Championship leader Quartararo seeks to break British GP duck

London (AFP) –


Fabio Quartararo is yet to even make the podium at Silverstone but he could take a significant step towards becoming the first ever French MotoGP world champion by winning the British Grand Prix on Sunday.

The 22-year-old Yamaha rider holds a 47-point advantage over Italy's Francesco Bagnaia of Ducati with just eight races to go.

The Frenchman has shaken up the established order in MotoGP this term in surprising fashion given his far from impressive record in Moto2 and Moto3.

Quartararo, who threatens to break up the dominance of Spanish riders, however has one concern over that most British of distractions -- the weather.

Quartararo, who finished seventh last time out in Austria, is not at ease on either a drying track or when racing in light rain.

"My objective is to battle for the victory first because it is one of my favourite tracks and also because it is an important race for my team (they share the same sponsor as the race does)," said Quartararo.

"I believe it will be a good race if the conditions are fair.

"If it rains we will have to see how that pans out but we will do our best."

He will at least hope to improve on his best Silverstone showing in five appearances across all categories -- fourth in the 2015 Moto3 race.

Last year's MotoGP race at Silverstone was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Quartararo will have a new teammate this weekend with Maverick Vinales being replaced by 35-year-old Briton Cal Crutchlow.

He only came out of retirement for the Styrian and Austrian events to ride for Yamaha-SRT and finished 17th in both when he deputised for Italian Franco Morbidelli.

At SRT this weekend, Jake Dixon will make his debut as Morbidelli continues to recover from knee surgery in June.

Dixon will ride alongside nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi who will call it quits at the end of the season.

Yamaha and Suzuki have had the upper hands at Silverstone.

In 19 MotoGP races at the track, Yamaha have won seven and Suzuki six.

Reigning world champion Joan Mir leads the Suzuki charge and is third overall behind Quartararo, 47 points off the lead.

Meanwhile, it was announced Thursday that Vinales will test with his new team Aprilia at Misano on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

Vinales, dropped in controversial circumstances by Yamaha this season, will start his new career with Aprilia from 2022.