The colours of the 2023 M1 have been unveiled in Jakarta. Jarvis: "We’re ready to fight, and wanted a livery that reflects this spirit"
Same colours, same ambition. The 2023 season has officially begun for the factory Yamaha team, which can again count on Monster as main sponsor and on Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo as flagbearers. The aim, as always, is to win, with the manufacturer’s last title victory dating back to 2011.
“The aim to contend for the world title again”, comments Yamaha Motorsport General Manager Takahiro Sumi, “so we have worked to give Quartararo and Morbidelli an improved bike. The first aspect we’ve focused on is top speed, with the end goal of maximizing the harmony between bike and rider. We’re preparing for the winter tests, where we’ll put it all together.”
We’ll find out whether the work in Japan is moving in the right direction when the M1 takes to the track in Sepang. Team operations will again be headed up by Lin Jarvis, who continues as Team Principal and Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing. “We have recently renewed our multi-year agreement with Monster and have entrusted the graphics to Aldo Drudi. We’re ready to fight and wanted a livery that reflects that spirit”.
Also back in the Iwata control centre is Maio Meregalli, who – along with the rest of the paddock – will need to get to grips with the new racing format, with the addition of the much talked about Sprint Race.
“The team and riders will need to get used to the new format. On Saturday, after the Sprint race, we’ll have to quickly analyse the data ahead of Sunday’s main race. The weekend will definitely be more exciting for the fans, but also more stressful for teams. To win in MotoGP you need to be in the right mental state. We were able to recharge the batteries over winter and now feel ready for this new challenge. We want to be fast and avoid mistakes, which is fundamental during such a long and intense race season.”
Quartararo and Morbidelli agree: “Excited and ready for the new year”
But once the ground is prepared, it will be up to Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli to make the only two M1 machines on track shine, after a 2022 that brought both joy and pain. The joy was in large part for the Frenchman, who is keen to return to the reigning class throne as soon as possible, having only abdicated at the end of last year.
“We learned a lot from 2022”, starts the Frenchman, “and I hope this helps us to improve on the second place finish we scored at the end of the season. The aim is to return to winning ways. My injury? I feel better and will be back in the saddle next week. The next month will be intense, but I can’t wait to ride again, and that will help my recovery too. I like the new livery, it’s always great to see it at the start of a new year.”
While Quartararo is already ready for battle – fitness depending – Morbidelli has only one thought, and that is to fight back and again demonstrate that pure talent that has allowed him to succeed in the reigning class in the past.
“They say that when you lose, you learn a lot, so I’d say that I learned loads last year. I really want to fight back and demonstrate my worth. I like the new challenge of the Sprint Race and it will definitely be interesting for the fans. We’ll obviously feel the effects of an extra race every weekend, but we’ll see. I’m excited, as the presentation is also part of the new season - I love to feel the energy of the Yamaha world. The M1 is always a beauty and in these colours it can only give you extra motivation.”