There’s only a select few who get to say they are MotoGP™ World Champion. There are also very few people to say they’ve won a MotoGP™ title without claiming a Grand Prix title in the lower classes. But on Sunday afternoon at Misano, 22-year-old Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) is able to say he’s done both.
Quartararo has become the 17th rider to win a premier class crown without picking up a title trophy beforehand. Impressively, he’s the first European rider to do so since Franco Uncini in 1982. The previous rider to achieve this feat was Casey Stoner in 2011, and before that, the late, great Nicky Hayden in 2006.
Quartararo has done it the unconventional way. But boy has the Frenchman repaid Yamaha’s faith to put him on the 2019 Petronas Yamaha SRT bike alongside 2017 Moto2™ World Champion Franco Morbidelli – his current Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP teammate. That gamble has reaped huge rewards for the Iwata factory, who now have their first MotoGP™ title since Jorge Lorenzo’s 2015 triumph.
While ending a streak stretching back to 1982 for European riders, Quartararo also became one of the youngest MotoGP™ World Champions in history. At 22 years 187 days, El Diablo is the sixth youngest behind Marc Marquez (20 years 266 days), Freddie Spencer (21 years 258 days), Casey Stoner (21 years 342 days), Mike Hailwood (22 years 160 days) and John Surtees (22 years 182 days), and now younger than when Valentino Rossi (22 years 240 days), Joan Mir (23 years 75 days), Jorge Lorenzo (23 years 159 days) and Gary Hocking (23 years 316 days) claimed their first premier class crowns.
Quartararo has firmly etched himself alongside MotoGP™’s all-time greats. And at 22 years, the Frenchman is only just getting started.