Asked to name the main contenders for the 2021 MotoGP title, Fabio Quartararo replied, “Everybody!”
But Monster Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales picked out just one name; new factory Ducati recruit Jack Miller, who took four podiums last season for Pramac, including runner-up in the last two races.
“I think Miller,” Vinales said. “I think Miller can be one of the guys because he was doing really well last season and understands well the strong points of the Ducati.
“But I think all four Yamahas can be on the top, so we will try to bring Yamaha in the first places.
“Normally we start strong but don’t keep that level. Our competitors improve. We will try this year to give the maximum every race, a few tracks we are unbeatable but then others we can’t finish in the top five. We will try to make more consistency.”
Meanwhile, Quartararo pointed to FP3 at Brno last season, when the top ten was covered by 0.257s and included all six manufacturers, to explain why he believes half the grid have a ‘big chance’.
“Miguel at the end of the year was really strong. Jack, Franco, Maverick, Mir, Rins there are so many people,” Quartararo said.
“I remember last year in Brno I think the six manufacturers were all in the top ten and covered by 0.3s. If you make a small step in the pace you can fight for the championship, if you are consistent.
“So at the moment it’s so difficult to know who is the contender, of course many. It looks like everybody has a big chance, also Pecco can be a really big contender because in many races he was really fast.
“It’s so difficult to know which one to choose. I can tell you easily 10-12 contenders.”
Quartararo has been promoted to the Factory Yamaha team this season alongside Vinales and in place of Valentino Rossi, who swaps places with the Frenchman by joining Petronas.
Vinales believes the rider change also provides the chance for the Factory Yamaha team to have a more united feel in 2021.
“For us it is very important the unity, the team. For the last three years the team has been a bit like, everyone was going alone. We were not all as one,” Vinales said.
“I think with Esteban [Garcia], Lin [Jarvis] and Maio [Meregalli], we are trying to take the 20 or 24 guys inside the team to be as one team.
“In previous years, [there was] Valentino’s team and my team. Now Yamaha have the opportunity to make one complete team. To go forward in the same direction.”