The 2022 MotoGP season has passed the halfway point, and while the void created by the retirement of Valentino Rossi left Yamaha fans with a sense of something missing when the season got underway in Qatar, there has still been plenty to cheer about.
Frenchman Fabio Quartararo has continued the form that carried him to a maiden MotoGP title in 2021, but with eight races remaining in the title chase, there is still a long way to go before the Yamalube-backed Monster Energy Yamaha team can think about end-of-year celebrations. As the teams prepared to tackle the Red Bull Ring in Austria for this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, Yamaha Motor caught up with its two factory team riders to discuss their seasons so far.
Fabio Quartararo banked valuable points early in the season, then scored three race wins between rounds five and ten. By the halfway point of the season, the Frenchman looked well on his way to securing back-to-back titles. However, things can change quickly in the high-speed world of Grand Prix racing, and a DNF at Assen followed by an eighth-place finish at the British Grand Prix saw an erosion of his comfortable points gap over the chasing pack.
Looking back on his season so far, Quartararo pinpointed his performance at the Indonesian Grand Prix (Mandalika) as a possible season-defining result.
“Mandalika was one of the races I was more proud of because of course, the rain came and it was suddenly more difficult for me, a situation with no riding before,” explained Quartararo. “I was fifth all race, and then at the last moment I could overtake three riders and fight for second position.”
Quartararo’s teammate, Franco Morbidelli is still looking to regain the form that claimed him three race wins for Yamaha in 2020. The past few races have been encouraging, but he knows the results will come only through hard work and persistence.
“We have started to see something in the late races of the first half of the season,” Morbidelli explained. “We need to see much more; we need to put everything together. We are working for much more.”
Last season, Quartararo’s Yamaha was the fastest machine on race day when the championship held back-to-back races at the Red Bull ring. This weekend, the two Monster Energy Yamaha team riders will be looking to replicate that 2021 pace and convert it into a race win.