2 weeks ago, at the Emelia Romagna Grand Prix, Fabio Quartararo, nicknamed El Diablo, was crowned the 2021 MotoGP World Champion. With one race remaining, the 22-year-old has mounted up a grand total of 267 points, achieving 10 podium finishes and 14 front row starts.
Since entering the premier class, it has been an uphill battle for the Frenchman, who has battled through adversity and overcame unimaginable pressure, on his journey to the top of the world.
His 2020 campaign began in strong form, finishing fifth in the season opener at the Losail International circuit, in his debut race in Monster Energy Yamaha colours. Just one week later at the same venue, the Frenchman took his first win as a Factory rider.
As the championship arrived in Portimao, Quartararo was able to come out on top yet again, before the first hurdle of the season awaited him at Circuito de Jerez.
On Spanish soil, the 22-year-old was faced with Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome ‘arm pump’ in the middle of the race, causing him to lose out on what looked likely to be his third win in a row.
Following the issue which cost him a whole bunch of championship points, Quartararo went under the knife to fix the problem, ahead of his home race at Le Mans, where he went on to round off the podium, finishing in third.
Refusing to back down in the face of difficulty, he continued to ride in great shape, achieving another 8 podiums, 3 of which being race wins throughout the remaining races.
Quartararo’s streak of exceptional performance placed him at the top of the championship standings for most of the season.
He eventually obtained the World Championship title in dramatic style with two rounds of the season remaining.
Crossing the line back in Misano, Quartararo became the first Frenchman ever to claim the premier class title, and gifted Yamaha their first world championship since 2015.
Yamaha’s conclusion to what was a total of 5 years in the absence of a world title, was the feat of many developments, both technological and psychological.
The machine which centred the Japanese Manufacturer’s 2020 campaign was somewhat outdated by their closest rivals on track.
This year, they began to work on many new developments to level the playing field, bringing themselves back in line with their competitors.
In the modern MotoGP era, margins between riders on track are a great deal closer than they were only 5 years ago, pinning more importance on race starts.
The addition of a new and updated dual launch control system, was a development that Quartararo demanded of his team, to shift the bike towards the new generation of racing technology.
Recently, there has been a great uplift of popularity and usage of this device within the premier class.
The device works by locking the front suspension on the bike, as a rider begins to make a launch off the line.
In turn, the system prevents power from being wasted on compressing the bikes suspension, resulting in a much quicker and efficient launch from a standing start.
A previous system was already in place at the rear end of the bike. However, the development of a dual system, incorporating the front end too, levelling the playing field with their on-track rivals.
In the lead up to the 2021 season, Quartararo himself had to work on his own challenges.
Prior to entering the Factory Yamaha team at the start of the year, Quartararo began working closely with a psychologist, to address some issues which, saw him miss out on being declared toe 2020 World Champion.
Last year, the youngster looked capable of winning the title, having battled at the top of the championship standings towards the first half of the year, and kicking the season off with two back- to- back victories.
However, the pressure of challenging for the championship title in only his second year in the premier class, was too much for the young gun to carry.
Having admitted to crumbing under the pressure of expectation and riding with too much emotion, Quartararo went in the direction of working with a psychologist ahead of 2021.
As 2021 began, the work he put in over the winter break looked to be nothing less than effective, as he began to showcase his true potential, and demonstrate remarkable consistency.
This consistency inevitably led to Quartararo and the Monster Energy Yamaha Team being crowned the MotoGP World Champions of 2021.