Fabio Quartararo feels his stunning rookie MotoGP campaign is a resounding answer to those who criticised his Petronas Yamaha move last winter.

The French rider has secured the MotoGP Independent riders’ title along with his top rookie honour in 2019 thanks to his seventh podium of the season with second place at the Valencia Grand Prix.

Quartararo, who led the opening eight laps at Circuit Ricardo Tormo before Marc Marquez charged ahead, also moved up to fifth place in the overall riders’ standings and feels his records this year justifies Petronas Yamaha’s faith in him as an unfancied youngster.

“In 2018 a lot of people told me I didn’t deserve the seat in MotoGP and that I was not ready or it was too early,” Quartararo said. “This year I think I proved that I was ready with seven podiums and six pole positions.

“We are really happy because first of all we go the team and the rider Independent title so I am so happy about this year and I think all the team can be proud about what we did.”

Despite taking pole position and topping the opening three practice sessions in Valencia, Quartararo felt he never had the race pace to match Marquez but the runner-up spot acted as the ideal result to end his rookie campaign in the premier class.

“We knew that Marc’s pace was much better than ours,” he said. “In my mind was the podium and I was not thinking about the victory.

“We made the perfect start and I had a small touch with Jack at Turn 2 but I was enjoying a lot the last 10 laps, I was pushing a lot as he was coming and it was not easy to keep focused but we finished the season in the best way as possible.”

Given the standout second half of his maiden MotoGP season, taking five podiums from last 10 races in 2019, many have tipped the 20-year-old for a potential world title tilt but it remains something he’s playing down until he can be a consistent podium fighter.

“First of all we need to keep calm as Marc will be heading into his eighth season in MotoGP and it will be our second so I think we are still not ready to challenge him at all of the races,” he said.

“For sure in places like Buriram and Misano where we can but the main goal for next year is not set yet.

“I told myself it would be great to fight for the podiums often. If we know we can fight for podiums then we know it will be a really great result by the end of the championship.”

 

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