In a presentation in Malaysia on Monday, 2021 champion Fabio Quartararo and new Yamaha recruit Alex Rins provided a first glimpse of the paint scheme they will carry on their respective bikes this year.

The blue-and-black color scheme is a carry-forward of the design that was first introduced on the M1 in 2019, when Monster Energy took over the title sponsorship of Yamaha Factory Racing from Movistar.

2024 marks a crucial year for the Japanese manufacturer, which will be hoping to arrest a decline in performance that saw it record its first winless campaign in MotoGP in 20 years.

So poor were Yamaha’s performances last season that it scored just three grand prix podium finishes with Quartararo at the wheel, while Franco Morbidelli could finish no higher than fourth in a full-distance race in his final season with the team.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

Yamaha has been working on its 2024 prototype for several months, but the reception from the riders in the first two tests at Misano and Valencia last year was lukewarm at best.

Quartararo felt that Yamaha has only been able to deliver a small performance boost with the engine, which has emerged as the weak line in the M1 in the last few years, particularly against benchmark Ducati.

Although I have praised the improved aerodynamics of the M1, the overall assessment of the bike was still weak, with the French rider conceding that Yamaha is still a long way off catching up to its rivals.

Yamaha is one of the two manufacturers that has been given increased development and testing freedom as part of MotoGP’s new concessions system, along with Honda. This, in theory, should help the brand to bridge the gap to its European rivals Ducati, Aprilia and KTM.

There is pressure on Yamaha to deliver as Quartararo enters the final year of his two-year contract, with the 24-year-old having admitted that it has a “really short time” to convince him to sign a new deal for 2025 and beyond . The rider market opens up at the end of the upcoming season, leaving Yamaha at the risk of losing one of its most prized assets.

For its part, Yamaha has been trying to bring a more European mentality to the team, even hiring ex-Formula 1 engine chief Luca Marmorini to help develop the M1’s engine.

It has also replaced the underperforming Morbidelli with Rins, who recorded Honda’s only win of 2023 at Austin on a satellite LCR bike.

Yamaha will once again be the only manufacturer on the grid to not have a satellite outfit, following RNF’s decision to defect to Aprilia at the end of the 2022 season. RNF has since been ejected from the grid by Dorna Sport due to “repeated infractions and breaches”, with its grid slots and operations taken over by Trackhouse Racing in 2024.

The Yamaha M1 will be in action at the official pre-season test at Sepang this week from 6-8 February, before Quartararo and Rins get some more mileage at Losail later this month.

The Qatar venue will then open up the 2024 season on March 10.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing, Alex Rins, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing, Alex Rins, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

Alex Rins, Yamaha Factory Racing

Alex Rins, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP



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