Fabio Quartararo arrives at Phillip Island on the strength of a podium achieved in Mandalika in the Grand Prix which certainly boosts his morale. The Frenchman finished less than half a second behind winner Bagnaia in Indonesia and the Australian track might help Yamaha with its fast corners and few violent braking points.
A track that on paper seems to perfectly fit both the bike and the rider, who obviously hopes to have another chance to fight for the podium, a habit that Quartararo has been able to practice very little in this 2023. His mind is on 2024, but the desire to demonstrate his speed at the end of this season is completely intact.
"I hope we can be there for the fight at the top - commented Quartararo - I like this track a lot even if I have actually never finished a single race here! It's a track that suits our bike. Qualifying will be very important, we have pace in the race, but on the time attack we are at the limit."
In Indonesia you were very close to your rivals, but they pulled away on the straight. Is Yamaha's problem the inline 4 versus the V4s?
"I don't think the problem is linked to the layout of our engine, even if the power could be a problem. At Mandalika, as much as I tried to save the tyre, at the exit of the last corner when I opened the throttle the others went away. I know that I made some mistakes, perhaps in a similar situation I would ride in a slightly different way."
This is a track for 'real riders’. Can a champion still make the difference here?
"I think the truth is 50/50 between bike and rider. Of course, it's a very fast track where you have to give everything you can in the fast corners, but perhaps a few years ago the rider was more important than he is today."
What goals do you have between now and the end of the year?
"To be honest I don't have any goals. In the second half of the season we started working differently and it's working. But as I said, the goal for the last races will always be to qualify in front and this will help us take a big step forward even in the race."