‘Dream start, nightmare finish’ is one way to sum up Fabio Quartararo‘s 2020 MotoGP campaign.
Quartararo began the delayed season with his first-ever MotoGP wins, at Jerez, continued leading the championship for the opening six rounds and returned to the top of the world after a further victory in Catalunya.
But the Petronas Yamaha rider’s title challenge collapsed over the following six rounds.
A best of just eighth place and 19 out of a possible 150 points (team-mate Franco Morbidelli claimed 81) meant Quartararo slipped all the way to seventh in the final championship classification.
“When you finish the last six races so bad, it’s difficult to say I’m happy about the season,” Quartararo admitted. “But I can say that yes, it will be a season to remember, it brought me three victories.
“Some riders never win in MotoGP and I have three wins already. So I think looking back at this is really positive. In some ways it was a great season, but unfortunately, not such a great end. So a bit sad.”
Quartararo’s last three races were his worst of the season, crashes in Valencia being followed by 13th place at Portimao.
“I had an issue with the holeshot device for the start, so I made a terrible start, lost positions,” Quartararo explained of the season finale. “I thought that I could make a really good pace, but unfortunately from a bit before mid-race I had arm pump.
“So quite strange, I heard also some other riders had arm pump. So really sad, we had an opportunity to finish I think between P5 and P8. I wanted to do much better.”
But Quartararo must now turn the page as he moves on to the Factory Yamaha team for 2021, posting a mock-up of how he might look next year on social media:
What do you think ?! pic.twitter.com/xPPBq3PYjj
— Fabio Quartararo (@FabioQ20) November 24, 2020
It certainly wasn’t just Quartararo that suffered at the end of this season, all of the Factory-spec M1 riders were left in Franco Morbidelli’s A-spec (2019 based) shadow from Aragon onwards, meaning all eyes are now on Yamaha to identify and correct the mistakes seemingly made.
“I think that looking at the data of Franco, it’s quite clear that we are missing turning and rear grip,” Quartararo said. “So they [Yamaha] just need to work on that, and to analyse.
“But I think that Yamaha is really motivated because they see that the 2020 [Factory] bike, the last races were a disaster for everyone. Maverick and Vale finished 11th and 12th [at Portimao].
“So, we don’t need to tell them all the time that the bike is not working. They can see, and they are working hard.
“So they will find something and I hope that we can start the  tests in a really good way. Also with Cal [Crutchlow arriving as test rider]. So I hope that they are motivated and ready to find the problem. “
The young Frenchman added: “I think that we should have confidence in [Yamaha], tell them our ideas and then I think it will be important for us to believe in the project.
“I think it will be a benefit to be a Factory rider, and can’t wait to be there and to have kind of a meeting to give my ideas.”
Morbidelli’s late surge saw him snatch second in the world championship, just 13 points from Suzuki’s Joan Mir. Vinales finished as the top Factory-spec Yamaha rider in sixth overall, 26 points behind Morbidelli and five ahead of Quartararo.
Morbidelli will continue on the A-Spec bike next season, when Valentino Rossi drops down from the Factory team and joins Petronas.