Fabio Quartararo says getting the Monster Energy Yamaha M1 working better in qualifying will be key to kick-starting what has been a troubled start to the 2023 MotoGP World Championship season.
The Frenchman, MotoGP World Champion with Yamaha in 2021, endured chastening race days in both Portugal and Argentina, with poor getaways and lap one contact with rivals consigning him to just eighth and ninth place results in the main features, plus a best of ninth in the Sprint Race.
While Quartararo aired his frustration with incidents at the time, he concedes they are a symptom of his poor qualifying performances thus far.
Starting 11th in Portugal and tenth in Argentina, while Quartararo feels Yamaha isn’t far away from being competitive, he admits qualifying gains are most important.
“Portugal was not too bad. We had tests just before and we had to figure things out but the conditions in Argentina weren’t so easy.
“Every time we go on track, we are changing something and finding a better way.
“The pace in the Sprint Race wasn’t the best, but we aren’t so far, it’s just qualifying, it is the point we need to work on and it will be key this weekend.
“At the end, it is not so much, but everything is that tight, so if you are not 100% confident on the bike, it is still difficult.
“Hopefully we can find our pace on this track and especially in qualifying, make a step forward.”
Having garnered a reputation for his scintillating single-lap pace on the Yamaha M1 when he first arrived in MotoGP, Quartararo hasn’t started a race from pole position since the 2022 Indonesian MotoGP, round two of the season.