Fabio Quartararo was a guest of one of our GPOne Live sessions (you can watch the video above and read the article HERE) in which he answered many questions from fans. Eric Mahé, his manager, was also with him, "but for me he is a true friend, ours is not just a work relationship," said the French rider.
Mahé talked about his relationship with Fabio and also joked about how Italian fans will welcome him when he takes Valentino's place in the official Yamaha team next year.
"If he beats Marquez, he will become Italian forever," he said smiling.
The manager also explained how the negotiations with Iwata went.
"The basic strategy was to wait because Fabio was growing, it would have been stupid to sign an agreement last September,” he revealed. “At the beginning I pushed with Yamaha to have an official bike already in 2020 because we understood we needed it to fight for victory. We have been patient and we reached this agreement together with the move into the official team for 2021 and 2022 after two months of a tough job. The strategy was not to change manufacturer, but to wait for the right moment to decide. We are really happy with the result with Yamaha."
Quartararo was also targeted by other manufacturers...
"We spoke with Ducati but there was nothing concrete,” confirmed Mahé. “In my opinion a rider must follow a natural progression: first year with a satellite bike with a satellite team, second year with an official bike in the same team and then two years factory contract with the same staff also. I think it is a natural progression and it makes things easier for the rider also psychologically speaking.”
Eric is now one of the most envied managers of the paddock having the wunderkind in his management team, but this does not make him nervous…
"I don't feel any pressure because we know and trust each other,” he assured. “I am really happy, and I just boost my energy. We met for the first time in Qatar when he made his debut in the Moto3 World Championship, but only to say hello. Then, the following year, Fabio was in trouble with his manager and his father came to me for help, it was April and we got to know each other better, then in August we decided to work together, it was something natural. This is not a job like any other, you have to understand each other, you need complicity, it's not just about business, there are some riders I couldn't work with. "
What impressed you about Quartararo?
"From the point of view of riding style, I have never seen someone with his precision, he rides millimetre by millimetre. He also does not have a lot of crashes; it means that he feels the limit and keeps that 0.5% margin every time everywhere so no crashes and good pace. Psychologically he is a stable guys, every time happy and smiling, for a rider it is a great quality. Sometimes a weekend cannot be perfect, there is some stress, but then 10 minutes after we joke. In a season with 20 races it is important not to bring your frustrations with you."
And the weak points?
"Zero. I haven't seen any and I hope I not to see one," he concluded laughing.