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MotoGP, How Quartararo became this year’s favourite

“It’s funny, because I read a lot of comments about the fact that I could be under pressure and make mistakes, but it’s exactly the opposite. I’ve never felt so good on the bike and Yamaha has never put pressure on me”

MotoGP: How Quartararo became this year’s favourite

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Although Fabio Quartararo topped the MotoGP standings ahead of round 12 of the MotoGP at Silverstone, he left the iconic British circuit three days later in an even stronger position with almost one hand on the title. Such was his dominance in the race, journalists from France24 allowed themselves to get a little excited as their countryman crushed his rivals to extend his lead at the head of the premier class.

However, leading the championship standings isn’t a first for Quartararo as he did so in 2020 after winning three of the first eight rounds of the campaign. But just as he began to be considered as a favourite to be World Champion, doubt crept in from some corners suggesting the pressure could get to him. It turned out that his third victory at Catalunya would be his last of the season – arguably the doubters were right. Ultimately his campaign for the MotoGP crown ended in disappointment. Going from top of the standings to an eighth-place overall finish, and ironically eighth was to be his best placed race finish in his final six attempts.

This year though there seems to be a new maturity in the 22-year-old, now in his third season as MotoGP rider. After completing his move up from a seat with the satellite Petronas SRT squad into the factory backed Monster Energy Yamaha team, Quartararo's reaction was to say it was a dream.

That dream move instantly spurred him on and the reality quickly began to look bright for the Frenchman once the season got underway in Qatar in March. For someone still young, using all his experience Quartararo’s consistency of results has been astonishing. After four wins and three podium visits later, added to four other point scoring finishes the paddock travelled to Britain where that aforementioned win came.

Quartararo’s fifth victory of the season at Silverstone in late August in front of almost 70,000 fans was just another indication of his growing maturity in the MotoGP class. But it was the manner of the victory that was just as striking. After taking the lead on lap five he pressed ahead and at one point advanced into a four second lead, giving him the ability to save his tyres and finish a relatively comfortable 2.6 seconds ahead of second placed Alex Rins. Crucially, the win extended his lead in the standings over current World Champion, Joan Mir and the early season pace setter Francesco Bagnaia.

Quartararo was clearly brimming with confidence following his victory as he declared: “it’s funny, because I read a lot of comments about the fact that I could be under pressure and make mistakes, but it’s exactly the opposite. I’ve never felt so good on the bike and Yamaha has never put pressure on me.”

That confidence is also shared as Quartararo is ranked the clear favourite by Bwin Sports ahead of Mir and Bagnaia. Although his rivals stated that El Diablo will start to feel the pressure of heading the title race, the man at the top of the tree seems to feel the exact opposite, and he’s seemingly absolutely loving the responsibility.

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