MotoGP’s standout rookie Fabio Quartararo feels the next key stage of his progression in the premier class is “to have a big fight with people like Marquez and Rossi” as he reflects on his stunning start in 2019.

The Petronas Yamaha rider has stormed to three pole positions and two podiums in the opening nine races of his MotoGP career marking a rapid rise for the rookie.

The 20-year-old has naturally relished the start of his debut season and while he is keen to focus on developing his tyre management strategy Quartararo is also hungry to take on the biggest names in the sport.

“I still haven’t managed to have a big fight with people like Marquez and Rossi, and I’m really looking forward to that possibility in the coming races,” Quartararo said in an interview released by Petronas Yamaha.

“We need to be more patient during the races, and I also need to try harder to manage the tyres because it’s not something I’ve really done this year. I’m keen to have a race inside a big group and learn from that, because I haven’t had the chance to experience that so far.”

Quartararo had no hesitations on his early MotoGP highlight as he picked the Assen round where he secured pole position and led a handful of laps before taking third place.

“The best race for me so far has been Assen, because I fought with Marquez and Vinales for the podium,” he sad. “Unfortunately I had a lot of pain after my arm surgery and I had to manage that for half of the race - but despite that I was still able to make it onto the podium. That was pretty special.

“The first time I ever had a moment that really surprised me was when I found myself leading in Assen. Suddenly there was no one in front of me, and that was something special.”

Quartararo is currently eighth in the MotoGP riders’ standings, tied on points with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, but is comfortably clear of fellow rookie riders Joan Mir (13th), Miguel Oliveira (18th) and Francesco Bagnaia (21st).

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