Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo thought to be the ‘Rookie of the Year’ in his debut MotoGP season was already a big goal set for him.
Quartararo came into the 2019 MotoGP season not as the favourite to be the ‘Rookie of the Year’, especially with Moto2 champion Francesco Bagnaia also graduating with him aboard the Pramac Racing Ducati – although on a year old bike.
He had Joan Mir on the factory Suzuki and Miguel Oliveira on the Tech 3 KTM – all the three finishing way ahead of Quartararo in the 2018 Moto2 standings. But the Frenchman has handsomely beaten his peers in the premier class, with three MotoGP races to go.
He has 163 points to his name with six podiums and four pole positions to be sixth in the riders’ standings, while the next best is Mir in 13th with 66, followed by Bagnaia and Oliveria in 15th and 16th with 37 and 33 points, respectively.
Quartararo sealed the rookie achievement in Japanese MotoGP race at Twin Ring Motegi, where he was second to Honda’s Marc Marquez after defending well against Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso. He has done it with three grand prix remaining.
“We had a meeting at the Malaysia test and we set the target of both riders and they said your target is to be top rookie this year,” said Quartararo. “And I thought it would be really tough as there are some really big riders like Miguel, Pecco and Mir so I knew it was a big goal for me.
“We have 163 points, which is an amazing achievement considering we were targeting between 50 and 90. To be top rookie with three races before the end, it feels really good. Now we will need to set new goals and what we did this year is fantastic but now it is pure fun, we have nothing to do, we just want to enjoy and make some good results.”
It is a big feat as well since he is the second best Yamaha rider after Japanese GP, where he leapfrogged factory rider Valentino Rossi. He is comfortably ahead of teammate Franco Morbidelli as well, who is 10th with 100 points.
Here’s how the Japanese MotoGP panned out