Battle rages at the Cathedral of Speed

Going into the weekend Remy Gardner leads the Moto2 championship by 36 points from his teammate Raul Fernandez, but the rookie earns his fourth pole of the season, as an eventful race sees him dropping back to ninth then clawing his way back to emerge victorious in the 9th round of Moto2 2021.

Image courtesy of KTM/Rob Gray (Polarity Photo)

Fernandez’s teammate Remy Gardner starts from 2nd place and Sam Lowes completes the front row, ahead of Aron Canet in 4th, Ai Ogura 5th and Jorge Navarro starting 6th.

Off the line it is Canet who gets the best start, forcing Raul out wide into the first bend, causing him to drop back to 4th. Della Porta who started 8th gets caught in the middle of the group into turn 2 – catches the rear wheel of Navarro and is spat off, fortunately avoiding the other machines as his bike is launched into the air from the centre of the pack.

Canet leads, Gardner in second is closely followed by Lowes in third. Tony Arbolino crashes out uninjured shortly after at turn 7, his bike flipping across the gravel.

Lowes moves up past Gardner, then takes Canet to lead at the end of the first lap – Lowes leads briefly before Canet reclaims the lead.

Ai Ogura and Augusto Fernandez pass Raul Fernandez. Raul runs wide through turns 6 & 7 and drops back to ninth as Schrotter passes him.

Image courtesy of KTM/Rob Gray (Polarity Photo)

Gardner passes Lowes out of the chicane, and Lowes gets back past Canet to move back into 2nd

Joe Roberts crashes out at turn 9, meaning that both Italtrans bikes are out of the race.

Augusto Fernandez moves up into 3rd, as Raul battles for 7th, then gradually works himself back up to 6th.

With 20 laps to go Lowes starts to close the gap on Gardner. Approaching the start/finish line Lowes slots past, the two almost swapping paint, but Augusto Fernandez spots his opportunity and passes both of them, taking the lead, making it a 1-2 for Elf Marc VDS Racing Team, Gardner in 3rd and Aron Canet in 4th. Meanwhile Raul Fernandez is back up to 5th, and DiGiannantonio moves up past Ai Ogura into 6th.

On lap 7 Raul passes Canet to move up to 4th, as Lowes, who is all over the back of Augusto, passes him to take the lead. A gap of just over a second separates Gardner in 3rd and Raul in 4th, giving Raul a clear space to push on.

Image courtesy of KTM/Rob Gray (Polarity Photo)

Gardner slots past Augusto into 2nd, and 3 laps later Raul catches Augusto, but Augusto takes Gardner to move back into 2nd.

On lap 14 Augusto Fernandez increases the pressure on Sam Lowes, passing him to take the lead, as Raul gets past his teammate Gardner to move up into 3rd.

Gardner starts to drop back slightly from the top 3, and shortly after Raul takes Lowes to move up into 2nd place. The leading 4 start to spread out as Lowes struggles to match Raul Fernandez’s pace, as DiGiannantonio crashes out at turn 9 from 6th.

Raul pursues Augusto, edging ever closer until he makes the move along the start/finish straight at the end of lap 17, with Augusto unable to come back at him.

Augusto runs wide, giving Lowes the opportunity to move up into 2nd. Raul is starting to stretch out his lead with a 0.8 second lead over Lowes.

Lap 20 sees Aron Canet crashes out of 7th place, sliding into the gravel at turn 3.

Image courtesy of KTM/Rob Gray (Polarity Photo)

Raul leads by over a second, breaking away from Lowes, Augusto and Gardner. Into lap 22 at the end of the start/finish straight Augusto gets the drive past Lowes to move up into second. Lowes checks over his left shoulder into turn 1, as Gardner slips past on his right, dropping Lowes down into 4th.

At the end of lap 23 Gardner passes Augusto, who pushes hard but is unable to come back at Gardner.

Raul Fernandez takes his third win of the season, ahead of his teammate Remy Gardner, with Augusto Fernandez claiming the 3rd podium spot.

Gardner’s lead at the top of the championship narrows slightly to 31 points ahead of Raul Fernandez going into the summer break, Fernandez extends his lead over 3rd place Bezzecchi from 11 points to 25, and Lowes holds onto 4th place overall.  With ten rounds still to go can Gardner hold onto the lead or will rookie Raul Fernandez spring yet more surprises?

Image courtesy of KTM/Rob Gray (Polarity Photo)

 

First fifteen riders:

1              Raul Fernandez SPA – Red Bull Ajo KTM – 25 points

2              Remy Gardner AUS – Red Bull Ajo KTM – 20

3              Augusto Fernandez SPA –  – 16

4              Sam Lowes BRI – Elf Marc VDS Racing Team – 13

5              Marco Bezzecchi ITA – Sky Racing Team VR46 – 11

6              Ai Ogura JPN – IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia – 10

7              Jorge Navarro SPA – MB Conveyors Speed Up – 9

8              Xavi Vierge SPA – Petronas Sprinta Racing – 8

9              Marcel Schrotter GER – Liqui Moly Intact – 7

10           Celestino Vietti ITA – SKY Racing Team VR46 – 6

11           Somkiat Chantra THA – IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia – 5

12           Albert Arenas SPA – Inde Aspar Team – 4

13           Stefano Manzi ITA – Flexbox HP40 – 3

14           Thomas Luthi SWI – Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team – 2

15           Bo Bendsneyer NED – Pertamina SAG – 1

 

Gardner extends lead in Moto2 championship

Remy Gardner dominated the 8th round of Moto2 at the Sachsenring in Germany to take third win in a row, increasing his lead at the top of the championship.

Raul Fernandez at the 2021 Moto2 Le Mans Race. Image courtesy of Rob Gray (Polarity Photo)/KTM

Heading into the weekend, Gardner on 139 points was only 11 points ahead of his teammate Raul Fernandez, with Italian Marco Bezzecchi 3rd on 101, and Britain’s Sam Lowes 4th on 75.

The Sachsenring, at 2.28 miles, is a tight, twisty track, and the focus for the weekend was on tyre preservation. High temperatures on Friday and Saturday, with a slightly cooler temperature on race day also added to the tension, with the whole field on a hard compound on the front and a soft rear.

