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MotoGP, Quartararo: "In Portimao I saw Yamaha's plans, I will come back to fight at the top"

Frenchman on two-year renewal : "There are some really interesting things, which are still confidential in Yamaha, and the project is going to be huge. With the arrival of Bartolini, he brought us some good ideas, I have also seen a big change since the beginning of the season. When a brand like Yamaha wants to keep me it’s loyalty from them also.”  

MotoGP: Quartararo:

Portimao left Fabio Quartararo with a modest seventh place and a conviction, that of staying with Yamaha for another two years. The Frenchman's decision to renew with the Japanese manufacturer, came in a totally unexpected fashion or for many perhaps almost inexplicably, irrespective of the Yamaha's difficulties in recent years in keeping up with the preponderance of rival manufacturers, Borgo Panigale in primis. Fabio Quartararo has in this way removed one of the most prized pieces of the rider market, while at the same time giving an incontrovertible signal to his rivals: something is boiling in the pot. What exactly this is is unknown to us, the Frenchman whispers of confidential projects shown to him by Japanese engineers, but it is undeniable that the arrival of the Italian know-how of Marmorini and Bartolini also has something to do with it. In any case, Fabio is now certain that soon, albeit not immediately, he will be back fighting among the top riders, and he will do so with the blue colour of the Japanese manufacturer.

What convinced you to stay at Yamaha? There has been repeated talk of contact with Aprilia as well.
"Of course we talked to different manufacturers," the Frenchman said, "and the decision was not easy. But in Portugal we had a great meeting with Yamaha's top management and engineers about the project from now until the end of the year and 2025 and 2026. There are some really interesting plans, which are still confidential, in Yamaha, new people coming and the project is going to be huge. So, the decision was made in Portugal."

A decision for some was perhaps unexpected, in the past you also did not hide several criticisms of Yamaha.
"More than criticism this year, I have expressed facts about the current state. I think the current project is more something in the making toward the future than rooted in the present. It's the project that Yamaha is building for the future, starting from January, also thanks to the arrival of some engineers from Ducati. True, I have also complained in the past, but this year the change has been there mainly in terms of mentality and approach to problem solving. At present we are still a long way from the most competitive riders, but we still need time to get closer to them."

Has the change of regulations in 2027, with a view to designing a new M1, further convinced you that the Yamaha project is good?
“I think also one of the reasons is the budget in terms of improving the bike is really high in Yamaha. With the arrival of Max Bartolini from Ducati, he really brought us some good ideas and Yamaha can make it quick – but not super quick because we need a little bit of time. But this is something super important and already next year the bike can be quite different.”

Have the changes on the Yamaha already seen so far this early in the season contributed to your decision to stay with the Japanese manufacturer?
“It was great because for me in Portugal it was a lot of information that made me want to stay. What really made me want to stay was the way we totally change the way of working. Already from testing in Malaysia, something was not working and some engineers wanted to take it off the bike already. But some engineers said ‘no, we will resolve the problem’ and it worked. Also some confidential projects for the future that is going to be huge, that Yamaha is investing a lot in the project. When a brand like Yamaha, it will be my sixth year this year, really wants to keep me it’s loyalty from them also.”

Do you think that, also thanks to this project, you will have a way to get back to being able to fight with the most competitive riders?
"Yes, " Fabio then answered without hesitation, " I don't know when , I think this year it won't be easy because we started a little bit too late, but we will already see some steps coming at halfway in the season. Hopefully we can make some more steps to the front."

Coming here to COTA is also an opportunity to get close to a motorsport legend like Kevin Schwantz.
"I got to see some of his races in the past, I remember Suzuka, and the way he braked was unique and impressed me. Also in person, he has a great character as well as talent on a motorcycle."


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