This weekend is set to see the three main MotoGP categories of Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP begin their 2021 season at the Losail International Circuit.
At the time of writing, this weekend’s Grand Prix is the first of two races set to be held in Qatar over the next couple of weeks. This after the 2020 edition of the Qatar Grand Prix saw only Moto3 and Moto2 in action due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last season’s Moto3 race was won by Albert Arenas, ahead of John McPhee and Ai Ogura. Meanwhile the Moto2 race saw Tetsuta Nagashima take victory ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri and Enea Bastianini. Both Arenas and Bastianini would ultimately go on to claim the Moto3 and Moto2 titles respectively in 2020, and both have moved up a class for 2021.Embed from Getty Images
It looks set to be another highly competitive season in all three classes. In Moto3 John McPhee, Darryn Binder, Andrea Migno, Filip Salac, Dennis Foggia and Jaume Masia were all near the top of the times during the pre-season test at Losail. While there was also good showings from 2021 Moto3 rookies Pedro Acosta and Izan Guevara.
In Moto2 it could also be another fascinating and competitive season with Remy Gardner, Aron Canet, Joe Roberts, Jake Dixon, Jorge Navarro, Marco Bezzecchi and Sam Lowes all having been near the top of the timings during the pre-season test for the intermediate class.
Then there is of course the premier class which has seen some big rider moves during the off-season with an all new line up at the factory Ducati team, Pol Espargaro moving from KTM to Honda, and Fabio Quartararo effectively doing a ride swap with Valentino Rossi, as the former heads to the factory Yamaha team alongside Maverick Vinales while the latter heads to Petronas Yamaha SRT.
These are just some of the rider moves in the MotoGP class in what should be another highly competitive season with it being felt that the Ducatis showed strong pace during preseason. It was also noted how strong the Aprilia looked, which still has concessions, while it was also felt that Pol Espargaro has adapted quickly to the factory Honda bike.
Added to all of this is the question of when will Marc Marquez return as he continues his recovery from the injury he sustained at the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix. At the time of writing Marquez had been riding bikes again in the weeks leading up to the season opener. He however won’t be competing in either race in Qatar after being advised not to participate. This feeds into the question of what sort of rider Marquez will be in the opening races of his return, and how long it will take him to get back to the form and performance seen in the seasons prior to his accident.
All of the above are just some of the reasons as to why 2021 is set to be another intriguing and enthralling season in the three MotoGP classes. But added to this is the question of how many different race winners will there be in each of the classes. For reference last season saw 10 different winners in Moto3, seven in Moto2 and nine in the premier class.