A blistering lap time of 1:23.397 in Q2 earned Raul Fernandez pole, pushing Di Giannantonio into 2nd, with Remy Gardner completing the front row. After a crash in Q2, Britain’s Sam Lowes started on the 3rd row of the grid in 7th place.

Fernandez took the lead off the line, closely followed by Gardner. Di Giannantonio dropped back into 6th, and Xavi Vierge moved up from 5th on grid up into 3rd.

The opening laps seemed to be shaping up to be another battle between Fernandez and Gardner, as the two Ajo KTMs pulled away from the rest of the field, with a half second gap opening up behind them to Vierge.

On lap two, Gardner passed his teammate and took the lead, as Sam Lowes dropped back into 14th.

The Ajo’s increased their lead with every lap – 2.5 secs ahead of third place on lap 3, and on lap 4 a gap of 3.8 secs.

Gardner settled into a rhythm putting in faster lap times, with Raul Fernandez pushing hard to stay on his tail, but on Lap 5 the rookie showed his lack of experience and lost the front end at turn 3, sliding into the gravel and out of the race.

Spain’s Aron Canet, who started 10th on the grid, had worked his way up through the field and now moved up to second, starting to pull away from Bezzecchi.

Gardner, riding a lonely race, gradually stretched out his lead to 5 seconds ahead of Canet with Bezzecchi in 3rd.

On lap 21 Lowes moved up into 8th place, meanwhile Bezzecchi & Di Giannantonio swapped places in a battle for 3rd, with Bezzecchi eventually making it stick.

Gardner extended his lead to 6.5 secs over 2nd place Canet, who in turn was over 2 seconds ahead of Bezzecchi.

On lap 26 Honda Team Asia rookie Ai Ogura passed Xavi Vierge to move up into 5th, and both Ogura and Bezzecchi started to close in on Canet.

Remy Gardner at the 2021 Le Mans Moto2 RaceImage courtesy of Rob Gray (Polarity Photo)/KTM

The last lap brought yet more surprises, with Vierge, running in 6th, crashing out on turn 1, followed by Joe Roberts at the same corner, and Ai Ogura out on turn 8. Gardner crossed the line comfortably ahead of Canet who held onto 2nd, with Bezzecchi in 3rd. Di Giannantonio claimed 4th, and after the incidents on the last lap Sam Lowes moved up to take 5th.

The gap at the top of the championship has now widened, with Gardner going into the next round at Assen 36 points clear of teammate Fernandez, who is now only 11 points ahead of Bezzecchi. Can Fernandez pull something out of the bag at the Dutch TT, or will Gardner make it four in a row and further increase his lead?

First fifteen riders:

1              Remy Gardner AUS – Red Bull Ajo KTM – 25 points

2              Arón Canet SPA – Aspar Team – 20

3              Marco Bezzecchi ITA – SKY Racing Team VR46 – 16

4              Fabio Di Giannantonio ITA – Federal Oil Gresini – 13

5              Sam Lowes BRI – Elf Marc VDS Racing Team – 11

6              Marcel Schrotter GER – Liqui Moly Intact – 10

7              Jorge Navarro SPA – MB Conveyors Speed Up – 9

8              Albert Arenas SPA – Inde Aspar Team – 8

9              Marcos Ramirez SPA – American Racing – 7

10           Cameron Beaubier USA – American Racing – 6

11           Nicolo Bulega ITA – Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 – 5

12           Alonso López SPA – Flexbox HP40 – 4

13           Bo Bendsneyer NED – Pertamina SAG – 3

14           Barry Baltus        BEL – NTS RW Racing GP – 2

15           Celestino Vietti ITA – SKY Racing Team VR46 – 1

Rookie Fernandez Takes Second Win of the Season

All eyes were on the weather this weekend at Le Mans, with the 2.6 mile Bugatti circuit plagued by changeable conditions during qualifying. Saturday saw plenty of yellow flags, with damp patches catching out many. However, the weather improved enough overnight for Sunday to be declared a dry race.

At the start of the weekend only 6 points separated the top 3 in the championship, with Remy Gardner leading on 69 points, and Sam Lowes second with 66. Raul Fernandez, in his rookie season in Moto2, rounded out the top 3 on 63 points, after gaining victory in the third race of the season in Portugal.

Lowes went into the weekend having won the first two races of the season, at Qatar and Doha, and race 4 in Spain saw Fabio Di Giannantonio on the top step of the podium.

Another one to watch this weekend was the Brit Jake Dixon, who came so close to winning at Le Mans last year only to crash out four laps from the finish.

Sam Lowes started strong, setting the fastest lap in FP2 on the Friday, with just over a 10th off the outright lap record but it was Raul Fernandez who emerged victorious in qualifying, setting the fastest qualifying lap at 1’50.135 to gain his maiden pole in Moto2.

Bezzecchi, whose fastest lap was only 0.240 behind Fernandez, lined up second on the grid, and third was Joe Roberts, who had started from pole at Le Mans in 2020.

Lowes was nudged further down the order, starting from the fourth row of the grid in 10th place, and Jake Dixon was way back in 26th.

Bezzecchi made the best start off the line and led from the outset, R Fernandez taking second, and the American Joe Roberts in third.

Aron Canet, starting 4th, briefly moved up into 2nd, before crashing out at the Chemin ux Boeufs esses.

Lowes went out on the fifth lap, attempting to overtake into turn 8, catching a damp spot and collecting Vierge, resulting in Lowes retiring, unable to restart his machine.

Joe Roberts also left the race on lap 5, losing the front end at turn 9 and heading into the gravel.

Meanwhile at the front, Fernandez caught Bezzecchi and moved up into the lead, remaining there for the rest of the race.

Having dropped down the order early on, Remy Gardner worked his way back up, putting in the fastest lap of the race at 1’36.893.

By lap 16, Gardner was back up into 3rd and starting to close the gap. Bezzecchi runs slightly deep and onto the green paint beyond the track limits, and Gardner seized his chance to move up into 2nd.

Again, as on Saturday, the dark clouds started to gather, raising the possibility of the race being cut short, but the rain held off long enough to complete the full race distance.

