Dovizioso and Morbidelli crossed the finish line 29 seconds behind Gresini Ducati race winner Enea Bastianini and around 22.5 seconds behind Quartararo, who was again head and shoulders behind the other Yamahas for at minus saving seventh place.
“When you take 29 seconds… It’s hard. It is difficult. But I have nothing new to say. I mean, we know very well why we are not competitive and what I have to do in a different way and why only Fabio is able to do it,” Dovizioso said.
“It’s pretty bad because the gap is too big. I’m disappointed and done with Frankie is just further confirmation [of the situation] and we cannot be happy. But I can’t say anything different. I mean, the reason is clear from the start and it’s still the same.
Quartararo is the only Yamaha rider to win a MotoGP race since Maverick Vinales won the 2021 season opener in Qatar and the only M1 rider to step onto the podium (most recently at Mandalika) since Vinales in Assen in June.
While the spotlight is on Yamaha’s apparent lack of technical evolution this winter, especially with Quartararo’s top speed appeals seemingly falling on deaf ears, the Frenchman sits in fifth place overall. world championship (-17 points from Bastianini) or ten places more than Morbidelli (-47 points).
Rookie Darryn Binder is 19th on the A-spec bike, thanks to his wet-weather heroism in Indonesia, with RNF teammate Dovizioso in 21st after a best result of just 14th combined with some technical issues.
The size of the gap between Quartararo and fellow Yamaha riders has drawn comparisons to Honda’s reliance on Marc Marquez for his best results during the Spaniard’s winning seasons.
For Dovizioso – a three-time MotoGP title runner-up with Ducati as well as a race winner for Honda and former podium finisher for Tech3 Yamaha – there are two separate “stories”, but with low grip as a common factor in each.
Dovizioso: “Grip and power”
“It’s grip and power. Especially the grip,” Dovizioso explained, when pressed on the exact reasons for his struggles with Yamaha. “With that lack of grip, you have to ride in a specific way and if you don’t, you can’t be competitive, with the specs of the Yamaha.
“I’ve been repeating this since Misano last year and nothing has changed because the bike doesn’t change and that’s the hallmark of Yamaha now. The bike has a lot of positives because the chassis under braking and over bumps is so good, but as I explained from the first time I hopped on the bike, for some reason the lack of adhesion is very important.
“It’s not about installation and we [Dovizioso and Morbidelli] have the same hardware as Fabio. It’s about how you should ride the bike… The range to handle the rear grip is so narrow and so small, and if you don’t ride like [Quartararo] you can’t be that fast.
“If you ride like Fabio, you can be faster, but that’s still not enough [for Quartararo] compete with the others because he is struggling compared to last year.
“So there are two stories. A story tells how competitive the Yamaha is. And that’s the thing Fabio struggles with, complaining about some power and grip. the [second] is to be able to be competitive for the characteristic of the Yamaha and now it is very very difficult.
“In my opinion, the engine doesn’t help but the main point is the grip. 100% is the grip. You cannot use your path to roll. You have to roll and not use the rear handle when exiting turns. And that, in my opinion, is quite unusual. With any bike, it’s pretty hard to ride like that.
“But Fabio is good at it. His riding style from the start, if you study since his arrival in MotoGP, he was competitive, but the DNA of the Yamaha was already like that four years ago.
Quartararo manager Eric Mahe has confirmed crash.net than the n°20 struggles less with poor grip, but adds that motor skills are still an essential element of the young Frenchman’s style.
Interestingly, at Ducati Jack Miller also credited a special corner exit technique as a key element of Bastianini’s COTA success.
“He’s unreal with the way he presses the throttle. Somehow he never uses the rear of the bike to turn, which is my big problem. I always use the rear of the bike to shoot,” Miller said.
“He’s able to ride it very smooth, consistent and fast. It’s tire management. It’s all up to him. So I’ll keep studying!”