Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo didn’t hold back as MotoGP testing at Sepang concluded on Sunday with the 2021 Champion 19th overall.
Having seemed fairly confident on Saturday as the M1’s new engine showcased improving top speed, the Frenchman was deflated after time attack runs provided less than desirable outcomes. His best of the day, a 1’58.943, left him over a second off the outright pace, set by Ducati’s Luca Marini, and a tenth down on his personal fastest from day two.
“Well, it’s a mixed feeling I would say,” Quartararo admitted as the Malaysia test concluded. “I mean, pretty happy with the top speed, on used tyres, the pace, not too bad. But new tyres is a disaster.
“We have no idea why we are so far. We tried the time attack, that’s the biggest problem.
“Actually we have to make a reset for Portimao. Last year in the qualifying here we just qualified on the Q2 and we finished 12th. On the pace was good but let’s see if we can make a big step.
“We have to figure out what is the problem,” he continued. “Because every year qualifying is getting more important and we are having every year more problems on that area. Especially on sprint races, is going to be really important. Let’s see if we can make a step forward.”
With Ducati continuing to up its game across its vast fleet of eight riders and Aprilia improving to match the fellow Italian manufacturer, Yamaha already seems on the back foot as round one approaches.
“The gap is big in time attack especially, but on the pace I feel I’m pretty strong,” Quartararo countered. “But you know, if you don’t qualify well, and you’re like us today, you cannot fight for the victory and not even for the top five. This is what we will have to work on for Portimao and try to figure out how to improve the one lap pace.”