Quartararo has scored just one podium after the first five rounds of the season and admitted during last weekend’s French Grand Prix that he was ‘not confident’ his Yamaha team understood how to fix its troubled bike.
The Frenchman’s woes continued at Le Mans, with Quartararo crashing out of the sprint and finishing seventh in the grand prix – 15.023s off the win – having qualified down in 13th.
Having tried “thousands” of set-ups and new items on his Yamaha this year, Quartararo has elected to go back to what he used in 2021 to win the title in the hope that he can better manage the 2023 M1’s issues.
“I think the plan – and this is what we decided with our crew – that from the beginning of the year we have been trying thousands of things, of settings, and we just decided to go with the 2021 setting and go,” Quartararo said on Sunday in France.
“Whatever problem we have, that’s it. I need to adapt to the problem and see.
“I think we tried a lot of things on the bike and the best we had is always to bring back the base from two years ago. We have decided to keep it like this.
“I’m feeling a little bit better, still not super great but better than everything we have tried.”
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Quartararo feels he could have been 0.5s per lap faster in the grand prix on Sunday with his old settings, but was struck by arm pump issues midway through the race.
The Yamaha rider says this was not the return of the problems which forced him to have surgery in 2021, and was brought on by an “aggressive” treatment he received by one of MotoGP’s in-paddock physiotherapists on Sunday morning.
“I don’t look at it like a recovery because six people in front of me crashed,” Quartararo said, reflecting on his seventh place in the grand prix.
“It’s not a recovery. I’ve had a physical issued in the middle of the race. This morning I have been to the Clinica and I had a treatment on my arm and for me it was way too aggressive and I had arm pump from the middle of the race.
“I could have been much, much, much faster.
“So, this is the only point I’m happy with, that with the bike that we raced we could be faster. But actually what I had this morning was not good for the race.
“Since I had it [arm pump] in Jerez two years ago, I always go [for treatment] and with new people [in the clinic] we always try everyone.
“But this morning was a very aggressive treatment just before the race, so unfortunately the arm was super, super tense.
“But I never had any issues in the past [since the surgery], so I know it’s not a problem at all. It was just the treatment that I had in the morning.”
Quartararo is now 45 points off the championship leader after Francesco Bagnaia crashed out of the grand prix, and although he felt his pace was generally better during Le Mans’ two races, he thinks he is still “too far” consider about a title tilt.
“We will see,” he replied when asked by Motorsport.com if he still thinks he can fight for the championship in 2023.
“Right now we are way too far, but – it’s strange to say – I feel disappointed in one way that I couldn’t have managed to get a better pace and better result today.
“But, at the end what is true that today and yesterday even on the sprint my pace was not so bad. And today, without the problem I had, I could have been at least half a second faster, just because I was not able to brake in a few braking [zones].
“So, this is the only positive I could take. So, the championship I don’t want to think about it because I think we are way too far to think about it.”