MotoGP ’21 Preview: Season of Mir and Marquez?

Joan Mir – 2021 MotoGP World Champion ( Image Suzuki)

Is 2021 going to the season of M&Ms?  Mir and Marquez – defending champ and wannabe return-from-injury champ…

Consistency is what earned Joan Mir the world crown last year for Suzuki. It wasn’t that he dominated in any way, only winning once all season. In fact, 2020, after the return from Covid-19 lockdown, was a season in which dominance was completely absent from MotoGP and truth be told, it was actually pretty nice…

Last season we witnessed nine different winners in a single season and  consequently one of the most interesting seasons in a very long time with 15 different riders standing on the podium. Is it likely that the reason for this strange and wonderful phenomenon was that senor Marc Marquez – the dominator for so long- was out with a severe arm injury-the answer is a resounding yes!

So this coming weekend (Mar 28) the riders line-up again to kick-off the 2021 season in Qatar. There have been some changes as usual. With riders changing teams or stepping down from the sport.  Defending champ Joan Mir will line-up for Suzuki, but will Marc Marquez make it to the start line next weekend on his Honda?

Will Marquez Be Fit To Start?

It seems unlikely at this stage as he has just started riding again, not MotoGP bikes mind you, but more gentle variants to get himself back to full riding fitness.

The other question is: Once he returns to the grid – how fast will Marquez get back to business and back to his racing speed? Based on history, it may not be long, but will his injury affect his mind and confidence after five complicated surgeries and a season out of the saddle?

Marquez’s new teammate – Pol Espargaro is adjusting from a switch from KTM and seems to be doing pretty well adjusting to the Honda, so he cannot be discounted either as a front runner.

We know that Joan Mir will be Mr. Consistent again. But what about the rest of the field. Fabio Quatararo who showed early season promise last year, before fading mid-season swaps machines with Valentino Rossi – from satellite to factory Yamaha.

Yamaha Needs Consistency

Inconsistency was the main reason for the Yamaha squad’s failure to capture the title in 2020. One race weekend the bikes were  right on the pace and the next they were all struggling with set-up. Quatataro had three early wins and then nada. The others like Vinales and Rossi were lucky to ever have the podium in sight. Vinales scored two P2s and Rossi didn’t get there at all – for what would be for his elusive 200th trip to the steps

Jack Miller flies the flag for Ducati again in 2021 ( Image: Red Bull)

Ducati and Miller Favs?

Ducati took the constructor’s title last season, but their once favored son, Andrea Dovidioso has left Ducati for a sabbatical leaving Australian flyer Jack Miller as the number one for the Italian marque. (Breaking news:  this week is that Dovi may not be sitting around for long and will be test riding Aprilias in a few weeks).

Miller is considered to be another one the favorites for the title in 2021 and in early testing he showed impressive form topping the timesheets.

Can KTM Win Again?

How about KTM? Miguel Olivera joins Brad Binder in the factory team, for a powerful pairing. Binder won once last year for his maiden win and Olivera won twice. If the KTM fares better than it did in early testing in Qatar, it could also be force to be reckoned with.

We can only hope that 2021 will bring as much excitement as 2020 did. If Marquez makes a slow delayed comeback to the season it will leave the door open again for multiple winners and podium finishers. However, if Marquez returns on top form brimming with confidence 2021 could be yet another fairly boring repeat of previous seasons. I personally hope not!

Will KTM be front runners again? ( Image Red Bull)

MotoGP 2021 Calendar

RaceDateCountryVenue
128th Mar.QatarLosail
24th Apr.QatarLosail
318th Apr.PortugalPortimao
42nd MaySpainJerez
516th MayFranceLe Mans
630th MayItalyMugello
76th Jun.SpainCatalunya
820th Jun.GermanySachsenring
927th Jun.NetherlandsAssen
1011th Jul.FinlandKymiRing
1115th Aug.AustriaSpielberg
1229th Aug.Great BritainSilverstone
1312th Sep.SpainAragón
1419th Sep.ItalyMisano
153rd Oct.JapanMontegi
1610th Oct.ThailandChang
1724th Oct.AustraliaPhillip Island
1831st Oct.MalaysiaSepang
1914th Nov.SpainTormo