With just a few days before the MotoGP action restarts again, we thought we’d take a look at the rookies of 2019, starting off with the brand new Petronas SRT Yamaha and Fabio Quartararo.
Born in Nice, Quartararo started his career at the age of just 4 before heading out to Spain to compete in the Promovelocidad Cup, a series for young riders organised by the Real Automóvil Club de Cataluña. Right from a young age, it was clear that Fabio had the speed, winning championships in 50cc class in 2008, the 70cc class in 2009, and the 80cc class in 2011.
A year later Quartararo stepped up into the senior Moto3 series in Spain and won the Mediterranean pre-Moto3 class in 2012.
A year later Fabio’s road to MotoGP really started when he joined Wild Wolf Racing, a team ran by former Grand Prix racer Juan Borja. The debut race was at a wet Catalunya, Barcelona, finishing a close second to Great Britain’s Wayne Ryan. That year was an up and down one for Quartararo but pulled through to take the championship making him the youngest at just 14 years, 218 days. Quartararo’s win also meant he was the first non-Spanish rider since Stefan Bradl in 2007 to take the title.
Fabio quickly progressed through the ranks, joining Estrella Galicia in 2015 remaining in the CEV Moto3 class as he was not old enough to head to the World Championship due to the age rule that came in in 2010, that year Quartararo was the clear champion that year.
The Frenchman’s success was quickly noted in the MotoGP paddock with Fabio stepping up into the World Championship series in 2015 and hitting the podium in just his second ever race onboard the Estrella Galicia Moto3 machine. Quartararo had a good start to 2015 but an FP2 crash in San Marino put an early end to his season meaning his 2 podiums in his debut year helped him to 10th overall.
For 2016 Fabio moved over to the Leopard team who had won the championship in 2015 with Danny Kent with the Honda machine, but for 2016 the team had decided to switch to the KTM Manufacturer, but the best finish of a 4th in Austria and Malaysia was the only highlights to a difficult year for the Frenchman.
After 2 seasons in the lower class, Quartararo stepped up into Moto2 with the Pons Racing Team alongside Edgar Pons. Quartararo ended his debut race in 7th place marking an impressive debut for the rookie as he adapted to the 600cc Honda engine. Fabio ended his debut season in 13th place before leaving the Pons team to join the Speed Up team.
2018 was a slow start for Quartararo with a 20th and 22nd in his first 2 races with Speed Up but with 4 points finishes coming on the bounce things was starting to look good for Quartararo.
Fabio left his mark in the Moto2 class by picking up his debut World Championship win at Catalunya before backing it up with an incredible ride to 2nd place at Assen 2 weeks later. After his win, Fabio was a consistent top 10 runner but returned to the top step in Motegi after holding off the eventual 2018 Moto2 World Champion Francesco Bagnaia but had his 2nd win removed due to low tyre pressures.
Fabio’s win and one 2nd place helped him to 10th in the Moto2 championship.
Fabio then announced he was stepping up to partner Franco Morbidelli in the all-new Petronas SRT Yamaha team in the MotoGP class.
The 19-year-old made his debut at the Valencia test and was only 1.3s off the top time.
The 2nd test on the M1 for Quartararo was a special one at Jerez for Fabio as he ended the test as the 2nd top rookie in 12th place only 0.1s behind 9x World Champion Valentino Rossi.
Fabio will be back out on track as he takes his M1 Yamaha round the Sepang International Circuit for the 1st official test of 2019.
Find out how Fabio gets on in Sepang and throughout his debut season in MotoGP here on NowMoto and our new podcast on Youtube!
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