We take a look back at the key moments of a season which saw the 22-year-old Niçois become for the first time world champion in the premier category.
March 28: mature race in Qatar
For a title contender, starting the fifth season is not ideal, but Quartararo, hampered by his rear tire, derives some satisfaction from it. “I learned the lesson of last year”, welcomes the young man, who let go when he was upset. “On tough days, a fifth place is what we need.”
April 4: first victory in Doha
For the second race, still in Qatar, the Yamaha rider opens his victory counter. With Johann Zarco (Ducati-Pramac), they offered France its first double in the category and a memorable Marseille, between tears and laughter. “It was a great moment together, one of the greatest of my career,” says Quartararo.
April 18: revenge in Portugal
The Portuguese Grand Prix was a test for Fabio, who was struggling there in 2020, affected by his failure to win the title and a recalcitrant motorcycle. This time, he won with nearly 5 seconds in advance and obtained two proofs that he expected: his bike has “progressed” and he is “more solid mentally”. Having become the leader of the championship, the hunt for the crown is on.
May 2: physical glitch in Spain
“I had no more strength. My arm was made of stone ”. Handicapped by a muscle problem (compartment syndrome) in his right arm, the Frenchman signed his worst result of the season in Spain (13th). Operated, he returned two weeks later at home, at Le Mans, with pole position and a third place which enabled him to regain the lead in the championship. He won’t let go.
June 27: well-deserved vacation after Assen
At the time of the summer break, after nine races out of eighteen, Quartararo has four victories (the last on the Dutch circuit) and 34 points ahead in the drivers’ standings. “I am at a very good point in my career. I have a lot of confidence because every time I get on my bike, I feel better and better, ”he proclaims. We will have to come back in the same state of form and mind at the beginning of August for two GPs on a circuit which is not the most favorable to Yamaha: the Austrian Red Bull Ring.
August 29: a hand for the title at Silverstone
In Austria, “El Diablo” was classified “only” third and seventh, but the poor results of his main opponents allow him to total 47 points in advance overall. In Great Britain, then, he wins and increases his advantage to 65 lengths! “He took a good option on the title,” Zarco remarks. “Fabio drives better than all of us. I don’t feel like anyone can beat him in every race. But it would be necessary to beat him every time ”to steal the crown from him, develops the Spaniard Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia).
October 3: “the hardest week” in Texas
Lacking sleep due to jet lag, “with his stomach tied up” before the race by the pressure of the championship, Quartararo had his “hardest week” in Austin (Texas) for the GP of the Americas. He has therefore “never been so happy with a second place”, which gives him a first chance to win the next round, the sixteenth out of eighteen.
October 24: coronation in Emilia-Romagna
Funny scenario for a coronation! In difficulty on the wet track of the Italian circuit of Misano and reluctant to take risks because of his comfortable lead in the championship, Fabio qualified fifteenth, his worst starting position in MotoGP. His last rival, the Italian Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati), started on pole and widened the gap in the lead, while Quartararo recovered. Thunderclap five laps from the finish: “Pecco” falls! “El Diablo”, fourth in the race, was offered the title and made history.
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