The spotlights are back on MotoGP for the first race of the year. The first test bench for Yamaha to understand how concretely the steps forward made during the winter tests are and what the potential of the M1 is compared to its rivals. The work for the Iwata manufacturer isn't finished yet, as Fabio Quartararo explained on the eve of the weekend.
“We tried a lot of new things during testing, but on the last day we went back to last year's base. We have to try to understand how these new parts work - explained the rider from Nice at the press conference - We weren't able to do it during the tests, so we had to go back to last year's settings which I found were more comfortable and we went even a little better. We don't have the same top speed as the others and we have to work to try and improve."
Although there have been some improvements, El Diablo is still not entirely satisfied: "We have certainly made some steps forward, but they are still not enough. I think that if we keep working we can still improve, but we're still quite far from what our bike needs," explained the Frenchman, who prepared for the most demanding season ever during the winter.
“On a physical level I think I have improved compared to last year. We know it will be tough, there will be 21 races plus sprints and I think this is the main aspect to focus on. The intensity this year will be higher, because Free Practice 2 will also be one hour long, but it will be used both to set the time and to prepare for the race. Then there will also be the sprint race, so they will be very intense weekends”, he commented.
“I think we come from a season with 21 races and this year we will also add another 21 sprints. If this can help increase our fans, it is positive for our sport, but we must also think that it is a further risk along all the 21 events of the season - added Fabio, commenting on the introduction of the short race - We will have to try to race at the limit, because points are awarded which are valid for the championship, but also to understand how to manage the calendar, from this point of view".
With the new format, qualifying will become even more important, but Yamaha, especially at Sepang, seemed to have managed to solve its problems over the flying lap.
“During the last day of the tests I was able to make a great lap, two laps in a row with the same lap times, but we are still missing compared to Ducati, because the last day all the Ducatis were in the top eight. Of course, we are missing, but I think everyone is on the limit and it’s all about details. We have to make steps during the year. This is the weak point we have I think, also in the previous years, that as soon as we start a season we have no evolution to the end.
How difficult will it be to beat Pecco this season?
“Already last year he showed how strong he is and if we look at the record he achieved here in Portimao he was fantastic. Right now it's true that the Ducati is the best package, but it must also be said that he's the rider ahead of the others and he's the fastest at the moment, but we want to make life difficult for him and I'll give 100% for that".