MotoGP Opening Round Breakdown

MotoGP Opening Round Breakdown

by March 25, 2021 1 comment

The 2020 MotoGP season was essentially a complete shambles due to Covid-19. Bearing in mind, MotoGP did not start up until late July. We’d also have nine of the 19 Grand Prix’s canceled for 2020. However, with a brand new season just days upon us, let’s get rolling.

Over the last three months, we’ve had a flurry of movements involving riders, manufactures, and teams. This included the departure of Alex Marquez from Repsol Honda after just one season. We’d also have Pol Espargaro switching manufactures, after four years spent with Redbull KTM. It’s going to make for one of the more engrossing campaigns in a long while.

Looking at the track specs for Losail International Circuit, it has 16 turns and is 3.343 miles in length. Artificial grass is included in order to quell sand from coming onto the track. Built in 2004, it’s still one of the newest tracks on the circuit. Andrea Dovizioso is the current winner at Losail, picking up back-to-back victories.

MotoGP

Marc Marquez will miss the first two rounds in Qatar after it was announced earlier this week. 15 weeks ago, Marquez would have surgery after suffering an infected pseudoarthrosis on his right humerus. Marquez received the injury during last season’s debut race in Jerez, Spain. As Marquez attempts to chase down a seventh MotoGP world championship, he’ll be behind the eight ball out of the gate.

Incredibly it would take Joan Mir just two seasons in which to win his first MotoGP crown. This puts him in quite elite company with riders such as Kenny Roberts, Freddie Spencer, Marquez, and Giacomo Agostini. Having won just a single race in 2020, it was that impeccable consistency that put Mir over the top.

He will need to do it without Davide Brivio in 2021. Weeks after Mir won his MotoGP title, Brivio announced he would be leaving team Suzuki to join F1 team Alpine as racing director. Suzuki will now use a seven-person committee to try and fill the breach. Only six riders in history have won a world title with Suzuki. The late Barry Sheene sits as the only rider to win back-to-back titles with the manufacture.

Enea Bastianini and Luca Marini have moved up to the MotoGP series after finishing first and second in Moto2 points respectively in 2020. The Italian duo will now join forces for 2021, signing deals with Ducati Satellite team Avintia. Bastianini combined lap times over three days of testing ranked him 15th, +1.322s back of leader Jack Miller. Marini himself would finish 21st in combined laps, trailing Miller by +1.897s.

After eight straight seasons with Yamaha’s Factory outfit, Valentino Rossi now gets an entirely fresh start. Announcing in January he had signed with Malaysian team Petronas Yamaha. The addition of French rider Fabio Quartararo would leave Rossi as persona non grata. It will be interesting to see what Rossi can accomplish with an entirely new team and now in his 26th season. Consider that 15 of his last 17 seasons were spent with Team Yamaha. Rossi last went to victory lane at Qatar in 2015 (knocking off Dovizioso).

Moto2

When Elf Marc VDS Racing signed on Sam Lowes for the 2020 season, it seemed quite outfield at the time. However, they seemed to have saw something in Lowes to give him another opportunity. After coming off back-to-back 16th place seasons, Lowes would finish third in points in 2020. His three wins combined for half his all-time career wins in Moto2 history. With Bastianini and Marini out of the picture, this might be his best chance to finally get over the hump.

Following the full series of testing, Lowes finished tops among Moto2 riders in combined lap times. However, the gap between Lowes and Marco Bezzecchi was just 0.013 seconds. The difference between both riders was that razor-sharp. Pay close attention to what goes on in qualifying (if testing is anything to go on).

It would take Remy Gardner six seasons to finally get his breakout, but it finally came to fruition in 2020. Gardner would not only pick up his first career win in the Moto2 series but smash previously held records in both podium finishes and points. He would increase his end of season rank every year. However, up until last season, Gardner had not finished better than 15th overall. Considering he’s still only 23, Gardner has plenty of time to continue to build upon his breakout performance.

Over final testing in Qatar, Joe Roberts finished 14th among riders in combined lap times. He still holds the record for the fastest lap here in 2019. Late last season, it was announced Roberts would be leaving AMT for Italtrans Racing Team after 2020. Roberts comes off a season in which he finished seventh overall, picking up 94 total points. He would also secure his first Moto2 podium finish last season, and it came during the Czech GP.


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  1. peter mcnulty
    #1 peter mcnulty 25 March, 2021, 14:06

    I would have shit myself if my front wheel got that high

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