Quartararo: Race lead one of best moments of my life

'Leading was one of the best moments of my life' - rookie Fabio Quartararo heads the MotoGP field for 12 laps at Assen.
Quartararo: Race lead one of best moments of my life

Fabio Quartararo's rocketing MotoGP career blurred past another milestone at Assen when he not only claimed back-to-back podiums but was put to the test as a race leader for the first time.

Fellow newcomer Joan Mir narrowly beat him to the accolade, but nerves soon got the better of the Suzuki rider, who ran wide a few corners later, handing Quartararo his turn at the front on lap 3 of 26.

Quartararo's satellite M1 may have suffered some scary speed-wobbles but the young Frenchman remained solid, keeping eventual winner Maverick Vinales and world champion Marc Marquez at bay to lead more laps (12) than any other rider.

The factory pair finally found a way past with ten laps to go, leaving Quartararo to seal a safe third place for Petronas Yamaha.

"The first laps were much better than the other races of the season and leading was one of the best moments of my life," he smiled. "When I was a kid I watched these races, and today I managed to lead one.

"But in the middle of the race the bike became harder to handle and when Maverick and Marc overtook me, I said,' okay. We need to think about where the second group is and hope to get the podium today'. We managed it really well. I'm really happy about this race."

Quartararo was fastest in four track sessions during the Assen weekend, and no lower than third in the others.

Quartararo's achievements in the last two races have been even more impressive given he is not fully fit due to arm-pump surgery on his right forearm, which required an ice pack after each session.

"After Barcelona, I said we would arrive 100% fit for Assen. We didn’t and in the race today I was, let’s say, giving my arm a rest on the left corners.

"Sachsenring [next weekend] is all about left corners. So I think it will be really great for us physically, for my arm. I'm really looking forward to Germany."

Quartararo has now taken two podiums, three poles and two fastest race laps from just eight appearances in the premier class. He is also up to sixth in the world championship, as the top non-factory rider.

A satellite Yamaha has never won a race during the four-stroke MotoGP era, which began in 2002.

Quartararo is on the lower-spec M1, meaning things like less RPM, plus older suspension and aerodynamics compared to team-mate Franco Morbidelli and official Yamaha riders Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi.