Yamaha MotoGP team still chasing mechanical grip «missing since 2019»

The Japanese manufacturer had been testing an upgraded version of the M1 across the two tests at Sepang this month in its pursuit to close the gap to the front and become a race-winning force in MotoGP again.

Quartararo and new signing Alex Rins both got to ride the 2024 version of the bike in Malaysia, but the reaction to the changes has largely been mixed.

The French rider reiterated that Yamaha has finally managed to deliver a tangible increase in horsepower and that has directly translated into a higher top speed, even as the power delivery remains too “aggressive” for his liking.

However, he highlighted a lack of evolution in other areas, complaining how mechanical grip has remained unchanged since he stepped up to MotoGP on a satellite M1 in 2019.

“The top speed is much better, the engine is better, this is a step,” he explained. “But how we are using it is still difficult. The bike is still really aggressive on the torque. 

“We got better aerodynamics and a better engine for sure but we still need time to understand how it’s working, how we can make it work better and how to find this mechanical grip that we are missing since 2019.”

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Along with improved mechanical grip, Quartararo also feels Yamaha needs to refine the electronics of its bike in order to ensure a smoother distribution of power from the engine.

He said: “I think both are the problem. Not the problem but the solution to find to gain [a place inside] the top six. Maybe not top six, but [in the battle] from P4 to P8, this is what we have to find at the moment. 

“I think this is really important for us to find, because, like last year, on the pace we are fast. 

“We are not in the top three but we have a good chance. If you start P11 or P12 you stay there whatever your pace is. This is why we are really trying to find a solution on the grip.”

Several riders were able to lap in the 1m56s bracket, as a mix of suitable weather conditions and rubber laid down by five days of running helped deliver new lap records.

Quartararo ended up 11th in the final reckoning with a time of 1m57.525s, eight tenths down on the benchmark set by Francesco Bagnaia on the factory Ducati.

The 2021 champion felt he had reached the limit of this bike, which can be seen as a bad sign considering one-lap pace has been the Achilles heels of the Yamaha package in the last few years.

“I was happy when I did a [1m]57.5s, but it’s the limit,” he said. “We found the limit easily, because I made four laps, 57.5, 57.6, 57.5, 57.6. 

“There is no one lap really that is completely better than the other one and this is a little bit difficult to understand. I know where we have to improve, but how is a question.»

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