When Fabio Quartararo put his Petronas Yamaha fastest during opening practice for the German MotoGP, it was the 13th time this season that the rookie has topped a MotoGP session.

And the Frenchman's recent strike-rate is even more impressive when you consider that he didn't lead a timesheet until round four, in Jerez.

The 20-year-old's spectacular form has taken him to three pole positions, back-to-back podiums, plus the race lead last Sunday at Assen.

So what does reigning champion Marc Marquez think of it all?

"I think it's a great surprise for MotoGP, maybe not so great for his rivals!" Marquez said.

"It's also a surprise because he started out not - for example, when I entered MotoGP, I was there [up front] at the beginning. Maybe he struggled more in the pre-season, but then every time, every race, he is getting better and better and better.

"Now it looks like in different layouts, different tracks, he is able to be fast. And today if you look at the pace me, Quartararo and Vinales are very close.

"So it looks like Quartararo is riding the Yamaha in a good way and is showing the real potential of the bike."

Nonetheless, it was factory star Maverick Vinales who finally claimed Yamaha's first win of the season, at Assen, when Quartararo crossed the line in third.

However the Frenchman is now up to sixth in the world championship, just one place and five points behind the top Yamaha of Valentino Rossi.

While Quartararo's early grand prix career failed to live up to the label of 'the next Marc Marquez', the #93 feels he's handling the pressure incredibly well in MotoGP.

But Marquez also warned the real pressure arrives after your rookie season, when you are expected to win races.

"I think more than this pressure [of being called the next Marc Marquez] is the pressure to be now actually the only French rider in front," Marquez said. "So Spanish riders have a small advantage in that, where the pressure of the country is not only on one rider.

"I know Fabio, and he knows that Fabio is Fabio, Marc is Marc, Dani was Dani, Jorge is Jorge, Valentino is Valentino and everybody is different. But yeah, it looks like since he arrived in MotoGP he has grown, but he is also managing the pressure well.

"But it's also true that in your first year in MotoGP, like me in 2013, you don't have a real pressure, because all the results are good. If you finish on the podium, it is an incredible result. If you finish in the top five, it's a very good result.

"The pressure arrives when you need to win and when everybody is pushing for you to win."

20-year-old Quartararo is riding a lower-spec M1 with less rpm, older suspension and older aerodynamics compared to the machines of team-mate Franco Morbidelli, plus official riders Vinales and Valentino Rossi.

But, perhaps partly influenced by Quartararo's form, the 'factory' trio often revert to the older aerodynamics while Vinales was also seen trying the #20's front suspension (standard metal fork tubes) at Assen, alongside the latest carbon-fibre version from Ohlins.

Quartararo eventually finished third fastest and was again top Yamaha on Friday at the Sachsenring, behind only Marquez and Alex Rins. Vinales was fourth, Rossi tenth and Morbidelli twelfth.

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