Fabio Quartararo will join Maverick Vinales at the Yamaha factory squad in a two-year deal covering the 2021-’22 seasons, leaving Valentino Rossi without a ride at the team.
Quartararo made his mark in an extraordinary maiden MotoGP campaign last year with the Petronas SRT satellite Yamaha outfit, scorching to six pole positions and seven podium finishes across the 19-race schedule.
Pressure soon mounted on Yamaha to promote Quartararo in place of the struggling Rossi amid whispers of other factories being interested in poaching the Frenchman.
Vinales was confirmed for a further two years on Tuesday, and on Wednesday Yamaha confirmed that Quartararo will join from 2021 in place of Rossi, who has already indicated his intention to remain on the premier class grid next year.
“I will work hard, like I did last year, and I’m extremely motivated to achieve great performances,” said Quartararo on his promotion.
“I feel like the winter period is too long – I’m really excited to go to the Sepang test next week to ride my new YZR-M1 and meet and work with my crew again.
“I want to thank YMC and PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, who have given me the opportunity to enter the MotoGP class in 2019. I will give my all to do them proud again this year.”
Quartararo joined the MotoGP fold after several tough seasons across the Moto3 and Moto2 world championships, the Frenchman accruing just a single victory in that time-claimed in the ’18 Barcelona Moto2 contest with the factory Speed Up team, and a best championship result of tenth in his maiden year of Moto3 and final Moto2 season.