Quartararo’s rise to MotoGP was “brutal”

Check out Quartararo’s 2021 results – five wins and five more podiums scoring points in every single race – and his title win looks like a fair ending to a fantastic campaign for the Yamaha rider.

But take a step back and watch Quartararo’s journey to the 2021 world title, which further underscores how incredible the 22-year-old’s rise to the top in MotoGP was.

When he was a two-time CEV Moto3 Junior World Champion in 2015, he came to Grand Prix racing and was dubbed “the next Marc Marquez” – but the pressure ruined his early career in his first three years in Moto3 and Moto2.

When he finally won his first Moto2 Grand Prix in Barcelona in 2018, it set him on the path to making his MotoGP debut with the new Yamaha team, Petronas Sepang Racing – a move that many found unjustified given his results.

Tired and with a battered voice from a night of celebration after winning the title in Misano, Quartararo phoned Oriol Puigdemont to discuss his coronation.

“It’s absolutely crazy,” said Quartararo, referring to the congratulatory message he received from French President Emmanuel Macron on Twitter on Sunday evening.

“Especially when we consider that 2018 was very low. The development was brutal. All of this will give me a big boost for the future.

“At the moment I still can’t believe what happened, I could never have imagined that when I was just 22 I could achieve it so quickly.

“And the good thing is that I have many years ahead of me to keep fighting to make even more dreams come true.”

World champion Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing celebrates

Photo by: MotoGP

Quartararo – who says his first thought was directed to his father when he crossed the checkered flag as MotoGP world champion in 2021, and remarked: “We covered 50,000 or 60,000 kilometers a year to train and race” – Has shown immense growth in 2021, work with a sports psychologist to keep him calm in difficult moments.

This is a legacy of how his 2020 title challenge was spectacularly thrown off track in the last six races of last season as he moved up from championship leader to eighth place.

“I was happy even in the most difficult times,” he added. “That’s the most important thing in life. In those moments I did the job I always dreamed of, even though I didn’t get the results I wanted. I often think of people who have a really tough job or have it every day. ” to do something they don’t like. For us that is incomparable. Even if the results weren’t good, I was happy in life.

“This year’s Yamaha isn’t much better than last year’s, but we found a feeling that allows me to go much faster,” he continued.

“What we improved the most is the front end, but in the end, Yamaha always had the most balanced chassis. I would say that not only did we improve the bike for 2020, but we also restored something that we lost along the way . ” . Personally, I improve every time I hit the track and the feeling I found thanks to the front has allowed me to take a big step forward. “

And would that personal growth have enabled him to be champion last year too, if you think about it?

“I couldn’t have won the title, but I’m sure we wouldn’t have finished eighth overall,” said Quartararo. “I think in 2020 my logical position would have been third, but I did pretty badly. It taught me a lot to be able to win this year.”

Fabio Quartararo, Petronas Yamaha SRT crash

Fabio Quartararo, Petronas Yamaha SRT crash

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Yamaha has had a great year on two wheels in all major championships, with Quartararo’s MotoGP title – the first since 2015 with Jorge Lorenzo – alongside championship wins in MotoAmerica and British Superbikes, while Toprak Razgatlioglu will become World Superbike champion for the brand this season .

But in MotoGP it was an incredibly tough year for Yamaha. The breakdown of the relationship with Maverick Vinales and his subsequent dismissal after a deliberate attempt by the Spaniard to damage his M1 at the Styrian GP threw Quartararo’s title fight unwelcome overshadowed.

“It was not an easy year for Yamaha, but when you go through difficult times you enjoy most when success comes afterwards,” says Quartararo, showing great maturity for a rider who is only 22 years old and only three years in MotoGP is old.

“To see all the engineers and the project manager celebrate the title in Misano on Sunday was a great contrast to the first race of the year in Qatar, where everything was very cold. You can see that the stress and pressure have been removed. To forget all the difficult times that Yamaha went through. “

While the Yamaha 2021 was a remarkable step up from its predecessor, it still lacked top speed. This is the area Quartararo wants to improve for next year and doesn’t worry about the new M1 being over-tampered with as its first contact with the 2022 chassis went “very well”.

Quartararo’s celebrations last Sunday after winning the championship were remarkable for the warm welcome he received from every corner of the paddock.

Title rival Francesco Bagnaia – whose fall in the lead at Misano brought Quartararo the championship late – greeted him first in the pit lane, while race winner Marc Marquez kept repeating after the race that this was not Honda drivers’ day.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team with World Champion Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team with World Champion Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Marquez naturally marked Quartararo as a title contender after beating the then rookie to victory at Misano in 2019. As the Honda rider gets closer and closer to the fitness he needs to fight for the championship again, it is a challenge for Quartararo to be relish.

“A lot,” concluded Quartararo when asked if he would like to face Marquez next year to defend his title. “Marc is in good shape, he has won the last two races and I’m looking forward to fighting with him.

“Marc is an example that I’ve followed for many years. I like him a lot as a driver and as a person and the fights that we had in 2019, even though he almost always won them, I remember the moments in what I do most could learn and enjoy. I was able to say that I am racing against an eight-time world champion. “

World champion Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

World champion Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Yamaha