At roughly the halfway stage in the MotoGP season and entering the summer break, French rider Fabio Quartararo has a healthy lead of 34 points at the top of the standings.
He has built that up by winning four of the first nine Grands Prix in the campaign aboard his Yamaha bike. Quartararo also finished all but one race in the top six so far, making him the most consistent rider in MotoGP this campaign.
It’s for that reason that the current online betting has him as an odds-on favourite for the World Championship, ahead of fellow Frenchman and Johann Zarco who represents rival team Pramac Racing. From such a strong position, it would take a very disappointing second half of the season from Quartararo to not take home a maiden title.
At the age of just 22, the Nice-born rider has the MotoGP world at his feet. The rise of Quartararo through the world of superbikes has been pretty rapid. He competed in Moto3 as recently as 2016 and has since graduated from Moto2 too.
That progress hasn’t gone unnoticed with Yamaha giving Quartararo the ultimate backing when switching him on to the factory team from their joint venture with Petronas constructed in Malaysia. The move came with some pressure as the talented youngster replaced MotoGP legend and seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi, and they are big shoes for anyone to fill.
While Rossi hasn’t been at the pinnacle of the sport since 2009, his was a long-serving association with Yamaha. Across two spells, the Italian gave 15 seasons to the cause. He continues to ride a Yamaha but for the Petronas team directly swapping seats with Quartararo.
Elation and frustration! 🔄
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) June 30, 2021
Undaunted by following in the footsteps of arguably the greatest motorcycle rider of all time, Quartararo has converted two of his five pole positions in this MotoGP season so far into wins from the front. He also has more fastest laps (three) than anyone else in the campaign to date.
Australia’s Jack Miller is the only other rider to have more than one Grand Prix success to his name in 2021 on the Ducati. However, retirements in Portugal and at the Dutch TT have dented his hopes of mounting a credible challenge to be the world champion.
Miller is only joint-fourth favourite in the MotoGP betting alongside defending world champion Joan Mir of Suzuki. The Spaniard remains a consistent top 10 and podium finisher but must win more races if he is to retain the crown.
Ducati riders occupy three of the first five spots in the standings. Miller’s teammate Francesco Bagnaia rates a bigger threat, according to the betting, yet is still almost 50 points behind Quartararo. Two-time Moto2 world champion Zarco has yet to win a MotoGP Grand Prix but must try and do so to close the gap on his compatriot who has a runaway lead.
Quartararo looks to be sitting pretty at the top. If he continues where he left off during the first half of the season when the Grand Prix circuit resumes in August, then it is hard to see past him becoming world champion.
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