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French Grand Prix – Le Mans awaits Fabio Quartararo for the biggest weekend in its history?

Claude Michy announces a return to the great crowds of the past. The promoter of the Grand Prix de France expects more than 100,000 spectators this weekend on the Bugatti circuit. Considering that the speed world championship has turned the page on the Valentino Rossi years, the headliner on which any organizer counted to fill its stands.

This regeneration was hard to imagine a year ago, but with the advent of Fabio Quartararo and the good results of Johann Zarco at the highest level have made Claude Michy’s task easier. Who explains it thus in the columns of Moto Journal: “For a few years, there has been a scissors effect. First we had the arrival of Marc Marquez, then the revelation of the French at the highest level (…) with a very competitive and breathless championship. helped to gradually reduce the media weight of Valentino Rossi on the discipline.”

The boss of the event adds that the election of the Yamaha rider as athlete of the year by several French media has only reinforced the popularity of the world champion in France. This one became especially visible in the street last February, on black and white advertising posters making “El Diablo” the new face of IKKS, a clothing brand popular with young people. It’s a fact, the Niçois has begun to go beyond the framework of his sport and this should be seen as additional recognition, which gives him a new dimension, beyond his sport-straitjacket.

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Towards a historic Grand Prix

This weekend, Fabio Quartararo returns to Bugatti, where almost everything will revolve around him, without insulting the other French drivers or teams entered in the different categories. The Niçois has yet to write the most beautiful chapter in its history. “I’m positive about this weekend, but we’ll see.confides the pilot who remains on a second place in Jerez de la Frontera. The season is unpredictable. But it’s still my Grand Prix at home, and I will definitely push to the limit and give it my all.” Which Yamaha Factory Team Principal Massimo Meregalli confirms by saying: “He’s going to use his position as the championship leader to drive home the point.” And to qualify the Le Mans round as “good opportunity” for Yamaha. The deficiencies of the M1 in terms of power should indeed be less obvious on this circuit devoid of a long straight line.

If Fabio Quartararo’s objective is naturally to finally win in front of his home crowd, he first hopes to leave Sarthe still as the leader of the world championship. In a very open, ultra-competitive MotoGP season, the objective is to accumulate the good results to win this test of wear and tear that will be the race for the title. Last year, he had also taken power after the Grand Prix de France never to let go, by signing an almost unexpected third place for this driver openly not very comfortable in the wet.

Monneret’s successor?

But since then, he has gained confidence in difficult conditions – his second place in Indonesia proved it – and he is ready to go for this victory, helped by this bright sun which should illuminate the Le Mans circuit. For an unforgettable weekend? This is what Christophe Guyot, a close friend of Claude Michy, thinks anyway.

“There was no audience and 2020 and it was reduced to a trickle in 2021recalls the director of the Yamaha GMT94 in Supersport and Moto consultant for Eurosport. There, we are perhaps – I think – on the greatest Grand Prix of France in history. The expected world is extremely large, with great enthusiasm, and it will be sunny! There is unprecedented public expectation. There was Johann Zarco’s pole position in 2017, but in terms of enthusiasm, we’ve never seen that.”

Claude Michy said it, MotoGP has reinvented itself thanks to a new generation of riders, and beyond his international stature, Fabio Quartararo is there this weekend to thrill the French crowd, who only seen one of his own triumph on his land, but that was a long time ago, in the person of Pierre Monneret, in Reims in 1954.

“I realize this as a team: if we don’t have a French driver, we don’t exist!admits Christophe Guyot. The question of these races is ‘What will the committed Frenchman do?’ And there we have the reigning world champion and leader of the world championship. In short, we have the butter, the silver of the butter, and the creamer. All what !”

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The educational role of the track

When you remember the clamor that greeted Louis Rossi’s victory in Moto3 in 2012, you can imagine the ovation that would be reserved for Fabio Quartararo. And not just for his victory but for everything he’s been doing for months now to boost the tricolor bike, including in a more confidential way. Because well before the victories, the pilot of the M1 n°20 gave his time in the piloting schools to advise his hopes, to find his talents of tomorrow. And take your sport higher in France. Break down some barriers too.

“The interest in motorcycling is no longer around a sport that can arouse fears as was the case for a long time, but which appears to be a real sporting discipline.notes Christophe Guyot. This is where Fabio brought something very important that will help young people, parents. I have campaigned since the beginning to explain that the circuit is what helps young people to protect themselves, that of course motorcycle racing remains dangerous, but infinitely less than going fast on the road; that it is an outlet, an important element to take into consideration for young people. I have been confronted for years, in high schools, colleges, with parents, with institutions, with this fear of the motorcycle which is scary. There, the bike took on the dimension of high-level sport that it struggled to have in France.”

“At this level, Fabio has a real contributioncontinues the boss of the emblematic GMT94. I realize this with the people I meet, at the Marie d’Ivry, at the Val de Marne General Council. I hear admiring “Ah Fabio…” and more ‘he’s crazy’, ‘he always has his elbow on the ground’, ‘he’s sick’. He appears as a high-level sportsman who brings a transformation of the image of the motorcycle in the French public. And that can only help young people in the expansion of our sport. And it is also a solution to help young people aged 14 to 18 to satisfy their passion, their need for speed, which only the circuit can do.”

“We spent time together in the bends, last July in Clastres, at the Blu Cru Camp Yamaha, to observe, advise, the young people. Fabio got involved, it was very interesting. I can say it: he made for fun”, adds Christophe Guyot.Fabio Quartararo has already done a lot for French motorcycling and this is only the beginning. And his victory on Sunday could go far beyond what he can imagine.

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