Quartararo: your 2019 Rookie of the Year

Frenchman claimed his sixth rostrum of the season in Japan to confirm him as the number one MotoGP™ rookie with three races to go

The not-so-rookie, rookie. It’s been a dream debut year in MotoGP™ for flying Frenchman Fabio Quartararo on board his Petronas Yamaha SRT machine and at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, the 20-year-old bagged 2019 Rookie of the Year with three races remaining.

It was yet another classy performance from Quartararo, who finished second to Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) for the third time in four races. Despite the maiden win wait having to continue a little longer, Quartararo and his Petronas Yamaha SRT celebrated an astonishing season as the M1 rider propelled himself out of reach from Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir.

“Yeah we had a meeting at the Malaysia test and we set the target of both riders, and they said: ‘Your target is to be rookie (of the year) this year,’” said Quartararo, speaking about his achievement. “I was like ‘wow, this will be really tough’ because they are really big riders – Miguel, Pecco, Mir – so, ok, a big goal for me.

“Being rookie (of the year) with three races to go feels amazing. We will need to set new goals, honestly what we did this year is fantastic but now it’s just pure fun. We have nothing to do, we just want to enjoy and make some good results.”  

It’s safe to say Quartararo has had fun in 2019. Six podiums, four pole positions and 10 front row starts is something not even Quartararo’s biggest admirers could have predicted. Now, the number 20 has third in the Championship well within his sights – and top Yamaha. ‘El Diablo’ leapfrogged Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) this weekend and with a tally of 163, Alex Rins’ (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Maverick Viñales’ (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) 176 points are being hunted.

A relaxed Quartararo is sure to be a fast Quartararo when the paddock heads to Phillip Island in less than a week. A Yamaha with Viñales at the controls won in Australia last season, can it be Quartararo in 2019?

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