Gardner can’t quite catch his teammate, with Fernandez maintaining nearly a one second lead to win the second Moto2 race in his rookie season. Gardner finishes a comfortable second, resulting in a team Red Bull KTM Ajo one-two on the podium. Bezzecchi takes the third spot, with Arbolino less than 3 seconds behind him in fourth.

Fabio Di Giannantonio, winner of the previous Moto2 race two weeks ago in Spain, finishes 8th and Jake Dixon is well off the pace, finishing 19th.

The weekend comes to an end with the championship even closer – Remy Gardner holds onto his lead with 89 points, but Fernandez is breathing down his neck with 88, and Marco Bezzecchi moves up into third with 72. Sam Lowes, his 66 points unchanged after a difficult weekend, moves down to fourth.

This leaves Lowes with plenty of work to do going into the 6th round at the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello in 2 weeks time. All eyes will be on the rookie Raul Fernandez, with Gardner facing a battle on his hands to keep hold of that top spot in the championship.

First fifteen riders:

1 Raul Fernandez SPA – Red Bull Ajo KTM – 25 points

2 Remy Gardner AUS – Red Bull Ajo KTM – 20

3 Marco Bezzecchi ITA – Sky Racing Team VR46 – 16

4 Tony Arbolino ITA – Liqui Moly Intact GP – 13

5 Bo Bendsneyer NED – Pertamina SAG – 11

6 Marcel Schrotter GER – Liqui Moly Intact – 10

7 Ai Ogura JPN – IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia – 9

8 Fabio Di Giannantonio ITA – Federal Oil Gresini – 8

9 Simone Corsi ITA – MV Agusta Forward Racing – 7

10 Jorge Navarro SPA – MB Conveyors Speed Up – 6

11 Lorenzo Dalla Porta ITA – Italtrans Racing Team – 5

12 Somkiat Chantra THA – IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia – 4

13 Nicolo Bulega ITA – Federal Oil Gresini – 3

14 Marcos Ramirez SPA – American Racing – 2

15 Albert Arenas SPA – Inde Aspar Team – 1

Dream double-header making History for Brit in Qatar

It was a Qatar dream to end the double-header for British rider Sam Lowes in the jam-packed Moto2 race at the Losail International Circuit.

Sam Lowes, Winner of the second round of the 2021 MotoGP championship. Remy Gardner second and Raul Fernandez. Image courtesy of Rob Gray (Polarity Photo)|KTM

Sam became the first British rider since Mike Hailwood to win the opening 2 rounds of the season in the intermediate class since 1966.

Despite the victory, challenging weather conditions throughout the entirety of the weekend made it challenging for teams across the board – battling against the Doha winds and dust in order to find the pace and comfortable set-up for race day.

The Adriatic man Marco Bezzecchi lead the race for the opening laps after getting a fantastic start, however it wasn’t enough for the Elf Marc VDS rider to sit and watch behind him – as with 17 laps to go Sam was able to overtake and held on comfortably for the entirety. It wasn’t particularly peachy for all riders though, as things soon turned sour for a number of laps as the pressure was heightened. 

One of the victims of this was John Hopkins’ apprentice Joe Roberts who, although finished a respectable 6th last weekend under the lights – on the 8th lap tucked into a slide. This was also bad news for Ai Ogura, who in order to avoid Robert’s sliding machine had to run far wide off track. 

Joining fellow American rider was Cameron Beaubier who with 12 laps to go came off his machine. Cameron had been strong all weekend with the American Racing Team, last weekend finishing 11th. It had been a positive weekend for the team with Beaubier getting to grips with the track, bike and team despite the challenging conditions.

It wasn’t all sunshine and positive endings for the Brits today. Petronas SRT rider Jake Dixon suffered a fairly mystical accident with 7 laps to go today, looking upon inspection taking Marcel Shrötter down with him. The crash was not actually shown live, but instead panned to imagery of both riders and their machines down. Liqui Moly Intact GP rider Shrötter appeared up and unharmed during the live race, however Dixon was still down. Later reports confirmed that it was a solo racing incident on behalf of the Brit that unfortunately couldn’t be avoided by Shrötter. Thankfully, Jake confirmed on his Twitter account that although gutted with ending the weekend with a DNF he was feeling okay after the crash.

Following last weekends’ penalty involving team mate Xavi Vierge, it’s fair to say Jake is looking ahead to Portimao with a clean, fresh head with the focus to maintain the fantastic pace he’s shown in the opening two rounds of the championship.

Towards the end of the race Solunion Aspar Team rider Canet ended a tough weekend for the team in the gravel – following not far behind by SAG Team rider Thomas Luthi who has been fairly under the radar this weekend. The initial incident for Luthi made for worrying viewing, however the rider was up and unharmed.

It was a stunning race for Red Bull Ajo KTM team with last weeks’ runner up Remy Gardner showing no defeat this weekend. He consistently held good pace not letting Lowes get away. Smashing Luthi’s all-time lap record at the circuit in the final lap, Gardner walked away with another 20 points in the bag. Orange plastered the podium as joined beside his team mate was rookie Raul Fernandez who has shown great pace all weekend, proving that not all rookie’s need time to settle! 

Personal special mention to Stefano Manzi who, to say the least has had a few seasons of finding his feet again in order to find the right bike for him. He held strong and consistent pace today which was reflected highly in his lap times and ultimately his finishing result of 8th position. A fantastic result for himself and the Pons Racing team.

FIRST FIFTEEN RIDERS

1 – Sam Lowes

2 – Remy Gardner

3 – Raul Fernandez

4 – Marco Bezzecchi

5 – Ai Ogura

6 – Augusto Fernandez

7 – Celestino Vietti

8 – Stefano Manzi

9 – Xavi Vierge

10 – Fabio Di Giannantonio

11 – Tony Arbolino

12 – Bo Bensnyder

13 – Jorge Navarro

14 – Lorenzo Dalla Porta

15 – Albert Arenas  

Overall, what a way to kick start the season. This weekends’ racing is an absolute credit to all those working hard to ensure us viewers have access to a safe season of racing. The upcoming Portimao race leaves Lowes ahead of the game with 50 points in the bag, Gardner only shy behind with 40.

As they say where our bikes land next, vejo você em breve!

