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Fabio Quartararo, 22, becomes the first French world champion


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Fabio Quartararo on Sunday became the first French world champion in MotoGP, the top category in speed motorcycle racing. At the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday, “El Diablo”, despite starting fifteenth, overtook his main competitor, Francesco Bagnaia and climbed to fourth place.

At the age of 22, he made history. Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) gave France its first world championship title in the queen of motorcycle speed category, the MotoGP, Sunday 24 October.

Fifteenth on the starting grid at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Misano, Italy, Fabio Quartararo made an impressive comeback to 4the place. He especially benefited from the fall of his last rival for the title, the Italian Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia (Ducati), who started at fault four laps from the finish, while he was in the lead.

Now 65 lengths ahead of Bagnaia, “El Diablo” (a nickname acquired during his youth races in Spain) can no longer be joined in the drivers’ standings, before the last two rounds of the season (Algarve, on November 7 and Valencia, on November 14), with the victory each time worth 25 points.

Even before returning to the paddock and after celebrating his title with the spectators in a cloud of blue smoke, Fabio Quartararo received a golden helmet, symbol of his world title.

“I can’t believe it, I have trouble talking, it’s crazy”

He then joined the pits where all his rivals, including Spaniard Marc Marquez, winner of Sunday’s race, and his unfortunate rival Francesco Bagnaia warmly congratulated him.

“I can’t believe it, I have trouble talking, it’s crazy, it’s a very good moment to savor,” he reacted, on the verge of tears.

The accolade comes in his third MotoGP season, his first with the Yamaha factory team, after two years with the Yamaha-SRT satellite team.

Out of 16 GP races in 2021, Fabio Quartararo has claimed ten podiums, including five wins, and five pole positions.

After stints in Moto3 in 2015 and 2016 (2 podiums and 2 poles, the first year), then Moto2 in 2017 and 2018 (2 podiums, including 1 win, and 1 pole, the second year), the French hope finally confirmed in MotoGP the following year, with 7 podiums and 6 poles.

Before winning in 2020 the first French victory in the category since that of Régis Laconi in Valencia in 1999.

In the race for the title in the absence of the Spanish favorite Marc Marquez (Honda), injured, the n° 20 however let slip the title at the end of the season, victim of his annoyance in front of a motorcycle not up to his expectations.

In 2021, Fabio Quartararo learned the lessons, with a worse result of 13e place in Spain in early May, when he was disabled by a loges syndrome (muscle problem) in one arm.

Valentino Rossi’s farewell at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

In the next round, in France, he took over the reins of the championship to not let go, despite the final assaults of Francesco Bagnaia.

This Grand Prix was also the last of the Italian icon Valentino Rossi (Yamaha-SRT) in front of his public, before retiring at the end of the year.

The disappointing 10e place of the latter, in the image of a complicated final season, did not prevent his countless fans from paying tribute to him in a cloud of yellow smoke (his favorite color).

The riders of his team (the VR46) raced in suits and on yellow motorcycles crossed out with the words “Grazie Vale!” (Thank you Vale in Italian).

Next year, “Vale” will devote himself to his family – he is expecting his first child –, his academy training Italian drivers, his future MotoGP team and motor racing, with the goal of one day participating in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

With AFP and Reuters


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