MotoGP, Yamaha bitter admission: “We’ll see in 2024”

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The Yamaha team manager, Massimo Meregalli, reveals an unexpected detail on the eve of the new MotoGP world championship.

Franco Morbidelli's Yamaha M1 (Ansa)
Franco Morbidelli’s Yamaha M1 – Motori.News

Closed the presentation of the new Yamaha M1 by Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo, the first IRTA test of 2023 is expected, scheduled from 10 to 12 February in Malaysia. It will be then that we will see the new bike from the Iwata manufacturer in action and understand the progress made during the winter break. For some time now, the index has focused on the 4-cylinder in-line engine, on the need for greater top speed and acceleration. Which is why they bet a lot on an Italian engineer and his staff.

Luca Marmorini, a former Ferrari F1 and Toyota engineer, has been working on the Yamaha M1 engine for a year. Many are already expecting major developments in the next MotoGP season, but team manager Massimo Meregalli, in an interview with ‘La Gazzetta dello Sport’, held back the enthusiasm. Major progress takes time in a borderline category like this and the fruits of his labor won’t be seen until 2024.

Yamaha 2023: engine and Morbidelli puzzle

Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha)
Franco Morbidelli – Motors.News

On the other hand, the engine is not the only area to improve, every year new developments are needed in every sector, from aerodynamics to chassis. The Yamaha M1 had a strong point that it has lost: cornering, in particular cornering, where Franco Morbidelli suffered a lot in 2022. The maximum speed will certainly improve with the next edition, but the team manager ‘Maio’ Meregalli he admits: “The fruit of the collaboration with Marmorini will be seen in 2024. This year’s engine derives from that of 2021 and 2022, he is focusing on the next“.

Despite everything, the M1 had given excellent results on the 2023 engine in the Jerez and Misano tests, but in the last test at the Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, something didn’t work, causing some concern to Fabio Quartararo. The Italian manager clarifies what happened: “We tried too many things together or in the wrong order, and what the engine gave, something else took away. Fortunately it happened in Valencia and we were able to fix it, if it had happened in Sepang it would have been worse“.

Not only engine problems and evolution of the bike. The other big doubt is called Franco Morbidelli. His performances (19th place finish) are too far from those of the French runner-up, he has had too many problems adapting to Yamaha’s changes and his contract expires in December. In 2020 he almost came close to the world title and proved that he has a lot of talent. But he needs a mental step: “He made a point of making the bike do the things it did in 2020, therefore wrong roads. But he’s stubborn, in a good way… I’ve never seen him psychologically broken“.

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