The last time Manila was graced by Yamaha’s MotoGP rider was in 2019 when Maverick Viñales was still a part of the team. Before that, we witnessed his pairing with ‘The Doctor’ Valentino Rossi in an epic event that saw them ride in the Yamaha Grand Prix and take the LRT to the Yamaha Monumento Station. And the world has seen plenty of changes since then. A new generation of riders would carry the winning brand of Yam aha on the racetrack.
Frenchman Fabio Quartarraro became part of the Monster Energy Yamaha Racing Team replacing the legendary Rossi in 2021. With all the pressure in the world, ‘El Diablo’ would bring the heat in the racing season. Despite issues with his arm pump in Jerez and his leathers in Barcelona, the victory at Round 2 in Qatar provided him the lift he needed. He was as composed as he could be and put together a fantastic season. Four more victories, 10 podium finishes, and five pole positions separated him from the pack, earning him and France’s first MotoGP World Championship.
Franco Morbidelli partnered with Fabio Quartararo after gaining promotion from Petronas Yamaha SRT in the same year. Back in 2019, Morbidelli finished seven races in the top six. When the Italian won his first MotoGPTM race at Misano, things only got better for him. In the following races in Teruel and Valencia, he earned two more victories for a total of three victories in 2020. Two further podium places also helped him advance to second place in the Championship standings. Due to his success, he was among the front-runners for the crown in 2021, but a knee injury ended his campaign.
With these two bannering the pinnacle of Yamaha Racing, they are beacons of greatness and inspiration to aspiring Filipino riders. With such talent and skill their mere presence would ignite the racing passion of the country. Would a pit stop in the Philippines be part of their pre-season plans? Just like many racers who came before them, a visit to the country and the love felt from fiery fans would surely be an unmissable experience to have. We can only hope that before the season begins, greatness would arrive on our racetracks.