The 2021 world champion has been buoyed by Yamaha’s increase in engine power for 2023 having long requested a step in top speed, and was pleased at the Sepang test that the Japanese marque had brought so many new items to try.
But, on the final day in Malaysia, Quartararo was left scratching his head why he struggled so much in time attack mode on the 2023 bike, having ended the day 19th on the timesheets.
“Mixed feelings, I would say,” Quartararo said on Sunday at Sepang.
“Of course, I’m pretty happy about the top speed, which is something that I have asked for for a long time.
“Then, we had many things to try. I’m pretty happy because we asked to test many parts.
“But today the feeling wasn’t great. I mean, it was great in some areas and with old tyres I’m feeling super happy. With almost 22 laps on the tyre, I made a 2m00s.
“But we put the new tyre in and it’s a nightmare. So, we have to figure out why with the new tyre we cannot make a step forward.
“We know it’s the most important thing right now [because there] will be sprint races, qualifying.
“Right now we are not able to make any step in front.
“Last year in qualifying here we struggled too. But it’s not the reason we are one second behind, it’s not looking so good. So, hopefully in Portimao we find the solution.”
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Quartararo says he feels faster than he is when running qualifying simulations, and says Yamaha’s time attack form is “the biggest question mark” having noticed a downwards trend in his own pole position tally since his rookie year in 2019.
“That’s what we are looking for,” he added when asked what the problem was.
“This is a problem: If I don’t look at the screen and look at my lap time, I feel like I’m riding in 1m58s low.
“But then I look at the lap time and I’m 1m59s low. It’s like, ‘what is happening?’ It’s not like I arrive to the box and I’m saying ‘I’m losing the front everywhere, I have no grip’.
“I don’t know what is going on. This is the biggest problem.
“It’s the biggest question mark and I feel like every year we have been dropping so much in qualifying. Now it’s impossible and the worst thing is we don’t know why.”
In his rookie year, Quartararo scored six pole positions and four in 2020, before registering five in 2021 and only one last season.