Moto: 6th pole for Quartararo, French victory twenty years later?

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Moto: 6th pole for Quartararo, French victory twenty years later?
Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha-SRT) qualifying for the Valencia Motorcycle GP at the Ricardo Tormo circuit on November 16, 2019 JOSE JORDAN

Fabio Quartararo will start Sunday for the sixth time in the pole position for the last MotoGP event of the calendar in Valencia (Spain), posing as a serious candidate for a victory that would be the first of a French driver in the category since 1999 .

It was on this same circuit Ricardo Tormo that Regis Laconi had won twenty years ago on the handlebars of a Yamaha, the same brand for which today runs Quartararo. At the time, races were still contested with two-stroke bikes of 500cc instead of four times of 1000cc current.

The young Frenchman, who was born the same year as Laconi's victory, is making his first season in MotoGP. If he already has six podiums to his credit, there is still no victory.

He was the only Saturday to shoot in less than 1 min 30 sec, although he was ahead of the Spaniard Marc Marquez, defending champion, than 032 / 1000th. It is the Australian Jack Miller (Ducati-Pramac) who completes the 1st line.

"I'm really happy to start in the first line tomorrow" (Sunday) for the race which will start at 14:00 local time (13:00 GMT), said Quartararo.

"For a first season, being + rookie of the year + (beginner of the year) and six poles and six podiums, it's really good when we look from where we left," he said.

He hoped to be able to do just as well for the race, wishing to escape his nascent image of "Saturday Driver", racking up the poles without winning on Sunday.

Already twice this season, Quartararo saw victory narrowly escaped him, overtaken by Marquez and his Honda in the last lap, or even the last meters of the race.

Marquez, 26, has already been crowned for the 6th time world champion this year at the end of the Thai Grand Prix in early October.

"Fabio and the Yamaha have already shown that they are very fast on a lap but we will see tomorrow," he said. He has won 11 races this season out of the 18 already contested.

– Goodbye for Lorenzo –

The Frenchman is one of the youngest drivers in the field against legends like seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi, who will start 12th on Sunday and is twice his age.

The Valencia GP will also be the last race of Jorge Lorenzo, triple world champion, who announced Thursday at 32 years his retirement circuits.

The Spanish, Marquez teammate at Honda, had a very difficult season of accidents and could not do better than 16th in qualifying on Saturday.

His place in the official Honda team is exciting and many drivers are on the line to take it.

Among them, Alex Marquez, the younger brother of Marc, Moto2 world champion this year. The name of the Frenchman Johann Zarco, ousted from KTM during the season and who replaces the injured Japanese Takaaki Nakagami for the last three races in the LCR-Honda satellite team, is also advanced, like that of the British Cal Crutchlow, other LCR-Honda pilot.

Zarco qualified 13th Saturday and will start in 5th row.

In the other categories, it is the Spaniard Jorge Navarro who will start on the pole of the Moto2 in front of his compatriot Jorge Martin and the surprising Italian Stefano Manzi. Alex Marquez could not do better than 15th.

In Moto3, the Italian Andrea Migno will start from the first place, his compatriot Lorenzo Dalla Porta (7th) having already been crowned champion.

Finally, MotoE (for electric) is the Brazilian Eric Granado who won Saturday the first of two races contested on the sidelines of the GP of Valencia, the second being scheduled for Sunday after the MotoGP race.



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