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Quartararo admits Japanese MotoGP bikes’ pace embarrassing its riders

Fabio Quartararo has admitted MotoGP riders on Japanese bikes are being embarrassed by their poor form following a miserable British Grand Prix sprint.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Having qualified last, Yamaha rider Quartararo could do no better than 21st in the 10-lap sprint on Saturday at Silverstone.

For much of the contest, all of the six riders on Japanese bikes occupied the bottom six places in the field, with only Franco Morbidelli marginally sparing blushes by taking the chequered flag in 15th.

It continued the dearth in results the Japanese manufacturers have experienced for much of 2023.

Asked by Autosport if he felt the riders at Yamaha and Honda are being embarrassed by the Japanese manufacturers right now, Quartararo replied: “Well, of course.

“I mean, if you check, now it’s more the European bikes than the Japanese bikes, but there is not one [Japanese manufacturer rider] on top and the others bottom.

“All of us are down, so for sure we are doing something wrong.

“But especially from my side starting that far down, we will have to do something totally different tomorrow.

“We have nothing to lose and my priority now is to try to improve, to be more in front and make a step forward in the coming races, where normally in the second half of the season is where we drop down.”

Joan Mir, Repsol Honda

Joan Mir, Repsol Honda

Photo by: Repsol Media

Quartararo explained that his lowly grid spot was down to a “misunderstanding” in Q1 when he boxed following an off at Vale, in which “the mechanic was in the back [of the garage]” when he needed serviced, leaving him with time for only one flying lap.

After admitting keeping his motivation through his tough times was getting harder, Quartararo says his 2023 season is worse than his lacklustre Moto2 years in 2017 and 2018.

“Yes, because Moto2 I was always shit,” he said when Autosport asked if this was a worse career moment for him.

“It’s true, to be honest I made nothing in Moto2. I made a few races, I made my victory in the best moment.

“But in Moto2 I have never been fighting for the top three in the championship. I didn’t adapt well to Moto2, but in MotoGP it’s not the case.”

Morbidelli noted the gulf between the Japanese and European marques was already “big” in the second half of last season, with Quartararo’s “amazing power of will” masking the Yamaha’s troubles.

LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami, who was one spot ahead of Quartararo in the sprint, says the form of the Japanese bikes “was a shock”.

Takaaki Nakagami, Team LCR Honda

Takaaki Nakagami, Team LCR Honda

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“We [Honda] are struggling because we brake a lot on the angle, but the bike has no reaction, no drive,” Nakagami said.

“So, it was a big shock that there was only 10 laps and we finished 30s behind. This is something they need to fix, because it’s not only a rider problem.

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“All the Honda riders were there. I’m quite sad about the performance, result after today.

“Today’s conditions were massively difficult to adapt to, but we were too slow and the performances were not good.”

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