Quartararo has struggled in the wet in recent years aboard his Yamaha, but romped to second in last Sunday’s rain-lashed Indonesian GP.
This marks his best result in a wet race in the premier class, which was previously a third at Le Mans last year – but he feels his French GP podium didn’t actually come from improvements made to the bike.
Although getting the holeshot from pole, Quartararo was shuffled down the order to fifth in the early stages of the Mandalika race.
Speaking after finishing second, which moves him up to third in the standings now, Quartararo admits it took him time to understand he could push more than he was in the conditions.
“In every situation I try to see the best I can get, and when I was fifth, to be honest I’ve never been that fast in the wet and it took me time to realise I was riding that fast,” he explained.
“I was in P5 and I saw that I had a small margin, and sometimes when you are getting used to being much further [down] in the positions and you are in P5, you expect that ‘wow, this is a good result’.
“But I felt that I could go a little bit better and I was feeling so good on the brakes.
“To be honest, it’s been a long time since I had this feeling on the bike [in the wet].
“In 2019 we had no races in the wet, but every practice I did I was always in the top 10.
“But 2020 and 2021 always I was outside the top 10, I could never make a good race.
“In Le Mans last year I make the podium, but basically because my laps with the slicks when it was raining I made a gap to the others of more than 10 seconds, so that’s why I made the podium.
“But here it was full wet and it’s the thing [rear grip] I asked to Yamaha [to bring] on that condition.”
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Quartararo says Yamaha made set-up changes to his bike for the wet to find more rear grip in practice at Austin last year and hopes it can apply this to dry conditions going forward.
“This is a little bit of luck, because when it rains in some tracks the tarmac doesn’t have the grip, and here it had the grip,” he added.
“So, basically to be honest, since Austin 2021 we used a different set-up on the bike – totally different – and was already better.
“But now we changed a really small thing on the bike and that, plus the grip on the tarmac, is helping a lot.
“So, we know that the small thing today, maybe if we make much more, can help to have more rear grip [in the dry].”