Fabio Quartararo has finished the 2019 MotoGP World Championship in seventh heaven by taking yet another podium position at the season-ending Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana through finishing second. However, it was a less fortunate end to the season for fellow PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team rider Franco Morbidelli, who crashed out of the race at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo from sixth place.
Quartararo was able to convert pole position into the lead in the early laps of the race, breaking away from the chasing pack to stretch the gap out to nearly a second after only two laps. Hunted down by Marc Marquez as the race progressed, the World Champion was eventually able to squeeze past Quartararo for the lead, with the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT rider slotting in behind him to the chequered flag and podium number seven of his rookie season.
Morbidelli also had a strong series of opening laps, closing down the battle for the podium from fifth on the grid before dropping back a little and finding himself in a lonely sixth place. Making a small mistake on lap 19 of 27, he unfortunately ended his season with a DNF - but thankfully escaped uninjured from the crash.
Today’s results mean that Quartararo adds Independent Riders’ Champion to his list of accolades from his rookie season, as well as Rookie of the Year and helping PETRONAS Yamaha SRT clinch the Independent Teams’ Championship. He finishes the 2019 MotoGP World Championship in fifth overall, with Morbidelli also inside the top ten in tenth and the team taking fourth in the Teams’ World Championship to round out a stunning debut season.
The 2020 MotoGP World Championship season will get underway with the Qatar Grand Prix on March 8th 2020, with Quartararo and Morbidelli having their first pre-season this Tuesday at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team
“The crash is a pity because I was feeling fast in the race and I was rapidly catching the guys in front of me. Sometimes without someone in front of you to help with the wind, your front tyre temperature can get very cold. I knew it was happening and I had two choices; to stop pushing and drop back, or to push and hope it warmed up again - and unfortunately I reached turn four and crashed like I had just left the pits. I was aiming for the podium as I was hunting down the guys in front, and the positive from the weekend is that we were feeling capable of being in the top three.”
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team
“I knew yesterday that Marc was going to be really strong, but if we couldn’t win then I would have been happy with second - and being the first Yamaha is a nice bonus too. We weren’t so far from the victory, so I can be very proud of the result. It’s an amazing end to the season. In 2018, a lot of people told me that I didn’t deserve a seat in MotoGP and that I wasn’t ready for it - but I think now with seven podiums and six pole positions I can show them they were wrong! I’m so happy with the entire year and it’s something the whole team should be proud of.”
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team Manager
“It’s been an incredible season, with seven podiums, Rookie of the Year, Independent Team and Rider - all the items on our wishlist. I’m very proud to say what we’ve achieved, not only with Fabio and Franco but with the entire team. If you look over the year, there were no human error mistakes at a single race and for a rookie team, that’s incredible. We’re over the moon to finish the season with second place in Valencia. Our focus is already on testing, and 2020 will be very interesting!”