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Quartararo ‘doesn’t feel normal’ on Yamaha after nightmare Argentina MotoGP practice

Fabio Quartararo says he doesn't "feel normal” on the Yamaha MotoGP bike following a nightmare Argentina Grand Prix practice in which he missed the Q2 qualifying cut.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

The 2021 world champion said on Thursday ahead of the Rio Hondo event that he is battling rear grip issues on the 2023 Yamaha, which led to his comments after the Portuguese GP that he is currently unable to properly race his rivals.

Throughout Friday’s two practice sessions in Argentina, Quartararo was constantly spinning his rear tyre as he accelerated and could only go 14th quickest on the combined times.

Quartararo therefore faces the Q1 knockout session on Saturday morning in qualifying, with the Frenchman admitting he has “no speed” right now.

“The feeling is… the worst thing is the feeling is not so bad, but there are many things with the rear going on, I cannot make corner speed,” he said.

“I have no drive, but especially corner speed is something that I’m missing. I’m feeling super rigid on the bike, I don’t feel normal. So, we have to understand why.

“The pace is usually always quite good, but today the pace apart from the first run in FP2 – which was a little bit better – was bad and everything about today we had no speed. This was the problem.”

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Quartararo ended up six places behind team-mate Franco Morbidelli, who is in Q2 after finishing Friday in ninth.

The Frenchman admits this “unusual” scenario is hard to understand, conceding “I don’t know why we are that far away”.

Rear grip issues have plagued Yamaha riders for a number of years, but Quartararo says he hasn’t ever been majorly hindered by it before and expected – despite Rio Honda’s low-grip nature – to be much quicker on Friday.

“It’s funny because it’s never really happened to me, going into [corners], having this problem,” he added.

“Normally we maybe lose a little bit in the braking because we take out the engine brake and we are a little bit more free on the rear.

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“But today, we go more free with the engine brake to have more corner speed but it was the same problem more or less.

“I expected much better, to be honest, because if you check last year in the warm-up we had one of the strongest pace.

“We were in 1m38s, I made the same lap time with 18 laps on the tyre (his best on fresh rubber in practice on Friday was a 1m39.264s). I don’t understand why we are this slow.”

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