The 2020 Spanish MotoGP may have only been his 20th career MotoGP race but victory for Fabio Quartararo remarkably still feels like a long time coming as he finally broke his – and Petronas SRT Yamahas - duck in an unexpectedly unspectacular way.

Indeed, it’s particularly fitting that Quartararo’s maiden success has come in Jerez, the venue where he stunned the paddock in May 2019 to claim his first pole position. At the time the performance was a shock, but six pole positions and seven podiums later and Quartararo came into 2020 as a title contender.

Even so, he still had to get that first win under his belt and having come remarkably close at Misano and in Thailand last year, there would be no repeat of the last lap battles as he assumed the lead early on and simply stretched away from the competition.

Winning by more than four seconds, Quartararo’s celebrations on the bike were so animated across the line that he managed to set off his own airbag.

“It was a really tough race because first of all I didn’t do a good start and I was fifth behind Pecco and Jack, we know that behind the Ducatis it is so tough to do our corner speed, especially in the last sectors, but I overtook them both at the last corner and then I saw Marc’s mistake. It was difficult to catch Maverick, who did a small mistake at Turn 6 and then I make my own pace.

“It feels amazing but strange to realise it, because there are no fans around the track, but as soon as I get down with the mechanics it will be exactly the same. We need to enjoy it today because it is not every day you have your first MotoGP victory.”

While his efforts were helped along by Marc Marquez’s early mistake (and late catastrophic crash), Quartararo admits the lead he had with 10 laps remaining brought on a different pressure to contend with.

“Last year I was fighting with Marc until the last laps (in Misano and Thailand), but here finally it was totally different because I made a gap, so while it was easier to stay focused on the last lap because I was safer, but the last ten laps were the longest ten laps of my life to be focused in these conditions with the grip really low, so I am happy about the result.

The result marks several landmarks for rider, team and the sport in general. He becomes the first French rider to win a 500GP/MotoGP race since Regis Laconi in Valencia in 1999, while this maiden success for Petronas SRT means it becomes the first non-factory Yamaha winner of the four-stroke era, surpassing anything erstwhile customer effort Tech 3 managed in the preceding years.

The achievement certainly wasn’t lost on the other French rider in the MotoGP field, with Johann Zarco crashing the press conference to celebrate with the youngster on camera – much to the slight bemusement of everyone around him…

 

Comments

Loading Comments...