Quartararo made history in 2021 when he became France’s first ever MotoGP world champion, while also ending a title drought for Yamaha dating back to Jorge Lorenzo in 2015.
The French rider, who stepped up to the factory Yamaha squad in 2021 to take Valentino Rossi’s place, won five times and scored four other podiums to wrap up the championship with two rounds to spare – his winning margin 26 points over Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia in the end.
The 2021 Yamaha was a much-improved package over its predecessor, with Quartararo able to have much more consistency across the campaign than he did in 2020.
But the bike still lacked horsepower, with Yamaha unable to develop its engine in 2021 owing to a development freeze forced by the COVID-19 pandemic on Yamaha, Honda, Ducati and Suzuki (Aprilia and KTM could start 2021 with a new engine as they were deemed concession manufacturers last year).
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Following his title triumph at Misano in October, Quartararo was asked if he felt he had the best bike on the grid – but said, based on what he’d seen of his rivals, he didn’t.
“I don’t know. I don’t try yet the Honda, the Ducati,” Quartararo said.
“What we can say is that looking at all the other riders and comments, looks like no.
“But for me it’s working pretty well, we are world champions.
“So, I think that we can be really happy. We need to work, to be honest I’m feeling really good with the bike but struggling in many, many areas to overtake.
“It depends on the track, this track was so difficult.
“But we know, everybody knows where we need to improve – horsepower.
“With horsepower I think we can have the best bike of the paddock, but I think Yamaha knows where they need to work and right now I can’t say if it’s the best or not.
“But we are world champions.”
Quartararo was left unhappy after November’s post-season test at Jerez with a lack of progress from Yamaha on its 2022 bike, and said he wouldn’t sign anything for 2023 until he’s seen what the team brings to the Sepang pre-season test in February.