Quartararo’s title defence began in difficult fashion in Qatar, where a lack of rear grip and horsepower meant he qualified 11th and could only finish the race ninth.
Despite a tricky FP1 session and several technical issues, the Yamaha rider has been much stronger in Indonesia, storming to pole on Saturday by over two tenths of a second.
“I felt great, finally on one lap, it’s a long time since I felt so good,” he said.
“Here I felt good from FP2 when I put in the soft rear and actually FP4 I’m super happy because I made 15, 14 laps in a row and the pace was really good and I think it was the most important thing to make those laps in a row and see the consistency of the tyres.
“I’m pretty happy, I expected much more drop from the rear and I feel great.”
When asked by Autosport to compare how his Yamaha felt at Mandalika compared to Qatar, Quartararo said the two factors that have helped him are the better rear grip he has found and the 2.673-mile circuit’s lack of long straights.
“There are two things: there are not so many straights and there’s much higher grip,” he added.
“I think it’s the most important thing that we need, and more than the straights, I think it’s the rear grip [that makes the biggest difference].
“So, when we have that we can be super fast, but when we don’t have there’s a big drop.
“We can’t have something in the middle, so that I think is the biggest difference.”
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
For the Indonesia weekend, MotoGP tyre supplier Michelin has brought an old carcass design last used in 2018 to cope with the extreme heat.
This has caused problems for some manufacturers, with Honda’s Pol Espargaro and Suzuki’s Joan Mir both admitting they think it will be hard for them to finish the race on Sunday due to how much more on the limit the different rear tyre has made the front-end of their bikes.
Quartararo says he prefers the tyres used at the Mandalika test as he can feel there is less grip from the old carcass design.
“For me, I prefer the tyre from the test,” he said. “For me it has more performance and more consistency.
“This tyre for me is a little bit comfortable for riding and less on the limit, but you feel the tyres has less performance and a little bit more spin.
“But it’s a small difference I feel, but I have a small preference for the tyre of the test.”
Some riders are also anticipating overtaking to be difficult come Sunday due to the extreme heat causing front tyre pressures to go up for bikes in a pack.
Quartararo, who suffered greatly with this in Qatar, is wary of front tyre pressure problems being a problem.
“Mainly because with our bike we struggle quite a lot to overtake and then I think you need to play a little bit with the pressure before the start.
“But in this kind of track, where it’s hot, it’s always better to start in front than on the back.
“So, I feel like it’s a great track to start from the front row and let’s see how my start goes. But normally I’m not too bad this year.”