This Sunday the MotoGP World Championship begins at the Losail circuit with Joan Mir putting his crown at stake and the initial absence of one of the favorites, Marc Márquez. It is time to make the presentations of the protagonists of a campaign that is expected to be more open than ever.
5 JOHANN ZARCO
At 30 years old, the rider who celebrates his victories with a back somersault and won two titles in a row in Moto2 begins his fifth MotoGP campaign and does so in the ranks of his fourth team in the premier class after Yamaha Tech3, where he won his 6 podiums and 4 poles, his failed adventure as a factory rider in the Red Bull KTM that ended with a contract termination in 2019, the Avintia Esponsorama, where he added a new podium and pole last year, and now the Pramac Ducati where he will have full support from Borgo Panigale and a GP21. At the moment it specializes in the top speed record: this Saturday it reached 362.4 km / h.
9 DANILO PETRUCCI
The 30-year-old Terni rider came to MotoGP in 2012 from the series derived bikes and after his beginnings in the CRT and Open era, in 2015 he entered the Ducati structures, first in Pramac where he conquered six podiums and the last two years in the Factory Ducati with 4 more podiums, two of them triumphs. The renewal of riders at Borgo Panigale led him to give a quick yes to join the second KTM team, the Tech3, to whom he will contribute his Ducati knowledge and experience
10 LUCA MARINI
The brother by the mother of the great Valentino Rossi arrives at MotoGP with a brand new Moto2 runner-up and thanks to the contacts of the VR46 device that have allowed an agreement with Ducati (a GP20 for him) and buy a space in the Avintia Esponsorama where he falls with its own name and colors, the SKY VR46 Avintia. He is one of the reasons why his brother created the VR46 Academy where he has fled outside the GGPP.
12 MAVERICK VINALES
The eternal promise of MotoGP is at 26 years old and in his seventh campaign in MotoGP at the helm of the Yamaha Factory team where he will complete his fifth campaign without the long shadow of Valentino Rossi at his side and with a partner like Fabio Quartararo so fast As the. With a record of 26 podiums, 8 of them MotoGP victories, and two third (2017 and 2019) in the championship there are no more excuses for him not to dispute the world title until the end, he has everything in his favor, maturity, personal stability and media.
20 FABIO QUARTARARO
Together with Joan Mir they are the two young riders who have most impressed the last two seasons and the first of them is already world champion. He went through small categories as the most explosive driver, but never translated it into regularity, consistency and with the world title. At the age of 22, he enters his third MotoGP campaign with a record of 10 podiums, three of them victories, and 10 poles, all in the Petronas Yamaha SRT satellite team. He makes his debut in the Yamaha Factory team and it is time to change the chip because he has everything to succeed.
21 FRANCO MORBIDELLI
At 27, the laid-back Italian-Brazilian is one of the pilots with the best image in the media for his thoughtful responses and his allegations against racism. Due to the development freeze and because no one in Iwata at the time of the distribution of motorcycles was expected to end 2020 as world runner-up, he will continue in the Petronas Yamaha SRT uploaded to the 2019 Yamaha M1 with which he ended the previous campaign. And instead of complaining all the time, he rolls up his sleeves and trusts his technician Ramon Forcada to continue taking advantage of that bike with which he added five podiums, three of them victories last year.
23 ENEA BASTIANINI
Of the young Italian talents of his generation, he is the only one who has not been trained at the VR46 Academy in Tavullia and will now share Avintia Racing with one of them, Luca Marini, with whom he will face on a daily basis. He arrives with the Moto2 world title in his pocket and his fight must be for the rookie of the year in which three Ducati riders converge.
27 IKER LECUONA
The Valencian is still at 21 years old in January the youngest on the star grid for the third consecutive season and always in the ranks of Tech3 KTM Factory Racing. After two years with Miguel Oliveira, he will now have Danilo Petrucci as his first rival and that goal of fighting for the top-10 in the race. His current handicap is that he still has compartment syndrome problems in his arms all and after having surgery.
30 TAKAAKI NAKAGAMI
In his fourth season in MotoGP, the only Japanese rider takes shelter in the veteran Crutchlow in the LCR Honda box, who was the ‘in charge’ of the results to receive Àlex Márquez and does so with the status of Honda factory rider. Last year, in the absence of Marc Márquez and the injuries caused by Crutchlow, he had to carry the weight of Honda – he finished the year top-10 – and the pressure could do it when he had the podium or the victory within reach. Broken the ice of inexperience it is time to prove something else.
32 LORENZO SAVADORI
Another Italian rider who comes from the series derived motorcycles such as Petrucci and Morbidelli and was even in the first MotoE Cup. In 2020, Aprilia signed him up for testing duties – he also ran three races – and from there he has progressed to official driver after surprisingly Noale chose him over the more experienced Bradley Smith this winter. But the contact initiated by Aprilia with Andrea Dovizioso hangs over him and it is far from clear that he will remain the team’s second rider all year.
33 BRAD BINDER
His MotoGP debut earned him the title of rookie of the year and a triumph in his third premier class race, something that had not been seen in a rookie since Jorge Lorenzo in 2008. The South African also made history for KTM by bringing the first in Brno. MotoGP victory for the Austrian firm and although he did not return to the podium and suffered many rookie falls, his great pace in the race did not go unnoticed. In his second year, he has an old teammate in the lower categories, Miguel Oliveira, by his side, and together they have everything to continue growing.
