Fabio Quartararo became on Sunday in Misano, Italy, the first French to become world champion in the premier motorcycle category, the Moto GP.
Thomas Maubant tells us behind the scenes of this title and his role of “helper” with Fabio Quartararo, who is also his best friend.
The joy of a (big) kid who has just fulfilled his childhood dream.
That of Fabio Quartararo, last Sunday, when crossing the finish line of the Grand Prix of Misano in Italy.
Party 13th, "El Diablo", came back with panache to finish 4th.
But it was the fall of Francesco Bagnaia, 2nd in the general classification, at the end of the race, which finally offered the title of Moto GP world champion to the French, two races from the end of the championship.
He could then let his satisfaction explode through the celebration prepared by his handyman, and especially best friend, Thomas Maubant.
Fabio Quartararo had just become the first French world champion in the premier category.
A celebration made in Thomas
To see Fabio Quartararo and Thomas Maubant scream with joy on Sunday in Misano, difficult to know which of the two was the happier. “I think it stays with him because it's been his dream for a very long time. I was just there to accompany him ”, confides Thomas with the still hoarse voice of his Sunday evening of celebrations. “We celebrated that well,” he laughs.
These images of tears flooding Fabio's eyes as the video retracing his journey since his debut on a motorbike scrolled around the world.
A celebration that Tom, as the pilot calls it, had imagined since mid-September, and the Grand Prix of Aragon in Spain.
“We had a lot of meetings and it was this idea that came out.
That of the video where we see him very small at the beginning, until the end, where he has arrived today.
And I also thought he deserved the red carpet.
But the most important was the helmet of the world champion, and the video, ”he reframes.
No place at random
Fabio Quartararo and Thomas Maubant met on a beach in the Alpes-Maritimes, while the rider was treating an injury in 2014, during his first season in Moto 3. He first accompanied him on a few circuits, before becoming his full-time “helper”. “I manage everything that is next. When he has guests, I take care of them, I manage his equipment, everything he needs to concentrate only on the bike. These are details, but at this level, everything hinges on details. Everything must be ready. We do thousands of kilometers but in the box, everything is exactly in the same place. There are follow-ups of safety equipment, airbags, helmets. There are a lot of things behind that the viewer does not necessarily perceive. Everything is planned in advance so as not to be caught off guard.For example, if Fabio falls, everything must be ready for him to change in two minutes and to be able to set a stopwatch again. Everything is planned in case the worst happens, ”he lists.
Their long collaboration, for six years now, is obviously an asset.
“I understood all the tricks of this environment.
There is no room for chance, everything is precise.
Nobody does figuration, everyone has a specific role.
We went up the ranks together, so that makes it a bit easier.
We were in Moto 3, then in Moto 2 there were already a little more people.
And in Moto GP it's really another category.
Of course, if you suddenly land in this category, you can get scared, ”he jokes.
If Thomas Maubant is Fabio Quartararo's “helper”, he remains above all his best friend. And the two men know each other by heart. “It changes everything I think, but it's something common in the paddock. We are not like the teams, the pilot chose us and he is most of the time a close person. I spend more time with him than with my family so it's important to get along well. The work between us has been the same for several years. And that's important because, like that, Fabio has benchmarks, and knows who to rely on. When there are moments of tension, a look reassures him. We are always placed in the same place, and it is this kind of thing that counts ”, explains the principal person concerned.
This relationship undoubtedly played a role in obtaining the title of world champion, after a debut marked by doubts in the lower categories.
“This outside view of the motorcycle world was very beneficial, especially at the start.
When we met, he was coming out of a difficult year.
I helped him to relativize as much as possible, to realize that he was living his dream and that he was paid to do what he loves.
I showed him that there was much worse than him, even when things were wrong.
I made him look up and we laughed.
It's still sport and life goes on, ”jokes Thomas.
And even today, he continues to apply the recipe.
Supported by his father, French champion in 125cm, from an early age, Fabio Quartararo enjoys being surrounded by his family. As when Etienne Quartararo did not hesitate to drive his son to Spain, to register him for the Spanish sprint championship, which he won twice. It is now within the official Yamaha team that the two friends are recreating this family spirit. As during this title weekend in Misano where we could see the pilot and his friend surround the entire Yamaha stand, from mechanics to cooks, to the rhythm of rapper Soso Maness. “It's super important this kind of moment. We have always liked to recreate a family with us. We spend so much time with all these people that it's important. They even thank us for that. The people from Yamaha told us that it was the first time.At the time of Rossi and Lorenzo there were two clans. We arrived with a breath of fresh air and our joie de vivre, ”says Thomas.
And great team spirit, even with the other rider on the team.
“There is no rivalry with the mechanics of Morbidelli [the other official Yamaha rider].
In Austria, when the team fired Vinales [for bad behavior, in particular], they told the mechanics they could come back.
Some remained in the event of helping Fabio.
He made the podium and gave the bottle of Prosecco directly to the mechanics of Vinales.
We like it, creating this family spirit with everyone, ”continues Thomas.
They will continue this momentum for the last two races of the championship, and especially next year.
With the idea of winning several titles, as Fabio Quartararo aims.
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