Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Alexandra Campos
Yamaha is known in MotoGP as one of the best manufacturers, achieving 16 Riders World Championships with the likes of Giacomo Agostini, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Fabio Quarteraro, Eddie Lawson, and Wayne Rainey.
However, come Sunday on a race weekend, if you look up and down the grid, you’ll often find Fabio Quartararo near the front, and his teammate, Franco Morbidelli, down in around 15th. And it doesn’t ever get better for the customer team, WithU Yamaha, who have a legendary rider Andrea Dovizioso - stuck down in about 18th every weekend.
Yamaha have got a major problem on their hands, with rumours of Quartararo being unhappy within the team, and with Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales now gone. Yamaha doesn’t have many other options for great new riders. Yamaha must sort their troubles out, and fast.
Ever since 2017, the Yamaha’s have always seemed to struggle with tyre wear, at least from 2017 to 2020, as Valentino Rossi consistently told the team that this was a focal point to sort out.
Maverick Vinales clearly let the pressure boil over in 2021, as he destroyed his bike by purposely damaging the engine.
Fabio Quartararo on the other hand, is currently leading the 2022 World Championship, and won the 2021 World Championship as well. Clearly, Fabio is Yamaha’s hero.
However, all it takes is one look down the grid to understand that Yamaha are just far too inconsistent, as one of their riders finishes in the top 5, where the rest of them fight for scraps of points.
There is also a philosophy within Yamaha that they like to put their energy behind a younger rider a lot of the time.
For example: when Rossi had been in the sport for nearly a decade, Yamaha appeared to begin backing Lorenzo for championships, and Rossi and Lorenzo’s cold relationship definitely didn’t help the inter-team politics of things.
However, with Rossi leaving to join Ducati, and then returning in 2013, him and Lorenzo would have a better relationship.
But with Lorenzo leaving to join Ducati in 2017, the team snatched up Maverick Vinales, a quick rider who had won the Moto3 championship in 2013, and who had been excessively fast on the Suzuki.
Vinales was never quite on Lorenzo’s level of dominance with the bikes however, often finding himself equally matched against an ageing Valentino Rossi.
With Morbidelli currently struggling to adapt to the bike, it means that Quartararo is out in the field, completely alone, trying to defend his MotoGP championship.
So, it appears that for whatever reason, Yamaha puts one rider before all the others, but this reflects poorly on the constructors championship, and on the team as a whole.
Yamaha must find a way to fix their issues, both about their bike, and also about their ideologies of team dynamics, if they want to maintain their position in the Rider’s Championship.
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Finally - be sure to check out the first episode of the Divebomb Power Rankings Podcast: