MotoGP World

Fabio Quartararo, an incredible progression

The Frenchman was born in Nice in 1999. He left the family home very early to settle in Spain with his mentor, Juan Borja, a former motorcycle rider. At only fourteen years old and in his first year in the category, he won ahead of drivers, often much older and more experienced, which earned him the nickname "El Diablo." He competed in the world's greatest junior championship, the CEV, Spanish Speed Championship. He also won the following year; he is a two-time Spanish Champion. 

Complicated beginnings

The Qatar circuit always announces the start of a new season, and in 2015 it also marked his debut in Moto3. He did not do a fantastic race, but the double Spain champion changed things. Before he arrived in the Championship, the mandatory age to race was 16 years old. A year before and already crowned, he was denied a possible entry in Moto3. One year later, the same scenario was repeated, but this time HRC, the official sponsor of the CEV, asked for a regulation change and got it. This new rule states that the CEV champion can switch to Moto3 even if not of age. A derogation was therefore given to Fabio Quartararo, who celebrated his sixteenth birthday later in the year. But the talent and precocity of the Frenchmen marked a significant change in the category. After 2 years without much success, he entered Moto2, where he did not shine either, but in 2019 he signed his first contract in MotoGP with the private Yamaha Petronas team. It was a big sign of trust for this team because he did not yet have a significant track record. 

The trust of two men

The two bosses of the Yamaha satellite team gave him a chance, and never regretted it. He adapted very well to the machine during the off-season tests, and in Qatar, for the first Grand Prix, he qualified well for a rookie before stalling on the grid during the warm-up lap. He must start from the pits. During this incident, we see an irritated young Quartararo kicking the door leading back to the pits. His mentor Juan Borja explained the gesture to AFP "The only flaw I can find him was when he did not have the bike he wanted, he got very angry, maybe too much." The Frenchman later confirmed that this was one of his worse flaws, and during the season, we saw glimpses of that part of his personality. 

But in 2019, what we remember above all is that he impressed most. After the disappointment of Qatar, he qualified on pole at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona and became the youngest driver to do so. Before him, it was Marc Marquez's record. And he went further only a few days later; he again did the fastest lap in Assen, Netherlands, and became the youngest to make two poles in a row. He fought great battles on a few occasions, especially against the multiple championship winner Marc Marquez, who will say of him after a hard race, "if Fabio has the right bike the day he wins, he will be tough to beat." During this season, he finished seven times on the podium, did six poles, and scored one hundred and eighty-two points. He finished fifth in the Championship and got the title of Best Independent Driver and Best Rookie. 

Writing his name in history.

It is probably everyone's obsession in such an elite sport, but more than anything for the Frenchman, he wanted to be a World Champion. He did not get a taste of a title victory since the CEV in 2014. In 2020 he had one goal: to be crowned champion. He had to do one more thing before thinking of a title: win his first race in this category. But his plans were thwarted by Covid-19, the season started very late, in July on a circuit that Quartararo appreciates enormously, Jerez.

July 19, 2020, was the long-awaited consecration for him. The tears he shed on the podium after dominating a race where the heat was stifling were telling, and El Diablo started his season in the best way. Fabio Quartararo was very much ahead in the Championship after winning a second time the following week because the reigning champion was not there. He became the favorite as it was he who managed to fight against Marquez the previous year. He kept this place for a long time, but as Quartararo explained later, he put pressure on himself to win, which did not help. He made mistakes, and in the end, he took second place in the Championship, which was tainted by the pandemic.

The beginning of the official Yamaha adventure

Already with an affiliated team, in 2021, he moved to the Yamaha factory team, replacing Valentino Rossi. In multiple interviews with Canal+, he admitted that he worked a lot on his mindset during the winter break and felt better equipped to handle the pressure of sport. Since 2020, his outbursts of anger have become increasingly rare. He started the season with a fifth-place at the first GP in Qatar, but the following week on the same circuit, he finished on the top step of the podium, scoring his first victory of the season. A few weeks later, he started on pole in Portugal and escaped seconds ahead; again, he finished first. He had never managed to do much in the rain and scored a podium at the Le Mans Grand Prix in a complicated race. He built his season in the best way. With the absence of Marquez at the front, the Championship became very contested. He was regularly on the box, and if he didn't, he scored points in almost all races. 

When Championship stopped in Misano, Italy, he was fifty-two points clear of Francesco Bagnaia, and the latter was ahead at the start of the Grand Prix. Still, he fell with only five laps to go, offering the title to El Diablo, who became the first Frenchman to obtain a title in the premier class category since the creation of the Championship in 1946. 

In 2022, the season is one of the most contested in history, with different winners at almost every race, but Fabio Quartararo is ahead in the standings with 10 weekends to go.

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