Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo continued his recent love affair with the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya at the 2020 Catalan GP. The Frenchman notched up his third win of the season and in doing so, reclaimed the Championship lead ahead of his home Grand Prix in Le Mans.
Quartararo claimed his first Grand Prix victory in Barcelona, a Moto2™ race that was dominated by El Diablo as he went on to beat now-MotoGP™ rival Miguel Oliveira by over two seconds. That victory was the catalyst for his 2019 Petronas Yamaha SRT call up, a win that made the Grand Prix motorcycling world stop and take notice of a teenager that had drifted away from the limelight somewhat. Coming into the Moto3™ World Championship in 2015 as a double FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Champion, Quartararo was the next big thing, but things didn’t quite fall into place for the number 20 – until the 2018 Catalan GP.
We shouldn’t have been surprised that it was Barcelona that enabled Quartararo to cast himself back into the thoughts of MotoGP™ teams. He was a double race winner at the venue in the 2014 Moto3™ Junior World Championship, 2.8 and 4.3 were his win margins in the two races – domination in Moto3™ terms.
A year later on the outskirts of the Catalan capital, after taking to MotoGP™ like a duck to water in 2019, Quartararo bagged his first premier class podium. Six more rostrums would follow the Catalan GP podium last season, before Quartararo finally pocketed his first MotoGP™ wins in Jerez to announce himself as a lead title contender this year. Everyone thought the Yamaha star would continue to fight for victories every week and make life incredibly difficult for other title hopefuls, but MotoGP™ isn’t that simple. The following five GPs didn’t exactly go to plan, however, the recent demons were banished on Sunday afternoon in Barcelona.
Victory number three of the season and a third podium on the bounce in Barcelona couldn’t have come at a better time. Quartararo described his latest Catalonia triumph as “the best moment of his life.” That’s an indication of just how difficult the 2020 season has been since the Jerez double-header for the reigning Rookie of the Year. The raw emotion shown by Quartararo in parc ferme and on the podium on Sunday in Barcelona is proof how badly the win was needed, not just in terms of the Championship, but for himself. Mentality is vital in racing and sport in general, and Quartararo’s is back to where it was at the beginning of the campaign heading to home soil.
The future factory Yamaha rider now sits eight points clear of second place Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) ahead of the final six races of the season. The 21-year-old is back in business, but 2020 will have more twists and turns up its sleeve between now and Portimao.
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