In a presentation in Malaysia on Monday, 2021 champion Fabio Quartararo and new Yamaha recruit Alex Rins provided a first glimpse of the paint scheme they will carry on their respective bikes this year.
The blue-and-black colour scheme is a carry-forward of the design that was first introduced on the M1 in 2019, when Monster Energy took over the title sponsorship of Yamaha Factory Racing from Movistar.
2024 marks a crucial year for the Japanese manufacturer, which will be hoping to arrest a decline in performance that saw it record its first winless campaign in MotoGP in 20 years.
So poor were Yamaha’s performances last season that it scored just three grand prix podium finishes with Quartararo, while Franco Morbidelli could finish no higher than fourth in a full-distance race in his final season with the team.
Yamaha has been working on its 2024 prototype for several months, but the reception from the riders in the first two tests at Misano and Valencia last year was lukewarm at best.
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing, Alex Rins, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP
Quartararo felt that Yamaha has only been able to deliver a small performance boost with the engine, which has emerged as the weak line in the M1 in the last few years, particularly against benchmark Ducati.
Although he praised the improved aerodynamics of the M1, the overall assessment of the bike was still weak, with the French rider conceding that Yamaha is still a long way off catching up to its rivals.
Yamaha is one of the two manufacturers that has been given increased development and testing freedom as part of MotoGP’s new concessions system, along with Honda. This, in theory, should help the marque to bridge the gap to its European rivals Ducati, Aprilia and KTM.
There is pressure on Yamaha to deliver as Quartararo enters the final year of his two-year contract, with the 24-year-old having admitted it has a “really short time” to convince him to sign a new deal for 2025 and beyond.
For its part, Yamaha has been trying to bring a more European mentality to the team, even hiring ex-Formula 1 engine chief Luca Marmorini to help develop the M1’s motor.
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP
It has also replaced the underperforming Morbidelli with Rins, who recorded Honda’s only win of 2023 at Austin on a satellite LCR bike.
Yamaha will once again be the only manufacturer on the grid to not…