36 JOAN MIR
Riding a Suzuki that proved to be the most complete bike on all circuits and thanks to the regularity and consistency from which the rest suffered, the Majorcan Joan Mir became MotoGP world champion at just 23 years old in his second campaign in the queen category. That No. 1 that he will only carry in the play on words with his last name ‘M1R’ gives him the status of favorite and he has already shown his head when it comes to working for the championship. If he corrects his results in the ‘qualy’ and starts ahead on the grid, it will be easier for him to try to renew the crown.
41 ALEIX ESPARGARO
Aleix Espargaró has been a star rider on the grid since 2010 and since 2015, whether at Suzuki or Aprilia, in official teams where much of his work has focused on development. For 2021 Noale will be the only factory with concessions and without frozen development it is a good wild card to try to surprise as KTM did in 2020 and begin to sign its best results. And if in the end they put Andrea Dovizioso by their side, their growth can be exponential.
42 ALEX RINS
If Joan Mir was world champion with Suzuki in 2020, nothing prevents Àlex Rins from following in the wake of his partner on the most balanced bike on the grid. He has speed and is determined in the race and in his four seasons with Hamamatsu he has added 12 podiums, three of them wins. If the injuries respect him, he has everything to be champion, but as in the case of his teammate, they better overcome their problems with the ‘qualy’.
43 JACK MILLER
It is another of the eternal promises that this year must really explode. The 26-year-old Australian faces for the first time in his seventh MotoGP campaign the stripes of being an official rider and the long shadow of his compatriot Casey Stoner, the only MotoGP champion for Ducati in 2007, is haunting him. He has accumulated 10 podiums in his record, but since the victory in the crazy and aquatic race of Assen in 2016 with the Honda satellite and in his rookie year he has not returned to the top and last year he already squandered several opportunities when it comes to gamble by running out of tires.
44 POL ESPARGARO
At almost 30 years old, the youngest of the Granollers brothers is faced with the great opportunity of his life and is already digesting that pressure. He dreams of riding for Repsol Honda since he was a child and has had to cut a lot of stone in his years as Yamaha satellite (2014-16) and Red Bull KTM (2017-20) where he is already missing after being responsible for the development of that bike now a winner, but it was not with him (6 podiums). In the box Repsol Honda hope they have finally found the perfect counterpoint for Marc Márquez and have two tricks for victories and titles.
46 VALENTINO ROSSI
‘The Doctor’ closes his circle in MotoGP by riding again in the premier class for a satellite team (Petronas Yamaha SRT) as in his debut back in 2000 in the 500cc (Nastro Azzurro Honda). He has not lost his status as an Iwata factory rider, but he knows that he has left behind his glory years of his 7 MotoGP titles. At 42 years old he asks himself to be competitive again and not like the last two years, in preseason he has been, and in summer he will decide if he retires at the end of the year or continues for two more, which is his goal.
63 FRANCESCO BAGNAIA
‘Pecco’, 24 years old, is another of the pearls formed in the VR46 Academy and after two years practicing in the Pramac Ducati (1 podium) he will make his debut in 2021 as an official Ducati rider. In Borgo Panigale they trust that it could be the Bagnaia year, speed has already shown that it has and in Moto2 it has already blanked out at the time of closing a championship. It is the classic example that without being explosive and working hard you can get to the top.
73 ALEX MARQUEZ
Jorge Lorenzo’s abrupt goodbye forced Repsol Honda officials to improvise a substitute in the figure of the Moto2 champion who proved to be very brave in accepting the challenge. Despite running out of the important help that his brother Marc could give him in the box, with effort and work he ended up being very competitive on a couple of circuits where he was on the podium. For 2021 the pressure of being in the official Honda team is removed and without giving up anything because he will continue with the official motorcycle, he will be able to continue working on his personal growth.
88 MIGUEL OLIVEIRA
He is another of the riders who in his second year in MotoGP gave the bell, in his case contributing two wins to KTM from the theoretical Tech3 satellite team. This 2021 passes to the official team of Mattighofen taking the place of Pol Espargaró and the commitment with Brad Binder is to show that the KTM was not the flower of a day or the fruit of a complex year due to the pandemic and that they can also aspire to the title.
89 JORGE MARTIN
The rookie of the year title will be settled between three Ducati riders, Bastianini, Marini and ‘Martinator’ who of the three is the only one who will enjoy the explosive GP21. The 23-year-old from Madrid is another of the pearls of Spanish motorcycling and has the character and personality to already leave his signature in his rookie year and look for a podium entry this season.
93 MARC MARQUEZ
After a blank year due to the fracture of the humerus in his right arm that occurred in a fall in the first Jerez race and that required up to three operations, the ‘Tro de Cervera’ wants to return when he can once again be the pilot who Since 2013 he has won six of the eight world titles and 82 victories in this period and always true to his style. Just that he is on the track will already be a determining factor for all the scenarios to change and he is the great candidate for the crown even if he gives two races of advantage to his rivals.