Fabio Quartararo admits Friday at the MotoGP Valencia Grand Prix was “one of the worst days of the season” after finishing 16th fastest on his Petronas SRT Yamaha. Quartararo’s championship hopes are all but gone following an early crash last weekend in the European GP, with his points deficit to Suzuki’s Joan Mir now standing at 37.
The Frenchman struggled throughout the European GP weekend and once again scrabbled for form on his M1 in Friday practice, making “big changes” to his bike but having no impact on his feeling – something that’s never happened to him before, he claimed.
“Actually, it was one of the worst days of the season for me,” Quartararo said. “Today we have tried many things on the bike and normally when you try many things, you feel a different feeling on the bike – better, worse.
“But we made big changes and the feeling was exactly the same, and this has never happened. So, we will go in an extreme way tomorrow, because worse than that, it’s difficult.
“And today, we were slow even with new tyres. So, this is something we need to change and tomorrow we will go in an extreme way we never did in both years in MotoGP.”
Quartararo says his team tried different engine maps, suspension settings front and rear, and ride height adjustments, but admits he is worried as none of it yielded any improvement.
When asked if he was worried, he replied: “Yeah, a little bit, because normally we know why we have a problem, not this problem because it’s the first time we have it – and I would say that normally when we change the bike we feel it.
“Either positive or negative, I go in and say ‘the bike is worse’, or better or something happens. And today, with all the changes that we make, it was exactly the same. So, I’m a bit worried because I will go out with a bike that I never really ride, and it will be difficult.”
Quartararo admits his lack of understanding of a problem on the bike is one of the main problems with the 2020 M1.
He added: “Last year, on normal days, you can adapt to the bike, but this year the margin is so small to be fighting for victories or fighting for the points and this is something that is tough to understand and difficult.
“At other races it’s also difficult because everybody improves, but actually right now it doesn’t improve, and normally when you make big changes, like we did today, you feel it and you come into the box and say it’s worse, I have this feeling.
“But today was the same and this is probably the main problem; first you get lost really easily but it’s difficult to also understand. The problem I have today is the first time I have it, but also the first time I experienced that, making big changes and feeling nothing. It’s a bit difficult to understand.”