With the MotoGP summer break in full flow, Monster Energy Yamaha’s Massimo Meregalli reflects on a challenging but rewarding first half of 2022.
Defending Champion Fabio Quartararo sits 21 points clear at the top of the title standings after 11 races completed, with teammate Franky Morbidelli 147 points behind and 19th overall.
“The beginning has been difficult,” Meregalli said of the 2022 so far. “Difficult also because we were expecting something from Japan that we were not able to deliver, and I think we lost some motivation or goodness.
“But then we decided to stop thinking about what we didn’t get, and try to maximise what we had. We went to Qatar and the race anyway didn’t go as expected, also it took us a bit to understand the new aerodynamics. Then we moved to Indonesia, we had a really good result in the wet, a circumstance that we usually do not perform well in.
“But I think the switch that Fabio had was in COTA, when at the end of the race, even though we had a really big gap in top speed, he was able to fight with Marc [Marquez] until the end of the race. When he arrived in Portimao, he arrived, in my opinion, in a different way, and from there I think we maximised our package, and they really worked well in his corner to not lose anything in preparing for the race, working very well with the tyres.
“Fabio has great consistency, and probably in this moment is the only one that could really exploit the strongest points of our bike as much as possible, and he has such a strong feeling with the bike now.
“He’s mature, more than last year, because he’s improving the lap time wherever we are going, and he’s very determined. Also, when I said mature, because in difficult situations like Argentina, in COTA, in Qatar, in the end he was disappointed, but not in the wrong way.
“Since we returned to Europe, he started to be really focused and fast, and what he did in the last three races, for me, was amazing,” he said of the Frenchman’s success at Mugello, Barcelona and Sachsenring. “He achieved these results in very fast circuits, where at the beginning we could not expect it, and also at the Sachsenring, which is not really a good circuit for Yamaha.
“I said that at the moment Fabio is the only one that can really exploit the good point of the Yamaha but we are really working hard to try to get back Franco where he was in 2020,” he continued turning his attention to the other side of the garage.
“We all know his capability and we will never give up until we will reach this target. We are convinced about the performance or the speed that Franco has and in this moment, we are already looking for a solution that will allow him to be more comfortable on the bike, to be more fast and consistent.
“The race results doesn’t show, in my opinion, what he is doing the recent races, but the pace that he is showing during the practice are already improving. What is missing now is the time attack. He’s suffering and is also very difficult to understand, he complain about that he has too much grip and he can’t turn and let the bike spin as he will like.
“I’m quite convinced that with a better starting position, for sure his results in the race will be definitely better. You know that, especially for us, is not easy to recover a position during the race. So the moment we will achieve the goal to take him starting more from the front, I think we will start seeing Franky back on his speed.
“He’s satisfied about his working group and we also have a strong belief in Patrick Primmer’s capability,” Meregalli confirmed on the Italian’s new crew chief for this season. “So in my opinion is, even though he was a Yamaha rider in 2020, just move now to a bike that is different than the 2020 and sometimes he’s trying to get the same feeling. But at the end, we try to tell him that the 2022 bike has different characteristics than that bike so we are working to try to make him comfortable on the bike with the stuff that we have. We also think that the stuff we have is really good stuff!”