Sam Lowes takes first win of the season in Moto2 in Qatar

Sam Lowes became the first British rider since the late, great Barry Sheene to win an opening grand prix of the season. Although Sheene’s last opening day victory was in 1979, he did win the opening races in both his title years 1976 & 1977 and Lowes will hope for the same success by the end of the season.

Sam Lowes, Image courtesy of Polarity Photo/KTM

The 30-year-old was in commanding form all weekend, second in FP1 and fastest in FP2 before taking pole position on Saturday. Although he was passed by both Bo Bendsneyder and Marco Bezzecchi at the start he soon took the lead and controlled the race from the front. After missing out on a challenge for the 2020 title through injury, the 2013 World Supersport champion will be hoping every race weekend goes as smoothly as this one.

Remy Gardner finished second for Red Bull KTM Ajo after passing his teammate Raul Fernandez with twelve laps to go. Although the Australian rider could not catch Lowes, he did finish three seconds ahead of third place after a solid ride. Fernandez dropped down to fifth place in the end but should be delighted with his showing over the weekend, especially qualifying on the front row on his debut.

The battle for the last step on the podium was a great one between Italian riders Fabio Di Giannantonio and Marco Bezzecchi. In the end, Gresini rider Di Giannantonio came out victorious and it was a great tribute to the late Fausto Gresini to see one of his riders on the podium. It was the fifth podium for the 22-year-old who is still chasing that first elusive win. Bezzecchi was fourth overall last season and is expected to be the main challenger to Lowes this year but missed out on the podium by just 0.013 seconds.

Joe Roberts and Jake Dixon were in close company for much of the race on Sunday. Dixon in particular can be pleased with his performance as he is still recovering from a wrist injury which will have hampered his ability and certainly his stamina. It can surely only be a matter of time before the Brit takes his first podium finish.

Image courtesy of Polarity Photo/KTM

Germany’s Marcel Schrotter finished eighth ahead of Bo Bendsneyder who achieved his second-best finish in Moto2. The Dutch rider looked much better on the Kalex chassis after riding Tech 3 and NTS since he graduated to the class in 2018. Jorge Navarro came home tenth on the first non-Kalex bike, the Boscoscuro which is a re-branded Speed Up.

American Cameron Beaubier had an impressive first race in Moto2. The five-times AMA Superbike champion qualified 22nd but made steady progress throughout the race and finished eleventh in front of rookie Celestino Vietti.

FIRST FIFTEEN RIDERS

1 – Sam Lowes – GBR – Elf Marc VDS Racing – 25 points
2 – Remy Gardner – AUS – Red Bull Ajo KTM – 20
3 – Fabio Di Giannantonio – ITA – Federal oil Gresini – 16
4 – Marco Bezzecchi – ITA – Sky Racing Team VR46 – 13
5 – Raul Fernandez – SPA – Red Bull Ajo KTM – 11
6 – Joe Roberts – USA – Italtrans Racing – 10
7 – Jake Dixon – GBR – Petronas Sprinta – 9
8 – Marcel Schrotter – GER – Liqui Moly Intact – 8
9 – Bo Bendsneyder – NED – Pertamina SAG – 7
10 – Jorge Navarro – SPA – MB Conveyors Speed Up – 6
11 – Cameron Beaubier – USA – American Racing – 5

12 – Celestino Vietti – ITA – Sky Racing Team VR46 – 4
13 – Aron Canet – SPA – Inde Aspar Team – 3
14 – Augusto Fernandez – SPA – Elf Marc VDS Racing – 2
15 – Thomas Luthi – SUI – Pertamina SAG – 1

Stunning pole for Lowes in Moto2 Qualifying from Qatar

Sam Lowes lived up to his billing as favourite for pole position with a stunning performance in qualifying in Qatar. The Brit is aiming to take control of the championship as early as possible after missing out on the 2020 title through injury.

Marco Bezzecchi, Moto2 race, European MotoGP, 08 November 2020. Picture courtesy of Triumph

Lowes will be joined on the front row by rookie Raul Fernandez who was on pole six times last year in Moto3 on his way to fourth in the standings. Dutch rider Bo Bendsneyder will start third which is a huge improvement on his 2020 form when he only scored points in four races (one of which was Qatar).

Sky Racing Team VR46 rider Marco Bezzecchi is tipped as a challenger to Lowes this year and will start from the head of row two alongside American Joe Roberts and Australian Remy Gardner. British rider Jake Dixon will start seventh after running as high as second at one point and was lucky that contact from his Petronas teammate Xavi Vierge didn’t cause a fall.

Fabio Di Giannantonio came through Q1 and qualified eighth and with Jorge Navarro ninth.

Both Simone Corsi and Marcos Ramirez will be sore tonight after heavy falls but both riders walked away from their falls in Q1.

1 – Sam Lowes – GBR – Marc VDS

2 – Raul Fernandez – SPA – Red Bull Ajo KTM

3 – Bo Bendsneyder – NED – Pertamina SAG

4 – Marco Bezzecchi – ITA – Sky Racing VR46

5 – Joe Roberts – USA – Italtrans Racing

6 – Remy Gardner – AUS – Red Bull Ajo KTM

7 – Jake Dixon – GBR – Petronas Sprinta

8 – Fabio Di Giannantonio – ITA – Federal Oil Gresini

9 – Jorge Navarro – SPA – MB Conveyors Speed Up

10 – Celestino Vietti – ITA – Sky Racing VR46

11 – Nicolo Bulega – ITA – Federal Oil Gresini

12 – Aron Canet – SPA – Inde Aspar Team

Moto3 – the Season Preview so far …… by Si Boyle

With Sky Racing Team VR46 and Estrella Galicia leaving Moto3 to focus their resources on MotoGP and Moto2 projects, the lightweight class grid will look a little different in 2021. The top five riders in last season’s standings have all moved up to Moto2 also. So with a full breakdown of the teams and riders at the bottom of this page, I’m going to first give you my six to watch in 2021.

John McPhee

Now the elder

Tony Arbolino, Romano Fenati and John McPhee. Moto3 2019: Round Eleven – Red Bull Ring, Austria. Image courtesy of Hondanews.eu

statesman of Moto3, it had looked likely that the Brit would move to Moto2 with MV Augusta in 2021 but he has re-signed for a third season with Petronas Sprinta to race the Honda for another shot at the title. John has three wins under his belt, including Misano last year but to date has lacked the consistency and luck for a sustained challenge for the crown with his best overall being fifth in 2019. Can this be his year at last?

