PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team rider Fabio Quartararo has taken the 2019 MotoGP Rookie of the Year title, securing the award in style with a sensational sixth podium finish of the season at the Grand Prix of Japan. Team-mate Franco Morbidelli rounded out a dream day for the squad by coming home in sixth place at the Twin Ring Motegi for another strong finish.
Quartararo rode a textbook race at Motegi to secure second position, getting stuck into the fight with world champion Marc Marquez as soon as the lights went out and trading the top spot with him numerous times. Settling into second as the race progressed, Quartararo was able to manage his tyres to the chequered flag to secure the rookie honours as well as extending his lead in the Independent Riders’ classification to 38 points and moving up to sixth in the overall championship fight.
Morbidelli was also able to get involved in the podium battle early in the race, running in third behind his team-mate in the early laps. Dropping back as the race progressed, he was still able to score his fourth top-six finish from the past five races. Morbidelli also scored valuable points at Motegi to further secure his place within the top ten in the World Championship and to help the team edge closer to the Independent Teams’ championship, where they now command a healthy 76-point lead.
It won’t be long until MotoGP action gets underway again, with next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix kicking off on Friday 25th October, before Sunday 27th October’s race at Phillip Island.
Franco Morbidelli Franco Morbidelli
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team
“It’s a good result, we showed a lot of strength this weekend, and hopefully, we can bring the potential that we had here into the next round in Australia. That said, I’m a bit disappointed because I was expecting more from the race, but I understood as soon as it started that I didn’t have the same grip as I had had all weekend. We still managed to get the sixth position, which is good considering the feelings I was having on the bike, especially towards the end of the race. The big positive from Motegi is the speed we showed, so we need to find a way now to carry it forward.”