Table of contents:
- Quartararo has turned his 2020 weakness into his great strength for 2021
- Quartararo is the seventh Yamaha champion and regains the title six years later
- Will Quartararo be able to compete against Márquez starting in 2022?
Fabio Quartararo is the chosen one. The French rider has been proclaimed MotoGP world champion in Misano, culminating through the front door of a season that had all the ballots to finish in the infirmary. Quartararo has prevailed in the chaos of Yamaha to return the title to them six years later.
At 22, Quartararo is the first Frenchman to be proclaimed world champion in the premier category of motorcycling. And he has done so in his first season as an official Yamaha rider, proving that he possesses one of the most precious qualities in a racing driver: that of learn from your mistakes.
Quartararo has turned his 2020 weakness into his great strength for 2021
To understand how Fabio Quartararo has improved in a matter of a year, we must go back to the Andalusian Grand Prix last season, in Jerez, where the French rider completed the initial double of that atypical 2020 season. That day Quartararo left Jerez as MotoGP world champion, but it took a year and three months to do so.
With Marc Márquez seriously injured in his arm, Quartararo's double in that hot Jerez summer It made him the inevitable MotoGP world champion in 2020. Teams, amateur journalists … everyone believed it, probably even him. And that was his sentence.
It was not a crazy thought. Quartararo had already shown in 2019 that he was a very fast driver, able to argue even some victories to the best Márquez always. A certain psychosis was created with an alleged fear of winning from 'El Diablo', but her double in the two initial dates drove her away. Without Marquez, he had to be the champion.
But it was not. The panic to fight for the title, the irregularity and the incomprehensible errors appeared. In 2020 Fabio Quartararo won three races and did not get on the podium in any more. He fell twice and finished out of the points in a third race. Three 'zeros' in a fourteen Grand Prix world championship. The pressure had crushed Quartararo.
Nevertheless, Quartararo made his weakness a strength. Any other teenager who has just lost a World Cup, his World Cup, and to top it off had not won any before, would have put on the alpha male armor, would have charged the inks against the motorcycle, against the team or against the cobblestones and would have entered in a vicious circle. Quartararo no.
He recognized it in public and in private, went to a psychologist, spent the winter preparing his mind for a new challenge, now as an official pilot, and here are the results: It is not only that Quartararo has been world champion, it is how he has been. He has improved everything he did wrong without losing anything he did well.
Quartararo has won five of the 16 races we have run in 2021 and has been on the podium in another five. And it would be necessary to add to both accounts the one he had won in Jerez until his forearm betrayed him. Quartararo had to undergo surgery after that. Few riders have won the MotoGP World Championship being operated in the middle of the season.
But it is that the data that best reflects the progress of Quartararo is that he has scored in all races it's from the season. His worst result is that of Jerez's thirteenth place, and apart from that physical problem, the champion's worst day would be that of Aragon, where he finished eighth. Quartararo has crushed.
The very low average number of points per race with which Joan Mir won the world championship of 2020. It was 12, 2 points per event, which means that a rider could have won the 2020 MotoGP World Championship having finished fourth in all races, without getting on the podium in any. The irregularity is still there for everyone, except for Quartararo.
Pecco's career point average Bagnaia, second classified in the 2021 World Cup, to date is 12, 6. In other words, a driver who finished fourth in all races would go second. Only Quartararo raises that average to 16.6 and has been able to escape the irregularity that reigns in MotoGP since Michelin changed the tires and Márquez was injured.
Quartararo is the seventh Yamaha champion and regains the title six years later
Quartararo is the chosen one who has rescued Yamaha from the deep well into which they got into back in 2015 and 2016, when they practically let Jorge Lorenzo escape, a rider who was in his prime and was born to ride that motorcycle, in exchange for keeping a Valentino Rossi happy already on his final stage.
Yamaha has dragged that decision by inaction since then, and the last two seasons, in which Quartararo has fought for the title, have been great. Maverick Viñales turned out to be a bluff whose unfriendly separation from the team has exploded this season, splattering everything around except Quartararo.
Suffice it to say that between the official Yamaha team and Petronas up to eight riders different have ridden their bikes, some of them jumping between the official team and the satellite. The divorce with Viñales, the frightened of Petronas, the tricks with the engines, the cases of COVID-19, the messes with Lorenzo as a tester … The last two years at Yamaha have been chaos.
Quartararo regains his balance by becoming Yamaha's seventh world champion. He unites his name, neither more nor less, than those of Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson, Kenny Roberts and Giacomo Agostini. By age and riding style they should not let him escape, but the ways of Yamaha are inscrutable.
Will Quartararo be able to compete against Márquez starting in 2022?
And now the big question is: will be able to compete against a Marc Márquez facing a full season recovered from his shoulder? The Honda rider will only be 29 years old next season and is already showing that he is well recovered from his injury. It is inevitable that he will be the great rival for Quartararo in 2022.
Probably the best version of Márquez has already passed. It is not any contempt, on the contrary, it is the realization that matching what he did in that historic 2019 season, the last one before the injury, is practically unattainable. It was already without that fall in Jerez, and after it, plus the passing of the years, it seems impossible.
For Quartararo there are reasons for optimism. The first is that even in that 2019 in which Márquez was colossal he was able to fight him in some races. He disputed the victory in Misano, Buriram, Motegi and Cheste, all of them in the second half of the season. And he was just a rookie.
Mainly there are two types of evolution of a pilot when he is already world champion. The first is to conform, to stagnate in a "world champion" status that is never going to be lost. It is usually the evolution of those pilots who in their hearts did not expect to be champions one day.
The second, and the one that Quartararo probably has, is to be a freed pilot. Take off all the pressure, know that the basic and main objective is already fulfilled and now enjoy the piloting and competition. For Márquez it was a blessing that Mir stayed with the 2020 World Cup, but it was not in time to prevent Quartararo from removing the complexes in 2021.
If you have already shown that you are fast enough to win many races in a year, and if you can also be painstakingly regular, everything what to expect from Quartararo in 2022 is an unapologetic driver no pressure. And with a motorcycle that adapts like a glove to his style, it will not be easy for Márquez to regain the crown. Quartararo is going to defend her.