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September 19, 1999 – 20 years since a French rider won a premier class Grand Prix race. Regis Laconi was the man to do it for Yamaha that day, and rookie phenomenon Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) came mightily close to winning his first MotoGP™ race on a Yamaha at the GP Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini.
After the Flag: The rookie and the Champion
That’s four podiums now for Quartararo in his rookie MotoGP™ season. P2 in Barcelona was followed up by third in Assen – both while riding injured – with his next podium coming at the Red Bull Ring. His P2 at Misano was undoubtedly his most impressive performance of the season, but how does the Frenchman compare to other riders who took the premier class by storm when they arrived on the scene?
In the MotoGP™ era, Jorge Lorenzo (6), Dani Pedrosa (8) and Marc Marquez (16) currently have a better record than Quartararo, with all three also tallying at least one win in their first season. Marquez, of course, won the World Championship.
Quartararo vs Marquez: Last lap duel OnBoard with telemetry
If we cast our minds back to the 500cc days, Valentino Rossi, Max Biaggi, Alex Criville, Nobuatsu Aoki, Teuvo Lansivuori, Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson, Giacomo Agostini, Arciso Artesiani and Steve Baker – just to name a few – also claimed at least four podiums in their rookie seasons.
But the season is far from over. Six races remain and after Misano, Quartararo’s belief that he can beat the likes of Marquez has now risen. That illustrious first win is surely just around the corner.
FREE: The last lap of a sensational Misano MotoGP™ Race