Aprilia accuses Quartararo of cash grab following transfer snub: “If a rider wants to win…

Aprilia accuses Quartararo of cash grab following transfer snub: “If a rider wants to win…

Massimo Rivola, the manager of Aprilia, claims that Fabio Quartararo rejected Aprilia in favor of a lucrative contract with Yamaha because he values his financial stability more than his prospects of winning a championship.

MotoGP 2024: Fabio Quartararo re-signs with Yamaha after Aprilia rumours,  silly season, rider market, manufacturer concessions, contract whispers,  Massimo Rivola, Honda, Lin Jarvis

By signing a new two-year contract to remain with the struggling Yamaha squad till the end of 2026, Quartararo shocked the MotoGP circuit.

Since Francesco Bagnaia defeated him to win the 2022 championship, the 2021 MotoGP champion has been harshly critical of the Iwata factory’s deteriorating performance.

Since then, Ducati has solidified the Desmosedici’s position as the top bike in the premier class, with the M1 falling farther behind.

Last year, Quartararo had the worst MotoGP season of his career, finishing 10th in the riders’ standings with just three podiums.

After the Frenchman repeatedly hinted that he may leave the club when his current contract expired, Aprilia seized the opportunity and began talks that, according to Autosport, culminated in a deal worth €4 million ($6.55 million).

But Yamaha successfully countered with a bid of €12 million (A$19.65 million), upping the ante significantly.

Speaking to Autosport, Rivola said Quartararo was prioritizing money above hardware and that he was hesitant to jeopardize his team’s development budget by engaging in a costly arms race for riders.

“The performance of the bike has a direct bearing on the economic limit that we have in terms of rider salaries,” he stated. I’m not sure if money should be the deciding factor in a rider’s decision to win.

“I believe it’s more crucial that he asks himself what he wants to accomplish before that. “Do I want a project that will help me win, or do I want to make money?” And you may, in my opinion, fight to win thanks to the Aprilia initiative.

And I’ll add this: if he prevails, money won’t be an issue. However, the commitment needs to be shared.


There’s no doubt that Yamaha needs Quartararo more than he needs the team.

Losing a proven championship winner at a delicate moment of the team’s recovery would be a savage blow to morale, and it’s unlikely Yamaha would be able to net a rider of a similar calibre for 2025.

It’s therefore no wonder it came up with a big-bucks deal to retain him — and, per reports, make him the highest paid MotoGP rider on the grid.

But it’s unfair to say his decision was motivated only by money.

Quartararo wasn’t flush with guaranteed winning options, even if every alternative would’ve been a step up from his current level of competitiveness.

Aprilia was the frontrunner for his services, but while Noale has won races in the last two seasons — and Maverick Viñales claimed sprint victory in Portugal last time out — the team has struggled to take the final step to join Ducati as even a podium regular.

It has potential, but it’s no guarantee.

Neither KTM nor Ducati were connected with any real seriousness to a Quartararo move, and it’s easy to see why.

KTM has Brad Miller on a long-term deal and generational talent Pedro Acosta earmarked for the second bike from next season.

Ducati has tied down Francesco Bagnaia and already has three options — incumbent Enea Bastianini, Jorge Martin and Marc Márquez — for his teammate for 2025.

Submitting to a satellite team could theoretically have got Quartararo onto a competitive Ducati, but it would have come at the expense of his factory standing without guaranteeing a path back to the top.

Unlike Márquez, who made the decision to ditch the factory Honda team for the satellite Gresini squad this year, Quartararo doesn’t have six titles and a decade of MotoGP earnings and status to fall back on if such a plan were to fail.

If he can’t win titles in the medium term elsewhere, he may as well stick with Yamaha and focus on building it back to competitive health — and meanwhile cash in.


There’s reason to believe in Yamaha too, even if at times Quartararo’s own comments have painted a bleak picture of its potential.

There was a hint of it in his brief statement confirming his new deal.

“Last winter Yamaha proved to me that they have a new approach and a new aggressive mindset,” he said. “My confidence is high we will be back at the front together.

“We still have a long way ahead of us to start fighting for victory again.

“I will work hard, and I am sure that together we will achieve our dream once more.”

Managing director Lin Jarvis painted a clearer picture of the changes the team has made to sell itself as a viable option for its world champion.

“We are the first to admit that there is much work to do to get back to the competitive level we were at in 2021 and the first half of 2022,” he said.

“We have already made significant changes to our organisation, including a new internal management system, recruitment of top expertise within the industry, new external technical partnerships, increased development budget, and an intensified testing program.

“All these changes are designed to speed up the process for us to return to winning ways.

“Fabio has understood this commitment, and this has given him the confidence to make his decision to stay with us for the coming years.”

Underlying the seriousness of the commitment has been Yamaha’s willingness to hire external expertise, breaking with tradition among the Japanese marques of trying to foster engineering excellence from within.

Much has been made of the team poaching of Max Bartolini from Ducati in January as European project leader.

However, this was just the latest of a long line of moves attempting to diversify the team’s knowledge base.

The process started in 2022 when Yamaha contracted Marmotors, the engine company founded by former F1 engineer Luca Marmorini, to develop its 2024 motor.

That was followed by the team turning to renowned Italian design company Dallara to help it with aerodynamics last year.

It’s since focused on picking off key staff from rival teams, including Marco Nicotra from Ducati last October as head of aero, followed by Bartolini this year.

Quartararo has been full of praise for Bartolini in particular for the way he’s been willing to make significant changes rather than working incrementally.

According to The Race, he stated during testing, “He still needs time to understand the bike, but already I really love the way he is working.” “I think we are working in a good way, which is why I’m really motivated.”

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