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Quartararo set on MotoGP title, “I won’t settle for less”

Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo is heading stateside this month in a bid to rebuild his fitness ahead of an intense MotoGP title bid.

With 21 rounds and 42 races scheduled for the coming year, Quartararo’s preparation was made all the more challenging after fracturing his hand in December. But with the Frenchman now given the all clear to resume training it’s all systems go for the 2021 Champion as he aims for title number two.

“The winter break was, I would say, intense, because when I was training quite hard doing motocross, I got a hand injury,” Quartararo confirmed from the Monster Energy Yamaha team launch in Jakarta on Tuesday. “I then switched to doing a lot of cardio. My plan is to go to the US after the team presentation. Hopefully I can ride a lot there.

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“I’ve recently had my hand scanned to see if everything is fixed, and it’s all good now. I have made a full recovery.

“Of course, 2022 was a not an easy season,” he continued. “Especially the performance of the bike was something we struggled with from the beginning but I was actually quite happy about the experience I gained.

While Quartararo couldn’t fully defend his position as reigning champion in 2022, handing the title over to Ducati’s Pecco Bagnaia after a late season battle, the 23-year-old is determined to get his hands on the trophy again this time around.

“Finishing Vice Champion last year is definitely something I want to improve on,” Quartararo acknowledged. "I want to win the title again in 2023, and I won’t settle for less. Hopefully we worked well on the bike over the winter so we can fight for the title again.

2023, however, brings new challenges with the introduction of Saturday sprint races to an ever-extending 21-round calendar.

“Honestly, I’m not a big fan,” he admitted on the new schedule. "But in the end, they made this change for the fans. For them, having an extra race will be very nice. For us riders, it will be tough physically. There’s also some extra risk of getting injured and missing races because of that.

“Starting FP4 is totally different than starting a race. So, this will be difficult. Preparing for 21 GPs and 42 races in total will be different. We used to use FP4 to prepare for the race, but FP4 has now been replaced by a sprint race. That will be strange at first, but it’s something we’ll get used to.

“We will face all 42 races with positive energy,” he said of the new demands. “Though 21 of these races are sprint races, I don’t think it will be very different for us. It will be like a normal race. But, of course, 42 races in one season will be tough.

“What we need from my side is that I’m at a top level both physically and mentally, be at the top level on the bike and not make any mistakes. As for the team, their 2022 was pretty good, I have to say. Of course, I made mistakes, the team made mistakes, Yamaha made mistakes, but we have learned from that. This will be my third year with the Factory Yamaha team, and I want to fight for the title again with them.

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While the familiar Yamaha colours were once again on show as Quartararo and teammate Franky Morbidelli unveiled the 2023 M1, this season’s livery takes on a slight twist.

“It’s something different, and I think it’s pretty nice,” the Frenchman commented. “I really like the new livery but, of course, the most important thing for me is what’s inside the bike. I can’t wait to ride it!”

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