Defending champions Yamaha, Fabio Quartararo reveal colours for 2022 MotoGP

Fabio Quartararo is ready to wear the target on his back as he prepares to defend his title in the 2022 MotoGP World Championship with Yamaha

Fabio Quartararo, Franco Morbidelli - Yamaha Factory

Fabio Quartararo says ‘nothing will matter anymore’ once he turns the first wheel of his latest specification Yamaha M1 in Sepang this weekend, as the Iwata marque pulled the covers off its challenger for the 2022 MotoGP World Championship.

The Frenchman romped to his maiden MotoGP title in 2021 - Yamaha’s first since Jorge Lorenzo triumphed in 2015 - with five wins and ten podiums to his name.

His first season since switching to the factory set-up following two career-defining years in the Petronas SRT operation, Quartararo run to the title was typified by his excellent qualification record and outstanding pace in clear air, while he suffered just a single non-finish all year.

However, after wrapping up the title with two rounds in hand at Misano, Quartararo came into the winter having struggled to match the performance of Ducati, in particular Pecco Bagnaia, who won four of the final six races and looked on course for a fifth prior to falling out of the lead late on in the Emilia Romagna MotoGP.

It led to Quartararo demanding a change in philosophy from Yamaha to put more emphasis on the M1’s top end power to give it a greater shot against Ducati’s perennially potent Desmosedicis. 

Indeed, while Yamaha and Ducati have often differed in terms of top speed, Yamaha retained its advantage with a more agile chassis, but its rivals’ 1-2-3 at the season-ending Valencia MotoGP - a circuit it has struggled at previously - was identified as a clear indication Ducati has found a better balance.

Speaking at the unveiling of the 2022-spec Yamaha M1 launch before testing kicks off in Sepang this weekend, Quartararo says he has put the glory of 2021 behind him and is fully focused on defending his title.

“The winter break was quite long, but if I‘m honest I feel like I kept busy the whole time," he said. "There were many events for me to attend, and of course training continued as normal – so all in all it was quite busy, but in a good way. 

“I‘m excited to begin the new season and start riding and improving. We got the title last year, and that‘s great. Nobody can ever take that away from me, but as of the first day of riding, none of that matters anymore.

"Last year‘s title win is behind us now, we must focus on this year‘s championship. Last year we barely did any pre-season testing due to the pandemic. This year I already have a year of experience with the Factory Team, so we know how to work well together. 

“We know our strengths and where we can improve, so that will help during the tests in Sepang and Mandalika."

Quartararo will be riding alongside Franco Morbidelli in 2022, the Italian getting his first full season with the factory squad having stepped up during the latter stages of the 2021 season in place of the axed Maverick Vinales.

The pair were previously team-mates for two seasons at Petronas SRT Yamaha in 2019 and 2020.

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