Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha): Is COTA coming at the right time?  / MotoGP

Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha): Is COTA coming at the right time? / MotoGP

The Yamaha hopeful will take part in his first race after a contract extension at the spectacular “Circuit of The Americas” in Austin this weekend. The Frenchman is relieved – and continues to push the team forward.

For many observers, last Friday’s announcement to extend Fabio Quartararo’s contract for two more years at Yamaha was a surprise. On the other hand, it was clear from the beginning that the attractive alternatives for the 2021 world champion were not very many. Ducati Desmosedici have a lot of workers and at Aprilia, “El Diablo” would probably have to accept a pay cut if there was a chance.

The Frenchman is now competing in his first race after this important personal decision at the Ring in Austin in Texas. With the Yamaha factory team, Fabio took eight MotoGP victories and was on the podium 21 times.

For someone from Nice, Texas it comes at a good time. There he produced one of his best races of the season in 2023 when he finished third, just four seconds behind. The victory there went to the Spaniard Alex Rins with the LCR Honda of the Cecchinello team. And: Of all people, this Rins – the “giraffe” – is now Fabio Quartararo’s partner in the M1 with only four cylinders in line in the field.

Despite all the excitement about the deal with Quartararo, there is also a downside: Yamaha’s previous private concession test in the Algarve had to be canceled on Monday due to rain. “We come to America with a lot of work,” says Quartararo. And he motivates the team again: “Unfortunately, we could not take the opportunity to take part in the private test in Portugal, so now we have to work on a few extra things at the weekend. I am happy that I have announced that I will stay with Yamaha.”

Quartararo continued: “I think this will help me and also the team, because we have made our intentions clear. I want to get Yamaha back to winning ways and the people at Yamaha are motivated to develop the bike for that. Now we can fully focus on the task of getting everything together.

By the way: The roller coaster in Austin has always been a good place for Quartararo: in 2015, as a 15-year-old boy, he raced to second place. In his world championship year in 2021, he also finished second in the MotoGP class at COTA.