Darryn Binder

McPhee’s new teammate could be another title challenger in South African Brad Binder’s younger brother, Darryn. The 22-year-old has been in Moto3 since 2015 and took his maiden win in Catalunya last year. The first race of the 2021 will be his 100th in the class but also his first on a Honda after previously riding Mahindra and KTM machinery. So far in his career, Darryn has certainly been a Sunday rider, often coming through the pack in exciting fashion after qualifying poorly the day before. If he can start higher up the grid in 2021 it could make a huge difference to his season.

Into the first corner, of the 2020 Jerez Moto3 GP. Image courtesy of Polarity Photo/KTM

Jaume Masia

The young Spaniard is surely one of the favourites for the 2021 title. Of the riders staying in Moto3 from last season he finished the highest in sixth place, taking two wins in the double-header at Aragon. This is his fourth full season in the class and a move to one of the best teams on the grid, Red Bull KTM Ajo is his best shot at the title yet. The challenge for Masia may come from one rider I haven’t included in this sextet, his own teammate Pedro Acosta who won the Red Bull Rookies Cup last season.

Tatsuki Suzuki

The relationship between the likeable Japanese rider and the popular SIC58 Squadra Corse team continues for a fifth season in 2021. After seven races of 2020, the 23-year-old was a title contender with victory at Jerez in round three and a podium at Misano. Tatsuki appears to have formed a strong bond with Paolo Simoncelli over the years and it would be great to see the pair back on the podium in 2021.

Dennis Foggia

The former VR46 Academy rider starts his fourth season in Moto3 with perhaps more expectation than any previous year. H

Dennis Foggia, Moto3 race,,Aragon MotoGP 2019. Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

e remains with the competitive Leopard team and has a rookie for a teammate in Spaniard Xavier Artegas which should help the team focus on his title bid. The 20-year-old Italian also took his maiden win last season at Brno and was second at the final race of the year in Portugal.

Jeremy Alcoba

The rookie of the year in 2020 took his first podium at the final round in Portugal. The 19-year-old also finished in the top ten in eight of the fifteen races and showed great consistency across the season (only one finish outside the points and two retirements). Of the riders yet to win a race in Moto3, Jeremy is my tip for one in 2021.

 

FULL LIST OF TEAMS AND RIDERS

Petronas Sprinta Racing – Honda

17 – John McPhee (GBR) – 26yo – 151 races, 3 wins – 7th overall in 2020

40 – Darryn Binder (RSA) – 22yo – 99 races, 1 win – 8th overall in 2020

Red Bull KTM Ajo – KTM

5 – Jaume Masia (SPA) – 20yo – 53 races, 3 wins – 6th overall in 2020

37 – Pedro Acosta (SPA) – 16yo – Rookie – 2020 Red Bull Rookies Cup Champion, 3rd in FIM CEV Moto3 in 2020

Red Bull KTM Tech3 – KTM

53 – Deniz Oncu (TUR) – 17yo – 15 races, 0 wins – 17th overall in 2020

71 – Ayumu Sasaki (JAP) – 20yo – 70 races, 0 wins – 16th overall in 2020

Aspar Team Moto3 – GasGas

11 – Sergio Garcia (SPA) – 17yo – 32 races, 1 win – 9th overall in 2020

28 – Izan Guevara (SPA) – 16yo – Rookie – 2020 FIM CEV Moto3 Champion, 9th in Red Bull Rookies Cup in 2020

Leopard Racing – Honda

7 – Dennis Foggia (ITA) – 20yo – 54 races, 1 win – 10th overall in 2020

43 – Xavier Artigas (SPA) – 17yo – Rookie – Runner-up in FIM CEV Moto3 in 2020

Team Gresini Moto3 – Honda

52 – Jeremy Alcoba (SPA) – 19yo – 20 races, 0 wins – 11th overall in 2020

2 – Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG) – 24yo – 103 races, 0 wins – 13th overall in 2020

SIC58 Squadra Corse – Honda

24 – Tatsuki Suzuki (JAP) – 23yo – 103 races, 2 wins – 12th overall in 2020

20 – Lorenzo Fellon (FRA) – 16yo – Rookie – 11th in FIM CEV Moto3 in 2020

Sterilgarda Max Racing Team – Husqvarna

55 – Romano Fenati (ITA) – 24yo – 128 races, 12 wins – 14th overall in 2020

31 – Adrian Fernandez (SPA) – 16yo – 1 races, 0 wins – 7th in FIM CEV Moto3 in 2020

Rivacold Snipers Team – Honda

16 – Andrea Migno (ITA) – 24yo – 115 races, 1 win – 15th overall in 2020

12 – Filip Salac (CZE) – 19yo – 33 races, 0 wins – 21st overall in 2020

CIP Green Power – KTM

27 – Kaito Toba (JAP) – 20yo – 69 races, 1 win – 18th overall in 2020

73 – Maximilian Kofler (AUT) – 20you – 19 races, 0 wins – No points in 2020

Reale Avintia Moto3 – KTM

23 – Niccolo Antonelli (ITA) – 24yo – 147 races, 4 wins – 19th overall in 2020

99 – Carlos Tatay (SPA) – 17yo – 17 races, 0 wins – 22nd overall in 2020

BOE Skull Rider Facile.energy – KTM

82 – Stefano Nepa (ITA) – 19yo – 40 races, 0 wins – 20th overall in 2020

54 – Riccardo Rossi (ITA) – 18yo – 33 races, 0 wins – No points in 2020

CarXpert Prustel GP – KTM

6 – Ryusei Yamanaka (JAP) – 19yo – 19 races, 0 races – 24th overall in 2020

50 – Jason Dupasquier (SUI) – 19yo – 15 races, 0 wins – No points in 2020

Honda Team Asia – Honda

92 – Yuki Kunii (JAP) – 16yo – 15 races, 0 wins – No points in 2020

19 – Andi Farid Izdihar (INA) – 23yo – Rookie in Moto3 – 16 Moto2 races in 2020 with no points

