Fabio Quartararo may already have a 2021 Factory Yamaha contract in his pocket, but the young Frenchman is pledging to 'give everything' during his final season at the Petronas team.

A satellite M1 rider is yet to win a race in MotoGP, let alone challenge for the title. But Quartararo - upgraded to factory-spec machinery this season - is ruling nothing out.

"Why is this year not our first chance to have the title? We have a factory bike, a really good team, so we need to be focused," Quartararo told the official MotoGP website.

"Maybe I'm not fully ready to fight for the championship but of course I will give everything. I'm not here to play cards, I'm here to make really good races. Maybe we can fight for a really good position in the races and in the championship.

"I don’t see this year as a transition year to 2021, I just want to perform in 2020. We were 100% ready to start the season."

Quartararo told SkySport.it: "The Qatar tests were the best I'd felt on the Yamaha M1, even with an engine that was not 100% new.

"So I thought at the start of the World Championship, with a brand new engine sealed at zero kilometres, I could be a star. My pace was incredible and I could fight for the podium in Qatar."

Pressed on the circuits that should offer the best chance of a breakthrough first MotoGP victory this season, Quartararo replied: "I imagine that Qatar could have been the right place but also Jerez, Le Mans, Barcelona and Assen... Calendar permitting."

Indeed, like all world championship motorsports, MotoGP has been put on hold by the coronavirus.

With Qatar cancelled then Buriram, COTA and Termas de Rio Hondo postponed, Jerez should be the new opening round on May 3. However, it seems only a matter of time until MotoGP joins F1 in delaying until at least June, while the chances of running all 19 remaining rounds receding by the day.

"For me, the important thing is to do as many races as possible to make the championship valid, it is okay even if we have to do 15 races in a row," Quartararo said.

Among those to benefit from the unexpected delay are reigning champion Marc Marquez, nursing a healing shoulder during pre-season testing, and Honda, which had handling issues to fix with the latest RC213V.

"Of course, Marc was not 100% fit, but for sure if we had the race in Qatar he would have been at the front," Quartararo told MotoGP.com.

"But it looks like Honda were struggling a little bit in the Qatar test so it's a benefit for them [to delay the season] but I hope that our team and manufacturer will also find a little bit more in the time before the first race."

Seven podiums during a stunning rookie season - in which he twice battled Marquez for victory on the final lap - saw Yamaha sign Quartararo to its official team at the expense of Valentino Rossi, the factory's most successful MotoGP rider.

Quartararo hopes the nine-time world champion will race on next season as a satellite rider at Petronas, perhaps alongside his current team-mate Franco Morbidelli.

"It was a dream for me to be in MotoGP with [Rossi] and to be able to see a lap of his telemetry… I hope he stays in MotoGP," Quartararo said.

"I think Franco should stay in Yamaha [next year] because he did a great job, both last year and in the tests. With regards to the second rider, you have to understand if [the team] wants to take a young rider or someone with such great experience as Valentino Rossi."

But Rossi isn’t the only Yamaha legend that Quartararo is now sharing data with. Triple MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo has returned to the factory as a test rider and plans to race as a wild-card at Catalunya in June.

"I have a good relationship and I joke a lot with Jorge," Quartararo said. "I would like to see him on the track several times as a wild-card, not only in Barcelona… However I would be surprised if he came back for a full season."

 

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