Another way that Yamaha MotoGP riders’ struggles hurt Quartaro is that his rival and eventual champion Pecco Bagnaia was just one of six or seven podium-capable Ducati riders in the 2022 MotoGP season, usually for the better, but sometimes for the worse given his last-lap battles with the battle-hungry Enea Bastianini.
However, it’s possible that that had just as significant, if not more so, an impact in the garage as it did on the track, tipping the balance in Bagnaia’s favor.
Unfortunately, he was unable to use any of the other people’s reference data. In an interview with MotoGP’s Last on the Brakes podcast, Yamaha team manager Maio Meregalli referred to Quartararo as “because all the others used his reference data.”
“Cal [Crutchlow] gave us some help when he came back to replace Dovi [Andrea Dovizioso] because we could also share some jobs. This has been excellent.
Meregalli then highlighted the way that the Ducati riders “had a great deal of information they can share”.
Earlier in the season, VR46 Ducati rider Luca Marini mentioned something similar. Every rider has a strong point and a strong corner on every track, and by looking at their data, you can significantly improve, he stated.
Meregalli went on to say, “most of the time, they have seven riders in the top 10.”
Therefore, it is simpler for them to grow.
This is something we lack. Fabio is very good because he can push the bike to its limits on the first day. On Friday, after FP2, he can be at 90%, but it is hard to gain the remaining 10%.
“In contrast, the others have the opportunity to share and grow, despite the fact that they may have a challenging beginning.
Additionally, on Saturdays, they typically make significant progress. Additionally, this is a significant benefit for them and a disadvantage for us.
Although Crutchlow, the test rider, has in fact been Quartararo’s closest Yamaha match over the course of a single lap as well as a race, this still amounts to an average gap of six-tenths of a second in the personal-best lap of the weekend stakes and double-digit seconds on Sundays.
Six-time champion Marc Marquez also brought up Quartararo’s tendency to get close to the limit faster and then be overtaken by Ducatis.
With the obvious caveat that Friday practice involves a variety of rider approaches and tire strategies and that, while a late-FP2 soft-tire run is customary, it is occasionally forsaken given that FP3 typically determines the automatic Q2 spots, it has been visible, if not extremely pronounced, on the timing screens.
The list below demonstrates that Quartararo’s “Friday average” is superior to that of all the other front-runners for the championship; however, his peak occurred far too frequently as the season progressed, while Bagnaia in particular became increasingly competitive over the course of a weekend, and Ducati made good use of its wealth of competitive data.
Average position after Friday in 2022 (championship top five plus Yamahas) Now that Yamaha has lost its satellite team to Aprilia, the team can only field three wildcards, though Crutchlow doesn’t seem all that excited about that.
Therefore, if the manufacturer believes that Quartararo suffered as a result of a lack of a reference point, it will only increase the pressure on Franco Morbidelli to reclaim his previous form or on the management of the team to locate a rider who could assist Quartararo in maximizing weekends in 2024.