Thrust into the limelight as a title favourite in only his second season competing in MotoGP, it was most certain a season of two halves for Fabio Quartararo

Barely known coming into the 2019 MotoGP World Championship season following a surprise promotion to the premier class, by the end of the year Fabio Quartararo’s name was on everyone’s lips in the same breath and ‘future world champion’.

Even then few anticipated the Petronas SRT Yamaha rider would get a fairly direct shot at it in 2020 and for the vast majority of the season it looked on course to become the first Frenchman to win a premier class motorcycle world championship.

Already tipped to push Marquez on in a continuation of the eye-catching tussles he enjoyed with the Spaniard in his rookie campaign, we were ultimately robbed of getting to watch them fight it out again this year following the Honda man’s injury. 

In his absence, Quartararo did a stellar job of assuming the mantle with two well constructed wins on the bounce in Jerez giving him a healthy headstart against talented - and significantly more experienced - rivals.

Indeed, it’s easy to forget Quartararo’s relative youth given the lofty nature of his burgeoning title credentials, which is why some will say he flopped overall when his form collapsed with series of crashes, which came in conjunction with the Yamaha M1 unfurling race day durability issues.

Four pole positions and a third win of the season in Catalunya meant Quartararo and team-mate Franco Morbidelli won more races than anyone else in 2020 and ensured he stayed out front until round ten. However, the three wins would prove his only three podiums too and when he ceded the lead to Joan Mir for the first time, Quartararo’s form plunged thereafter, leaving him eighth in the overall standings.

With some harsh lessons to be learned from the ‘difficult second album’ equivalent of a season, the key will be now for Quartararo to put what he has learned to the action because in terms of raw performance, he has the pace to go with the best already.