Fabio Quartararo has taken the 2019 Rookie of the Year title with another impressive performance at Motegi.
The Petronas Yamaha rider finished second to Marc Marquez and secured his sixth podium of the season. As a result, Quartararo achieved the goal that he set himself at the beginning of the season.
“I’m delighted with the weekend because the goal we set ourselves at the beginning of the season was to be best newcomer and we’ve already managed it.We have 163 points, which is an amazing achievement considering we were targeting between 50 and 90.
“We’ve been a big surprise to everyone, and it’s nice to be able to officially say that I’m Rookie of the Year.”
Today’s result also sees Quartararo open up a 38-point advantage in the Independent Riders’ standings. His nearest challenger in the fight to be top independent rider is Jack Miller.
Meanwhile, a crash for Valentino Rossi sees Quartararo move ahead of the nine-time champion in the standings. The Frenchman is now sixth overall, only six points behind Danilo Petrucci.
Quartararo was quick to thank his team for believing in him ahead of, and during, his rookie campaign. He said:
“When I look back to last year when I was fighting for top 15 finishes in Moto2, I only think about how much I owe everyone at PETRONAS Yamaha SRT and Yamaha for putting their trust in me. I’ve done my maximum to help them believe in me, and together we’ve done an amazing job.
“We’re still fighting for good positions in the championship but trying not to think about it too much, so we’ll take the remaining races as they come and see what happens.”
Franco Morbidelli’s sixth position leaves the Petronas Yamaha team in a strong position. They now have a comfortable 76-point lead in the Independent Team’s Championship.
What’s Next for Quartararo?
Quartararo and the team will now head straight to Phillip Island for the Australian Grand Prix. The 20-year-old will once again be aiming for his maiden victory in the premier class.