the response was pretty clear. We tried a new engine; the response was pretty clear. Also the aerodynamics.
“So, the good thing is I could clarify if it was better or not.
“But it’s the first time in my career that I did a real test, because in previous years I tried maybe a swingarm, some settings.
“Today I think in one day I tried more than one full test. So, it was a little bit of a mess but it was good for the experience.”
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Because of this, Quartararo says he doesn’t yet have an idea as to how the 2023 bike actually compares to its predecessor, but was enthused by the “big step” made in the power of the engine even if other areas of the M1 need improved.
“That is positive, because at the end in the past, last year we were struggling also the chassis, but especially the top speed,” he added when asked how he felt about the speed chart.
“Now the top speed is better, but we’re struggling a little bit more in corners.
“We have two more days here [in Malaysia], two more days in Portimao and we tried so many things here today that we didn’t actually focus on what was the best bike.
“We tried this and that, then we needed to switch the tyres. So, there was many things to try and we didn’t really focus on making a best lap or whatever.
“But, top speed is something that is really important and I think we made a big step.
“I think basically last year before starting the test we knew which bike we were going to use for the season.
“Right now, we have many options and step by step we have to find the direction. Last year we had this, and that was it. So, yeah, this was important.”