Top speed has been a key deficit Yamaha has had to endure in recent years, with a lack of engine power seriously impacting Quartararo’s hopes of defending his world title last year.
Yamaha enlisted the help of former Formula 1 engine chief Luca Marmorini to help with development of its 2023 engine, and the speed trap figures throughout winter testing were positive.
However, coming into the new campaign – which starts on Friday in Portugal – Quartararo says Yamaha is still not where it needs to be with its engine.
“Well, basically engine,” he replied on Thursday at the Algarve International Circuit what area has been the biggest improvement on the 2023 Yamaha. “Engine is the thing that I’ve asked [to be improved].
“We made a step forward, still not enough, but they worked hard, and I think if they keep going they can improve it. But we are still far away from what we have to have in the bike.”
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Quartararo began the penultimate day of pre-season testing earlier in the month admitting Yamaha would “not be ready” for the first round as he struggled on the 2023 M1.
Having gone back to various 2022-spec parts and set-up ideas on the final day, he was able to make a lap time gain of 1.3 seconds and ended the test relieved.
While Yamaha may have been able to turn a corner with its bike on the last day of testing, Quartararo admits it is “still missing compared to Ducati” when it comes to one-lap speed.
Quartararo also urged Yamaha to fix the “weak point” it has had for several years in not evolving the bike through a season.
“During the last day of the tests I was able to make a great lap, two laps in a row with the same lap times,” he added. “We are still missing compared to Ducati, because the last day all the Ducatis were in the top eight.
“Of course, we are missing, but I think everyone is on the limit and it’s all about details. We have to make steps during the year. This is the weak point we have I think, also in the previous years [in that] as soon as we start a season we have no evolution to the end.
“And I think this year if we want to be on top, we have to bring evolutions over the season.”