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9 days ago
By motogp.com

#2020: is Quartararo a title contender?

2019 Rookie of the Year has taken the premier class by storm. Is a 2020 title attack inbound?

Six poles, seven podiums. Who would have imagined just one year ago that Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) would go on to achieve such results in his maiden campaign in MotoGP™? The answer: not many.

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Quartararo: “Rossi’s still my idol, but a rival now”

Qualifying P5 under the lights in Qatar was a warning sign that a flying Frenchman was going to be a menace to the top guys in 2019. But Quartararo was more than just a menace. Despite arm pump surgery and a reoccurring shoulder injury in the first half of the season, the 20-year-old was a revelation. That illustrious first win may not yet be ticked off as we head to Valencia, but it’s coming.

2019 Rookie of the Year was notched up in Motegi with three races to spare, and in Valencia it looks almost certain that he’ll take Best Independent Team rider of the season. Beating the likes of MotoGP™ race winners Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) is no mean feat, especially in your rookie season on a premier class thoroughbred.

The youngest ever premier class polesitter will now bound into the 2020 season as one of the favourites to take it to eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). Quartararo has already demonstrated he can shrug pressure off like it’s nothing, taking pole position in Sepang and the races in Misano and Buriram showed he isn’t scared of the number 93.

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The Force is with Fabio

A title contender in 2020? Absolutely. Marquez – and the rest – are fully aware of the threat Quartararo can face on a factory M1 machine that both he and teammate Franco Morbidelli will be armed with next season. And if Yamaha can extract a little extra horsepower from their engine, Quartararo and the Iwata factory will go into 2020 brimming with confidence.

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