Fabio Quartararo has promised MotoGP fans it will be worth the wait when the delayed 2020 season finally gets underway.
The surprise of last year with seven podiums, six poles and fifth in the world championship as a rookie, Quartararo also memorably fought Marc Marquez for victory at the final corner of the Thai Grand Prix.
Upgraded to factory-spec M1 machinery for his final season at the Sepang team before joining the official Yamaha squad, Quartararo was quickest during four of the six days of pre-season testing.
But the coronavirus was already a concern by the opening Sepang test and became a worldwide issue after the Losail outing, putting MotoGP on hold for the foreseeable future and confining millions to ‘self-isolation’.
“Well I’m OK; I’m at home in Andorra and I’m training. The situation is I think a little bit like other parts of Europe – we’re not totally in quarantine but I try to go out as little as possible to have more security staying at home,” Quartararo said.
“I know it can be really boring, because for me I’m not a static guy – I love to go out, I love to train, I love to move – but at this moment the best solution is to stay at home and stay safe.
“That’s the message I want to share to everyone. And to clean your hands, try to keep distance and have no physical contact with people – this is the most important during this time. We have to be more responsible than ever.
“And of course to the fans – it’s tough for those with passion that can’t wait for it, but I can promise that as soon as we can come back we will give you a good show and we will make as many MotoGP races as possible and have fun to make some good racing again.”
Quartararo will however be back in ‘virtual’ MotoGP action this Sunday, having been named alongside Marquez, Maverick Vinales, Valentino Rossi and Alex Rins as among those taking part in an online Playstation race around Mugello.
“I’m fast on the Playstation but if you look at the standings compared to the top guys there I’m faster in reality!” said the 20-year-old. “But it’s true that it’s always good to have fun on the MotoGP videogame and I’m really lucky to have one at home during these tough moments.”
However the real thing requires physical fitness: “Now we can’t really go out of the home so the training is the same as normal, just without the chance to ride [with a motorcycle]. I’m basically spending hours doing workout at home to keep my body in good shape. I try to control what I’m eating and that’s it, I can’t do a lot more in this extraordinary situation.”
Quartararo also admitted to watching some of his highlights of last season: “I’m not watching so many races, but I’m watching some practice sessions where I finished quickest or where I’m proud of the lap I did, like the qualifying in Jerez.”
Meanwhile, he’s staying in touch with his Petronas crew via a WhatsApp group.
“Almost every day we are sending messages. I think it’s really important to keep contact with the people that help you a lot and that you love,” he said.
“We are a team and we need to support each other as a team. All over the world people are having tough moments, but we need to keep strong and keep going and I’m sure normality will come back.
“I hope something will happen soon for a good solution.”