Frenchman Fabio hoping for warm Le Mans reception in cold weather

Back in the race: Quartararo celebrating on the podium after winning the Catalunya Motorcycle Grand Prix last month. — AP

PETALING JAYA: It’s crunch time for Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team rider Fabio Quartararo after regaining his place at the top of the world MotoGP championship standings following his triumph in Catalunya two weeks ago.

And sitting pretty at the top is the perfect motivation for Quartararo to become the first Frenchman to win the premier class race on his home circuit ahead of Sunday’s French Grand Prix.

After a pair of victories to start the season at Jerez in July, Quartararo endured a five-race podium drought before winning in Catalunya to lead Suzuki’s Joan Mir of Spain by eight points with six rounds to go.

Quartararo made a perfect start to his home event as a rookie last season by being the fastest in Friday’s practice but had to settle for 10th in a wet qualifying session and could only manage eighth in the race proper.

But this year things are completely different as he arrives in Le Mans as the only rider to have won more than one race in the MotoGP class.

“I’m really happy to be able to have a home GP this year and it’s a special feeling to go there as the championship leader,” said Quartararo.

“Le Mans is a track that I really like.

“It is going to be important for us to fight for the victory and score as many points as possible.

“Normally it is a track that I do well. I did finish eighth there last year but it was a really fast-paced race and I am hoping to continue the good form from last week in Barcelona.

“I just hope the fans who are allowed to come will provide a warm reception as it is quite cold at the moment.”
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