Motorcycle Racing

Quartararo had “initial contacts” with other MotoGP teams

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

At the age of 24, Quartararo is now in his sixth season in MotoGP, a class in which he won the title in 2021 and in which he has always competed on a Yamaha.

The Frenchman, whose contract with Yamaha expires at the end of 2024, has been demanding a reaction for the last two years in which Ducati emerged as MotoGP’s strongest manufacturer, but it has not been forthcoming.

The M1 bike’s lack of speed on a single lap and its performance in low-grip conditions left Quartararo desperate last year.

He launched several ultimatums in search of solutions, which could make him think about the possibility of extending his deal with Yamaha, which expires on 31 December.

The Japanese constructor has clearly stepped up its efforts, with the hiring of former Ducati engineers Max Bartolini (technical director) and Marco Nicotra (aerodynamics), in its bid to reduce the gap to the all-powerful Desmosedici and convince Quartararo to stay on.

“There has been a response to what I asked for, although the result of this is perhaps not what I wanted,” Quartararo told Autosport on the final day of testing at Sepang.

“I’ve already had initial contacts with other brands, but Yamaha will surely know about that.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“Now it’s up to Yamaha to see what steps they take.

“I’m quite happy with what they’ve done, but it’s a question of seeing how things develop in the short term.”

Despite the eight tenths that separated Quartararo from Ducati’s pacesetter Francesco Bagnaia in Malaysia, he highlighted the “big change” that Yamaha has made that has made it work in a “more aggressive” fashion.

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“It’s clear that I don’t like being so far away, and when I go into the garage I don’t do it with a smile, but the way we work now is much more aggressive,” he said.

“In the past, there was a saying in the paddock that the Yamaha engineers were always the ones who went to the hotel first. Right now they are working very hard.

“We have new people coming in, coming from a factory that was winning (Ducati), which is way ahead.”

The final pre-season test will run at Losail on Monday and Tuesday next week before the season kicks off on 10 March.

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