MotoGP: Two Yamahas Make Quartararo Difficult

After the first five weekends of MotoGP 2023, the world championship rankings provide a clear picture of just how dominant Ducati is. In the standings, five of the first six positions are occupied by representatives of Ducati. Only Brad Binder (KTM) came in third, behind Francesco Bagnaia and Marco Bezzecchi.

Except for Alex Rins’ sensational victory over Honda in the United States MotoGP, the Desmosedici GP’s four other Grand Prix wins have been won. They also won three of the five Sprint Races. Binder won the two-speed battle on Saturday.

“I don’t like this situation,” said Diego Gubellini, chief of the Fabio Quartararo crew since 2019.

The Italian man is in a stalemate with Yamaha. The YZR-M1 has never been competitive and frustrated Quartararo.

“We have reached a point (in MotoGP) where the bike makes the difference and the riders less and less. If you start from the back there is no margin to catch up like a few years ago.

“Even if you have the best pace, but you only start 15th, then the gap is too small,” he added.

Position after the start phase becomes very important in the race, because overtaking maneuvers become more difficult.

That’s why Friday already determines most of the race results. Because if someone misses qualifying straight Q2 and then doesn’t go any further in Q1, even at a good race pace, there’s almost no chance of a podium finish.

“Now a brand has taken the lead in modern MotoGP,” Gubellini said of Ducati. “It’s a bit like Formula 1. When you are in the best car, you can fight for the world title.

“Racers today can’t make the difference like a few years ago. That’s why riders like Marc Marquez and Fabio have more difficulties compared to a few years ago. At Ducati, I see everyone is fast.”

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“In my opinion, Fabio has everything to fight for the world title. He is without a doubt one of the two or three fastest riders. But every season has its own story. Individual events can change everything. We have to accept that and try to give our best .”

Yamaha is in a disadvantageous position by only having two motorbikes so it has minimal references. This is in contrast to Ducati which placed quadruple vehicles on the grid making it easier for engineers to compare and analyze data.

That’s why Quartararo often lays bare his problems over the weekend when comparing his lap times to last year’s. It’s clear that the old M1 was faster than the current M1.

“Other teams have drivers who are similar, or at least very close,” said Gubellini. “That’s why they can all offset each other, even just for a corner. I will give an example.

“Maybe today Bagnaia was fast in almost all corners, but not in one corner. He can look at other riders’ data to understand how he has to improve in one corner. Since Vinales left Yamaha, we don’t have that opportunity anymore.

“We can only rely on Fabio’s statements and data from recent years. But we don’t have benchmarks that we can use to improve. There are only two Yamahas left on the track. That makes it difficult for Fabio.”

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