WORDS BY ADAM PROUD | IMAGES BY YAMAHA
It’s an age-old issue in motorsport, a question that no doubt springs to mind with any four-wheeled or two-wheeled fan. Why is the machine only capable of good results at the hands of one person?
This is the question that Yamaha has floating over its MotoGP garages. And the rider in question that can seem to extract the magic from the bike? Fabio Quartararo.
The YZR-M1 is no doubt suited to Quartararo’s riding style. After all, he did win last year’s championship after a collection of dominant rides.
But 2021 was quite a rough and turbulent year for the Japanese manufacturer. It had the split with Maverick Viñales to deal with, and a mid-season injury for Franco Morbidelli threw a spanner in the works too.
This year should have been the year where having more than just a single M1 at the front was a common occurrence, as it had been in years previous to 2021. Yet it hasn’t turned out that way and now Yamaha finds itself in a bit of a rut.
Of course, Honda for many years had a bike that only looked to be at its best when Marc Marquez Márquez was at the helm.
But since his injury troubles, Honda has begun to change its philosophy so all of its riders can extract the potential of the RC213V.
This is a situation that Yamaha find now finds itself in, and it’s been a problem highlighted at many points this year.
Take Morbidelli as an example. A rider who came into the team in 2019, and almost straight way looked comfortable with his Yamaha-ran SRT bike, just like Quartararo.
In 2020 the Italian looked even better as he went on to finish runner-up in the championship, with three wins to his name and only 13 points from the top of the standings.
Fast forward to now, and Morbidelli is down in 19th, with the two RNF Yamaha’s behind him in 20th and 22nd.
This problem is something that needs to be looked at by the Japanese manufacturer, especially with how open the competition now is since Aprilia has found its rhythm at the front. It’s now much harder to rely on just one rider's abilities.
You only need to look at how Honda's struggles played out when Márquez was absent from the field to see that.
RNF will be switching to Aprilia power from next year, leaving only the two factory Yamahas on the grid, the first time since the premier-class became known as MotoGP that this will occur.
Quite a daunting fact that I’m sure many at Yamaha will be pondering. Yet the struggles that three of its four riders are having is evidence that there’s an issue that needs to be fixed so there’s not just one Lesmo-born bike at the front.
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