He is not yet the new king of the circuit. But he is already posing as a very strong contender for the crown. The French biker Fabio Quartararo won, Sunday July 26, the Grand Prix of Andalusia, in Jerez, in MotoGP, the premier category of speed bikes.
This is his second victory in a row, after that won on Sunday July 19 at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix (run on the same circuit in Jerez), which was the first of his young career and which also ended twenty and a year of scarcity for the French in the top category of speed bikes.
Never has a French rider won two Grand Prix in this MotoGP category: Georges Monneret, Christian Sarron and Régis Laconi had only one victory on the clock (respectively in 1954, 1985 and 1999).
The absence of Marc Marquez
On the strength of these two successes, the 21-year-old rider of the Yamaha Petronas SRT team consolidates his first place in the world championship (50 points). Far ahead of Spaniard Marc Marquez, the reigning “monarch”, six-time world champion. And for good reason: for the moment, the latter has not scored any points.
Having committed a fault twice last Sunday, the Honda team rider had gone for the first time in the gravel at the edge of the track, before falling on a second driving error, fracturing the right humerus.
Operated on Tuesday and declared fit to race on Friday, Marc Marquez did not take part in the free practice sessions on Friday, but in the Saturday morning session, before abstaining for qualifying on Saturday afternoon. Finally, he had to face the facts: given the condition of his arm, he could not run.
Front, end to end
Like the previous weekend, Fabio Quartararo started from pole position on Sunday, the 8th of his MotoGP career. The day before, he was again the fastest on the track in practice and qualifying, edging out Spaniard Maverick Viñales, who races in the official Yamaha team.
The French dominated the race (28 laps) from start to finish: he never gave up first place, quickly widening the gap on his competitors, before managing this lead. At the finish line, he beat Viñales and the Italian Valentino Rossi (Yamaha).
« Last week, I made some great starts in practice and it was catastrophic in the race. This week, I had a very bad start in practice, and a very good start in the race, rejoiced Fabio Quartararo on arrival at the microphone of Canal +. I knew I had to be careful from the first lap, but it’s hard to do 25 laps in the lead with this heat.r. It was the most extreme conditions I have experienced. My hands were on fire, my feet too, even my chest. “
With this start to the season with a bang, Fabio Quartararo confirms his status as the revelation of the 2019 season: he had finished five times behind Marc Marquez and he was almost the only one to compete with him. So much so that the Spaniard did not hide that the French would undoubtedly be one of his main rivals this year for the title.
“He’s fast, very consistent, and he’s a very good driver. He has every chance of winning Grands Prix in 2020 ”, predicted, this winter, Christian Sarron, the former French rider, twice third in the general classification of the MotoGP world championship (1985 and 1989).
Jacques Bolle, the president of the French Motorcycling Federation, saw even further, imagining it “World champion in 2020”.
The title ? “We’re going to go ahead and say yes”
Is such an outcome imaginable now given the domination of the Frenchman during the first two races, the injury of Marc Marquez, but also a rather special season since, started late due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will only include thirteen Grand Prix?
Before the second meeting in Jerez, Fabio Quartararo preferred to be careful. For him, Marc Marquez is always “A rival for the title”. “Of course, two white results, it’s difficult in this kind of championship because it will be rather short, but we know Marc’s potential. He will definitely come back to Brno [pour le Grand Prix de République tchèque, le 9 août] in good conditions. We have a good opportunity to fight for the title so we’ll do our best. “
With the two recitals offered in Spain, he has demonstrated that, if he wants “Go there little by little”, as he said before the race on Sunday, he does not intend to waste time on the way either. Moreover, after his second victory in Jerez, when asked if he was a candidate for the world title, he replied: “We’re going to go ahead and say yes. “ El Diablo (his nickname) could very quickly become El Maestro.