Moto2 Pre-race Briefing by Triumph Motorcycles

Moto2 Pre-race Briefing 
2020 Round 15AlgarvePortugal20-22 November
 

A look back to the last race – Valencia Grand Prix

  • Jorge Martin took his second Moto2 victory of the season (and his second ever using Triumph power) last weekend in the closest race of the season, decided by just 0.07 seconds 
  • With erstwhile series leader Sam Lowes crashing early in the weekend and rescuing just two points, Enea Bastianini extended his title lead to 14 points with only 25 remaining 
  • Further demonstrating the closeness of competition, during the race four riders set exactly the same fastest top speed of 279.5km/h 

Winner: JMartin #88 Pole position: 1m 34.418SManzi #62 

Fastest lap: 1m 35.291, H. Garzo #40 Top speed: 279.5km/h, M. Ramirez (Race) 

Race lap record1m 34.820, T. Luthi (2019) Circuit best: 1m 34.418SManzi (2020) 

 

Enea Bastianini, Moto2 race, Valencia MotoGP, 15 November 2020. Picture courtesy of Triumph

A look to this coming race – Grand Prix of Portugal 

  • The final round of the 2020 championship will be the first ever Moto2 grand prix powered by Triumph to be held at the Algarve International Circuit, also known as Portimao 
  • With a lack of previous data, the final race could throw some surprises up, not least because mathematically the top four riders all have a chance of sealing the title 
  • The 4.6km circuit features a 969m straight which is the third longest of the season and drops downhill into turn one, and with the long sweeping final corner could we see another 300+ km/h top speed? The current record starts at 301.8km/h, set at Australia’s Phillip Island in 2019 

Triumph Triple Trophy #PoweredbyTriumph 

  • Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) is the first winner of the Triumph Triple Trophy! 
  • He’s scored points at nine races this season, including the doubles of top speed and pole in Jerez and top speed and fastest lap in Austria 
  • On Thursday in Portugal, he will be presented with his prize of a custom Triumph Triple Trophy-liveried Street Triple RS, which boasts the 765cc triple from which the Moto2 engine is derived 

About the Triumph Triple Trophy #PoweredbyTriumph 

  • The Triumph Triple Trophy #PoweredbyTriumph runs alongside the Moto2 World Championship in 2020recognising that there are more stories of success from a GP than simply the race win, and will award one rider with a Street Triple RS at the end of the season 
  • Points will be awarded to the one rider at the top of each of these categories (or multiple riders in the case of a tie): fastest top speed of the weekend, pole position, and fastest race lap 
  • Fastest top speed: 7 points for the fastest rider / riders in case of a tie
  • Pole position: 6 points for the rider on pole
  • Fastest race lap: 5 points for the fastest rider / riders in case of a tie 

The Triumph Moto2™ 765cc race engine is a development of the class-leading Street Triple RS 765cc road motorcycle and produces more than 140PS and the same visceral soundtrack.

Jorge Martin, Moto2 race, Valencia MotoGP, 15 November 2020. Picture courtesy of Triumph

2020 Moto2 World Championship top ten: 

Pos  Race #  Rider  Chassis  Engine  Nation  Points 
1  33  E. Bastianini  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  ITA  194 
2  22  S. Lowes  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  GBR  180 
3  10  L. Marini  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  ITA  176 
4  72  M. Bezzecchi  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  ITA  171 
5  88  J. Martin  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  SPA  150 
6  87  R. Gardner  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  AUS  110 
7  45  T. Nagashima  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  JPN  89 
8  16  J. Roberts  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  USA  85 
9  23  MSchrotter  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  GER  77 
10  97  X. Vierge  Kalex  Triumph 765cc  SPA  73 

 

2020 standings – Triumph Triple Trophy #PoweredbyTriumph: 

Pos  Race #  Rider  Nation  Points  Team 
 1  72   M. Bezzecchi  ITA  74   Sky Racing Team VR46 
 2  10   L. Marini  ITA  30   Sky Racing Team VR46 
 3  22   S. Lowes  GBR  27   EG 0,0 Marc VDS 
 4  33   E. Bastianini  ITA  24   Italtrans Racing Team 
 5  88   J. Martin  SPA  23   Red Bull KTM Ajo 
 6  42   M. Ramirez  SPA  21   American Racing 
 7  16   J. Roberts  USA  18   American Racing 
 8  12   T. Luthi  SWI  14   Liqui Moly Intact GP 
 –  99   K. Daniel  MAL  14   Onexox TKKR SAG Team 
 10  97   X. Vierge  SPA  13   PETRONAS Sprinta Racing 
 –  62   S. Manzi  ITA  13   MV Agusta Forward Racing 
 12  87   R. Gardner  AUS  12   Onexox TKKR SAG 
 13  45   T. Nagashima  JPN  10   Red Bull KTM Ajo 
 –  40   H. Garzo  SPA  10   Flexbox HP40 
 15  23   M. Schrotter  GER  7   Liqui Moly Intact GP 

Jerez, Moto2 and Moto3 did not disappoint.

If MotoGP was weird enough having no racing for over 8 months – nearly 9 months, then Moto2 and Moto3’s predicament was just frustrating especially for the riders, a four mouth wait between Qatar and the second round at Jerez.

Moto3

Saturday saw Fenati, Antonelli, Arbolino and Ogura all progress into Q2, the four were only separated by 0.393s. Q2 was just as busy with Q1. Fenati was the top Q1 runner in Q2 with Tatsuki Suzuki. The championship leader and winner of round one taking pole. Andrea, Migno and John McPhee taking the remaining front row. Sunday saw the sun shine with blue skies at Jerez. First up was Moto3, waiting to blast down the first turn with the track at 36c and air temps 27c. Everything seemed perfect except of course there were no fans.

Into the first corner, of the 2020 Jerez Moto3 GP. Image courtesy of Polarity Photo/KTM

The red lights quickly faded away, and there’s some pushing and shoving but Suzuki got the holeshot by some margin – it seemed he was gunning for the second win from two. Foggia and Tatay crashed with each other at turn one. Suzuki had a blinding first lap with a sizeable gap with about 20 bikes following him with Migno and Fernandez making the top 3. Lap 2 saw Vietti take third from Fernandez. By Lorenzo’s corner the gap that Suzuki had, was now gone. By lap four Vietti had taken Migno and then Suzuki on the start-finsh straight. By the end of the lap, Suzuki was fifth and Arenas was fourth.

