Quartararo’s dilemma at the heart of MotoGP’s 2025 silly season

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Despite an early flurry of activity that saw some of the pieces for the 2025 MotoGP grid fall into place before the 2024 season even got underway, silly season activity has now calmed down again – and probably will until one of the sport’s biggest stars makes up his mind about what direction his own future lies in.

That’s because the next significant piece of the puzzle likely to shift involves 2021 world champion Fabio Quartararo, who currently faces a significant dilemma: remain with the factory Yamaha squad and hope that its beleaguered bike gets better soon, or make a jump to Aprilia for much less money and see whether he can make its RS-GP work for him.

Those two options, it seems, are the only likely career moves for the Frenchman at this point. Both Ducati and KTM have a full house going forward in their factory teams, while as bad as the Yamaha might be right now, it looks considerably better than the Repsol Honda which would be his only other option.

But with Aprilia’s bike looking better and better every season in the hands of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales, there could be hope for Quartararo should he be willing to take the biggest gamble of his MotoGP career to date.

As good as the Aprilia might be, after all, it would still very much mean a significant amount of work and an element of unpredictability as he sets out to relearn how to ride a V4 engined machine after an entire MotoGP career so far spent riding the inline four Yamaha.

It would also be far less financially lucrative, with any offer to come from Iwata to stay at Yamaha likely to be multiples of what Noale could afford to pay – something that, to be fair, is probably not a huge motivating factor for the already well-paid 24-year-old who simply wants to get back to winning ways.

However Yamaha’s financial resources are something that plays a bigger role than simply how much Quartararo has to lodge in his bank every month, as the series prepares to rewrite the rulebook for 2027, a move that will essentially result in the need to start from zero and build wholly new MotoGP machines.

That’s a step that’s going to benefit the teams with the most resources to throw at the project and, combined with a new European working group leading the M1’s development (a first for a Japanese factory), it means that Quartararo’s long-term potential at Yamaha could be greater than it is with Aprilia and its less well-funded racing programme.

However one thing is now clear according to The Race’s sources within the MotoGP paddock: the ball is very much in Quartararo’s hands in regards to which step he has to make and, it seems, until he does make such a decision we’re likely to see something of a stalling in the silly season.

Something of a delay is not necessarily a bad thing for either Yamaha or Aprilia, mind you.

For Yamaha it gives it more time to continue improving its current bike, a factor bolstered by a slew of new concessions that it’s so far making the most of by bringing new updates and scheduling new tests on a regular basis for Quartararo and team-mate Alex Rins.

And for Aprilia, it means that it has got time to figure out not just where Quartararo is at, but who has the potential to join him in factory colours next season.

Both of its current racers have had strong performances in the opening two races of the 2024 season, with Espargaro quick in Lusail and Vinales a sprint race winner in Portimao.

It’s also likely that Aprilia is in no rush as it awaits the outcome of MotoGP’s other big silly season move: who will occupy the second seat at Ducati’s factory team.

With 2023 title contender and current championship leader Jorge Martin pushing hard for Enea Bastianini’s current ride, the loser in that battle will also appear on Aprilia’s target list.

It means that, at least for now, we’re likely to see something of a ceasefire in the war for 2025 rides that should extend at least until the series returns to Europe in a month’s time.

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