Fabio Quartararo, the champion that French motorcycle fans have been waiting for

By Jerome Porier

Posted on May 15, 2022 at 3:19 p.m., updated yesterday at 9:32 a.m.

The atmosphere was that of a merry fair. On Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 May, 110,000 people – many of whom came with their families – gathered on the Bugatti circuit in Le Mans, in Sarthe, to attend the French Motorcycle Grand Prix. They did not shy away from their happiness to meet for this great celebration of speed lovers, after two blank years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “It’s four times more than in 1994 when I organized the French Grand Prix for the first time”rejoiced Claude Michy, the promoter of the event.

At the edge of the track during the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, May 15, 2022.

If France was considered until then as the country of motocross and endurance, it is in the process of becoming passionate about speed motorcycling. Of the 21 stages on the world championship calendar, Le Mans is the race that attracts the largest crowds and captures large television audiences: in 2021, Canal+ achieved a record, at 1.8 million viewers (the event being also broadcast in clear on C8). Since it began broadcasting the Grands Prix in 2019, the encrypted channel has doubled its audiences, which prompted it to extend its broadcast agreement for six more seasons, until 2029.

The “Fabio Quartararo effect” is no stranger to this new passion. First French world champion of MotoGP (in 2021), the queen category of speed, the Niçois (23 years old) is idolized as a rock star. To take the measure of his popularity, and even if, on Sunday, he only took 4th place in the race, all you had to do was stroll through the aisles of the ” town “ of the French Grand Prix at Le Mans. The number ’20’, his racing number, adorned with two small devil horns – he is nicknamed ‘El Diablo’ after the helmet decorated with a devil he wore during his first races in Spain, at the age 7 – was ubiquitous.

Fans of Fabio Quartararo with

” It is simple. He looks cool. He did not take the melon”

“Fabio is a phenomenon like there is one in every generation. He is of the caliber of the greatest, such as the Spaniard Marc Marquez and the Italian Valentino Rossi”, respectively eight times and nine times world champions (between 2010 and 2019 and between 1997 and 2009), notes the former champion Randy de Puniet, now a consultant for Canal +. “He is the champion that France was waiting for, supports Claude Michy. He is charismatic, well-mannered, he speaks four languages, he is the face of the IKKS clothing brand, he already has four times as many followers as judoka Teddy Riner and, unlike some footballers, he is an accessible champion. , close to people. »

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