Quartararo follows Lawson's footsteps: winning as a satellite

The American did it in 1989, with Honda and in a team captained at a technical level by Erv Kanemoto. Those who were closest later were Rossi, Sete and Melandri.


The MotoGP grid has been so close in recent times that it is no longer news to see riders from satellite teams in the top positions. The different brands have always had a predilection for their factory equipment, but since the introduction of the single switchboard, to equalize the forces, and the prohibition of renting their mechanics to other structures at the price and in the way they want, it has been possible again See satellites with victory options in each race. And this year, with the spectacular start of Fabio Quartararo, with two victories out of two possible, there is also a satellite pilot who could be champion, which has not been seen since 1989, because Rossi was already an official pilot in 2001 even though he won with the Nastro Azzurro's colors and not those of Repsol Honda.

Eddie Lawson did it with the Honda of a parallel team to the official one that Erv Kanemoto captained at a technical level. The American had been champion of 500cc uploaded to the Yamaha in the years 84, 86 and 88, taking at the end of the season of 1988 the number 1 of champion to the ranks of Honda. The golden wing had by then set up its official team with already champion Wayne Gardner and an emerging figure who would later win five titles in a row, Mick Doohan. Honda took in a Lawson who left Yamaha planted and to whom he gave official material, although in a satellite squad, under the tutelage of the prestigious Kanemoto. Lawson conquered that title thanks to his consistency, with only four victories, but with nine more podiums (four seconds and five third parties), ahead of a young Rainey who the following year would begin his dynasty of three consecutive titles.

Since then, there have been three satellite pilots capable of being second overall in the queen class, although in reality only Sete Gibernau dreamed of being champion. The Spaniard fought the title against Valentino Rossi in 2003 and 2004, from Fausto Gresini's Honda satellite team, although in the end he finished far behind the Italian in the general classification on both occasions (80 and 47 points). The Italian had been precisely, in his first year in 500cc, the best satellite that had been seen since Lawson. It was in the year 2000, the first of all those he leads in the queen class, and he fell 49 points behind Kenny Roberts Jr with the Nastro Azzurro squad that Honda mounted for his debut. It had black leg material, but outside the official box, the Repsol Honda, which included Álex Crivillé, Tadayuki Okada and the aforementioned Gibernau. In 2001, the Italian was already champion with those same colors, being the very official of the golden wing Crivillé and Ukawa, but with much more official support than Lawson had in his day and that Quartararo had this year in principle.

Another pilot who reached the runner-up as a satellite pilot, again in the Gresini team, was Marco Melandri, who in 2005, when Rossi was untouchable, was the first of the mortals, although 147 points behind the head.

Now Quartararo has before him the opportunity to follow in Lawson's footsteps in '89, something that is no longer surprising given how 2020 started and because last year there were many races in which his Yamaha M1 in the Petronas team colors was capable to cross the finish line ahead of Rossi and Maverick Viñales' officials.

Photos from as.com
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