From lap five the standard Moto3 dog fighting began, with Arenas and Arbolino joining into lap six. Arbolino quickly made his way to second behind Viettti. Vietti and Arblino in second, stayed in front whilst Migno, Arenas, Fernandaz and Rodrigo were all where playing musical “chairs” until lap eleven when Arbolino scuttled past Veitti for the lead and kept it. Vietti couldn’t keep second place though, falling back to fifth.

It was now a fight between Arbolino, Alcoba, Arenas and Binder. McPhee was now sixth behind Vietti. Arbolino’s lead didn’t last long before Arenas quickly grabbed first in a sort of group mele which you weren’t quite sure who would be where, or was going to fall – a very typical Moto3 moment.

Into Lap twelve it was Arenas, Binder, Alcoba, McPhee and Arbolino in the top five. Suzuki, the once leader was hanging on in sixth but by the end of the lap having a resurgence to fourth. Arenas was hanging on in first, Moto3 style because McPhee had managed to go from fourth to second with Binder sliding to fifth. Arbolino was now back in the hunt. The tustle continued with Binder briefly taking second at the end of lap thirteen but by lap fourteen Arbolino had retaken second and McPhee was fourth.

Arenas continued to stay in first with the main three protagonists of Arbolino, McPhee and Binder swapping and sniping for places behind him. Arenas like Suzuki wanted a gap, but that gap never really appeared as each lap passed Lorenzo Corner they where swamped next to each other preying for any one but them to make a mistake. Coming up to Lorenzo Arbolino went wide, along with most the train behind him – except for John McPhee and by not going wide he took first into the start-finish straight.

It wasn’t until lap eighteen that we finally saw the lead change. Arbolino made his move down the back-straight with Arenas droping behind Binder for third. McPhee managed to create more of a gap than Arbolino or Suzuki ever did but maybe because of the excessive dog fighting behind him. Arbolino, Vietti, Binder and Arenas were not in any mood to settle for anything less than first. With less than 4 laps to go the fuse was lit for the fireworks, either somebody would go wide or crash. The four were ready to pounce on McPhee.

Again the back straight was the centre of the action with Arbolino snuffling out Mcphee’s lead and regaining first again. Binder crashes mid way through lap twenty-one. The final three left in the hunt was Arbolino, McPhee and Arenas. Into Lorenzo’s corner and Arbolino goes wide again, allowing Mcphee back into first place, going into the last lap.

Albert Arenas winner of the Jerez 2020 Moto3 Race. Image courtesy of Polarity Photo/KTM

McPhee kept the pace going into turn one on the last lap. But McPhee was being prevented by Arbolino and Arenas from creating any gap, because they were snapping and sniping at his heal, ready to pounce. Arbolino was indeed ready to pounce and he made his move down the back straight into the braking area. McPhee slid back to second, but Aranas wanted second and into the corners before Lornezo Corner, he made his move. McPhee was having none of it, he made his move going sharper and closer to the apex then Arbolino and Arenas did but by doing so he went wide on the exit into the straight, slightly touching the grass and promptly hitting Arbolino causing McPhee to crash in a plume of dust. Arbolino went on to stay on his bike and to take second, Ogu took third with Arenas taking the top spot.

Moto2

In Q1 Fabio DI Ginnantonio , Xavi Vierge, Hafizh Syahrin and Joe Roberts all progressed into Q2. Only Vierge could make any substantial improvement on their grid placings in Q2 with Ginnantonio last, Roberts sixteenth and Syahrin one place up in fifteenth. At the front it was Martin who took pole with the other Jorge (Jorge Navarrro) taking second with the final front row being taken by Sam Lowes

The second race of the day saw the battle of the Jorges for the holeshot, with Jorge Martin and Jorge Navarro in second with Sam Lowes on third. Martin made the holeshot, with the other two on the front being consumed by the rows behind them, resulting in a huge gap for Martin by the first corner. The other Jorge – Jorge Navarro, crashed into the kitty litter. By the middle of the lap after the long back straight, the top three had shaken out as Martin, Canet and Marini followed by Lowes with Schrotter in fifth.

jJorge Martin into the first corner of the 2020 Jerez Moto2 race. Image courtesy of Polarity Photo /KTM

Into Lap three, and we saw a break-away group of four; Martin, Marini, Canet and Nagashima. Marini was on a charge, and just after the long back straight, he made his move swiftly under cutting Martin. Marini first, Martin second and Nagashlm third, with Canet and Bezzecchi behind them. Jorge Martin was slowly but surely heading backwards, with Nagashima taking second at Lorenzo’s corner. At the end of lap five, Bezzecchi made the pass to take fourth from Canet.

The top three of Marini, Nagashima and Martin stayed that way with an increasing gap made by Marini into lap Seven, when finally Bezzecchi made his move along the back straight and going tighter into the apex pushing Martin back into fourth. Unfortunately for Bezzecchi, it was not to last because into turn 10 on lap eight, Bezzecchi’s front folded on him after going onto the rumble strip and he crashed. Schrotter, into turn 11 on lap nine crashed looking winded from the fall. Two riders crashing in one lap removed two potential candidates for the podium

With fifteen laps to go, Marini seemed, along with Nagashima and Martin content with their positions. That though wasn’t the case for Sam Lowes, as he was sixth on lap eight, he inherited fifth after Schrotter crashed. By the end of lap eleven, Lowes had caught and passed Canet for fourth. Lowes then started hunting down Martin for third. By lap eighteen, Lowes was only a second behind but Martin was starting to match Lowes lap times.

It wasn’t just Lowes thinking he could grab another place, Nagashima also contemplated the same thing as he was closing in on Marini. Into lap twenty-one, Lowes now only .6 seconds behind Martin but his pit board showed a 0.5s to push him forwards. As much as Nagashima was catching Marini, he was, with 3 laps to go stil 1.585s behind Marini. It was to be a last lap attempt for both Lowes and Nagashima.

Luthi meanwhile crashed on turn nine, on the 22nd lap but by the start of the final lap the gap was 1.562 to Marini, which meant that Nagashima had settled for second. Barring the racing gods intervening, the same went for Lowes who was now 1.158s behind Martin. Being racers of course, ‘it ain’t done ‘til the flag drops’ on your bike and that indeed was the case with the final five being Marini, Nagashima, Martin, Lowes and Canet.

