Quartararo taking time to fully appreciate MotoGP world title

Paris (AFP) – Fabio Quartararo says he won't really believe he is the new MotoGP champion until he sees his name adorning the trophy at the end-of-season gala.


The 22-year-old Frenchman claimed the 2021 title last Sunday when his closest rival Francesco Bagnaia crashed out of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

That left the Yamaha rider with an unassailable lead in the championship with two races remaining.

Quartararo marked the achievement of becoming France's first ever MotoGP champion in style.

"We partied from Sunday night to Monday morning," he told AFP on Thursday, his husky voice bearing all the hallmarks of a good night out.

Yet the enormity of fulfilling a lifelong dream has yet to fully sink in.

"Frankly not really," he replied when asked if he could appreciate what he had just accomplished.

"I don't know when I will realise it. I think at the gala when they are going to put my name on the trophy. It's a crazy thing!

"My brother's best friend sent me a video of the 2019 gala and told me 'Look closely, one day this trophy will have the name Fabio Quartararo on it'.

"So I think it will be only then, when I see my name with 'world champion' beside it, that all the emotion will hit me."

He added: "It's the first and I hope there'll be more!"

Quartararo wants to finish the season with a flourish with races still to come in Portugal on November 7 and Valencia a week later.

"I may be champion but I'm not on holiday yet!

"It's going to be a new experience to race without any pressure, to say to myself 'if I score zero points it's not a problem..as I'm world champion'.

At 22 years and 187 days old, the Nice-born rider edges Valentino Rossi as the second youngest champion of the MotoGP era behind Marc Marquez, who sealed his first title aged 20 years and 266 days.

Despite some bumps along the road including 'arm pump' surgery he said he had never doubted in his ability.

"That's what gave me the strength to believe that this time 'it's for us'."