Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) (AFP)
"P ..." ("Fucking Hell") exclaimed Sunday in English an ecstatic Fabio Quartararo after winning the first victory of his career in MotoGP with almost 5 seconds on his immediate follower, Maverick Vinales.
"It's the happiest day of my life and I still don't realize it," he added. "It's so strange to be here without the fans and I wish they were there," said the 21-year-old Frenchman.
The first MotoGP 2020 Grand Prix of the Jerez circuit in Spain took place behind closed doors due to coronavirus.
"But this race was for them, for the people affected by the Covid, for my brother and my parents," he said before walking away with two thumbs up.
A few moments later, at a press conference, he was calmer after having listened on the podium with his eyes closed to the Marseillaise, played for the first time since 1999, the year of the last victory of a French pilot at the highest level of the motorcycling sport.
"It was a very hard race because I didn't have a very good start and I ended up 5th. I know that in this situation it is difficult to maintain speed in the corners. But then I found my pace, "he said.
He also benefited from the mistakes of those who preceded him then like the Spanish Marc Marquez, six-time world champion MotoGP, and Maverick Vinales.
After a first error, Marquez made an even more expensive one then, when he had moved up to 3rd place, which sent him to the hospital with a broken humerus.
- Pride -
In overwhelming heat, Fabio Quartararo then crushed the competition, steadily increasing his lead and making no mistakes.
He had admitted the day before that compared to his first season last year in MotoGP, he learned that the main thing is not to want to be ahead at all costs during the tests but to use them to tweak the settings of his Yamaha, to choose the right tires for the race.
With this first victory for the first race of the season, he naturally found himself at the top of the World Championship. The next event will take place next Sunday on this same circuit in Jerez and the championship could be truncated, making each victory all the more essential.
Fabio does not already sell the bear skin, however. "Marc (Marquez) had the fastest pace of all today," he said. But the injury of the Spanish champion could put his participation in the next race in question.
"It can happen to everyone" warns the winner of the day, however. "Anyone can fall and score zero points or have a technical glitch. It doesn't change anything for me," he added, saying Marquez remains the favorite for the championship.
He is only the 4th French motorcycle rider to triumph at the highest level of motorcycle sport. "I am very proud of it," the native of Nice admitted on Sunday, even though he studied in the Spanish championship and now lives in Andorra.
Comments gathered during a press conference
© 2020 AFP