A press conference by representatives of the six manufacturers involved in MotoGP was held in Assen on Friday 24 June to take stock of their 2022 mid-season report before the summer holidays.
So these are Massimo Meregalli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Team Manager), Paolo Bonora (Aprilia Racing, Team Manager), Paolo Ciabatti (Ducati Corse, sports director), Francesco Guidotti (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, team director), Livio Suppo (Suzuki Ecstar Team Manager) i Alberto Puig (Repsol Honda Team, Team Manager) who summarized the first 10 races of the year before answering questions from journalists.
It should be noted that the order in which they were expressed corresponded, and still corresponds, to the classification of pilots and not of manufacturers or equipment. It is therefore Massimo Meregalli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Manager) who spoke first, thanks to Fabio Quartararo.
As alwayswe report here all your comments without any journalistic format.
The start of the season was a bit difficult but from Portimão Fabio Quartararo has shown all his talent. How much has it impressed you and where has it improved over last year?
Massimo Meregalli : ” As you say, the beginning was difficult. Hard too because we were expecting something from Japan that we couldn’t offer. I think we’ve also lost a bit of motivation and positivism. So we decided to stop thinking about what we didn’t get, but try to make the most of everything we had. We went to Qatar and the race did not go as we expected. It also took us a while to figure out the new aerodynamics. Then we moved to Indonesia where we had a very good wet result, in circumstances where we don’t normally perform very well.
But I think the trigger that Fabio had passed at COTA when, at the end of the race, he was able to fight with Marc, even though there was a big gap at top speed. When he arrived in Portimão, in my opinion he came up with another way of doing things. I think from here we maximized our package and it worked really well in your box so you don’t lose anything. He prepared for the race by working very well with the tires and every little detail was controlled very well.
Also, as you know, Fabio is really very consistent and at the moment he is probably the only one who can really take advantage of our bike’s strengths as well as possible. And now he has a very solid feeling with the bike. It’s mature, more so than last year, because it improves times wherever we go, and it’s very determined. So I say mature because, in difficult situations like Argentina or Qatar, he was disappointed but not in a bad way. So since we got back to Europe he started to be very focused and fast, and what he did in the last three races was great in my opinion, because he got those results on very fast circuits, which at first we couldn’t expect. . And also at the Sachsenring, which isn’t really a very good circuit for Yamaha. »
It looks like Yamaha is changing its strategy by hiring more European engineers – how much do you expect Luca Marmorini to help develop the M1 in the future?
“ Hopes are not only in this new synergy, but also in the fact that in Japan they have probably changed their minds. They are still working from home, but now they are starting to be more open and focused on improving the bike and the results. I’m sure I hope to see some results of this new collaboration, probably at the end of the season, because they are already, as you can imagine, working on the engine and motorcycle of the car, next year, but I’m happy and I’m very confident. »
You say that Fabio Quartararo is the only one who can fully exploit the M1: do you plan to return to satellite equipment in 2024?
” Yes, I said that right now Fabio was the only one who could really exploit the strengths of the Yamaha. But we are working very hard to get Franco back to where he was in 2020: we know his abilities and we will never give up until we achieve that goal.
The fact that we lost the satellite equipment, as you know, is not something we wanted. Overall, we were surprised by RNF’s decision and accepted it, but now there’s not much to say. In 2023 there will only be factory equipment but it is clear that it is important to have satellite equipment and we are sure that we will start thinking about 2024 from the beginning of next year. »
It seems that, betting everything on a great rider, the strategies of Yamaha and Honda are different from those of Ducati to offer a fun bike to as many riders as possible. What is the best strategy?
“ Above all, it was not a strategy: at the moment we are facing this situation and, as I said before, we are convinced of Franco’s action and speed. We are currently really looking for a solution that will allow you to be more comfortable with the bike to be faster and more regular. Because, in my opinion, the results of the races probably do not show what he has done in the remaining races, while the pace he has shown in the sessions is already increasing. What is missing now is the attack on the clock: it is suffering and it is also very difficult to understand that it complains that it has too much grip! And so he can’t spin and skate as much as he would like. I am rather convinced that with a better starting position your results in the race would surely be better, because as you know, and especially for us, it is not easy to climb positions during the races. So when we achieve the goal of getting him to go further, I think we’ll start to see how Franco regains speed. »
It may be a coincidence, but Franco Morbidelli’s lack of performance corresponds to when Ramon Forcada went to work elsewhere: Do you plan to reform the duo?
” Mmmm … I don’t think that’s the problem that didn’t put Franky in a place where we all wanted to be. He is satisfied with his work group and we also have great confidence in Patrick Primmer’s skills. So, in my opinion, I was already a Yamaha rider in 2020 and now I only moved with a different bike than the one from 2020, while sometimes I try to find the same feeling. But in the end, we try to tell him that the 2022 bike has different features. So we are working to try to make him comfortable on this bike with the staff we have, and we also think the staff we have is very good. »
This year, riders like Pol Espargaró and Marc Márquez said there was too much technology on the bikes and that the races were less fun to watch. Do you agree with that?
” I very much share Paolo Ciabatti’s point of view. Okay, of course we’ve introduced a lot of systems in the last two years, but if you consider safety, ailerons and a lot of electronic strategies bring more security to pilots. Like Ducati, our bike is very similar to last year’s, and in terms of racing being less fun this year, I don’t share that view. »