Despite waiting over four months for the championship to continue we saw a polished race worthy of its wait. Whilst lacking the drama of the MotoGP race or the Moto3 race, it certainly wasn’t a filler race. Despite obtaining a second place, Nagashima maintains behind championship leader after the win at Qatar. Baldassarri second with Jerez’s race winner a worthy third. The long list of title contenders still have every chance given the nature of the intermediate round. That said, Nagashima is a surprise contender. Next up is the Gran Premio Red Bull de Andalucía or Jerez to you and me.

Pos. Points Num. Rider Team Time/Gap
1 25 75 Albert ARENAS Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3 39'26.256
2 20 79 Ai OGURA Honda Team Asia 0.34
3 16 14 Tony ARBOLINO Rivacold Snipers Team 0.369
4 13 16 Andrea MIGNO SKY Racing Team VR46 0.546
5 11 13 Celestino VIETTI SKY Racing Team VR46 0.634
6 10 25 Raul FERNANDEZ Red Bull KTM Ajo 0.682
7 9 2 Gabriel RODRIGO Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 0.753
8 8 24 Tatsuki SUZUKI SIC58 Squadra Corse 0.881
9 7 23 Niccolò ANTONELLI SIC58 Squadra Corse 0.986
10 6 5 Jaume MASIA Leopard Racing 3.646
11 5 71 Ayumu SASAKI Red Bull KTM Tech 3 3.751
12 4 82 Stefano NEPA Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3 3.936
13 3 55 Romano FENATI Sterilgarda Max Racing Team 4.157
14 2 21 Alonso LOPEZ Sterilgarda Max Racing Team 6.086
15 1 52 Jeremy ALCOBA Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 5.608
16   6 Ryusei YAMANAKA Estrella Galicia 0,0 6.098
17   11 Sergio GARCIA Estrella Galicia 0,0 6.256
18   40 Darryn BINDER CIP Green Power 17.642
19   27 Kaito TOBA Red Bull KTM Ajo 28.324
20   73 Maximilian KOFLER CIP Green Power 28.406
21   50 Jason DUPASQUIER CarXpert PruestelGP 28.64
22   89 Khairul Idham PAWI Petronas Sprinta Racing 28.844
23   9 Davide PIZZOLI BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy 29.026
24   70 Barry BALTUS CarXpert PruestelGP 33.352
25   53 Deniz ÖNCÜ Red Bull KTM Tech 3 +1'03.589
Not Classified        
    17 John MCPHEE Petronas Sprinta Racing 1 Lap
    92 Yuki KUNII Honda Team Asia 6 Laps
    12 Filip SALAC Rivacold Snipers Team 12 Laps
    54 Riccardo ROSSI BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy 15 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap      
    7 Dennis FOGGIA Leopard Racing 0 Lap
    99 Carlos TATAY Reale Avintia Moto3 0 Lap

Data derived from Motogp.com

Pos. Points Num. Rider Team Time/Gap
1 25 75 Albert ARENAS Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3 39'26.256
2 20 79 Ai OGURA Honda Team Asia 0.34
3 16 14 Tony ARBOLINO Rivacold Snipers Team 0.369
4 13 16 Andrea MIGNO SKY Racing Team VR46 0.546
5 11 13 Celestino VIETTI SKY Racing Team VR46 0.634
6 10 25 Raul FERNANDEZ Red Bull KTM Ajo 0.682
7 9 2 Gabriel RODRIGO Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 0.753
8 8 24 Tatsuki SUZUKI SIC58 Squadra Corse 0.881
9 7 23 Niccolò ANTONELLI SIC58 Squadra Corse 0.986
10 6 5 Jaume MASIA Leopard Racing 3.646
11 5 71 Ayumu SASAKI Red Bull KTM Tech 3 3.751
12 4 82 Stefano NEPA Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3 3.936
13 3 55 Romano FENATI Sterilgarda Max Racing Team 4.157
14 2 21 Alonso LOPEZ Sterilgarda Max Racing Team 6.086
15 1 52 Jeremy ALCOBA Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 5.608
16   6 Ryusei YAMANAKA Estrella Galicia 0,0 6.098
17   11 Sergio GARCIA Estrella Galicia 0,0 6.256
18   40 Darryn BINDER CIP Green Power 17.642
19   27 Kaito TOBA Red Bull KTM Ajo 28.324
20   73 Maximilian KOFLER CIP Green Power 28.406
21   50 Jason DUPASQUIER CarXpert PruestelGP 28.64
22   89 Khairul Idham PAWI Petronas Sprinta Racing 28.844
23   9 Davide PIZZOLI BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy 29.026
24   70 Barry BALTUS CarXpert PruestelGP 33.352
25   53 Deniz ÖNCÜ Red Bull KTM Tech 3 +1'03.589
Not Classified        
    17 John MCPHEE Petronas Sprinta Racing 1 Lap
    92 Yuki KUNII Honda Team Asia 6 Laps
    12 Filip SALAC Rivacold Snipers Team 12 Laps
    54 Riccardo ROSSI BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy 15 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap      
    7 Dennis FOGGIA Leopard Racing 0 Lap
    99 Carlos TATAY Reale Avintia Moto3 0 Lap

Data derived from motogp.com

Rebooting MotoGP 2020 – we start at “home” – Jerez

After the aborted start at Qatar (ok the Moto2/3 guys whipped around the moonlit track), for the MotoGP fraternity, the 2020 MotoGP season reboots and hits “home” at Jerez from the 17th to 19th of July.

Any of the Spanish circuits could be classed as “home” but Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto giving its full titles, usually provides some great racing with some brilliant passes.

The tower and the spaceship building over the start-finish line provide some great scenery yet also gives the riders some great reference points during the race.

Jerez is a 4.4km, 2.75 mile circult, with Marc Marqez winning last years MotoGp event and also holding the fastest lap of 1:38.051. The MotoGP race consists of 25 laps, Moto2, 23 laps and Moto3 22 laps.

You can watch a lap onboard from 2018 here:

MotoGP

Ever since Marc Marquez sat on the Repsol Honda, one saying started to come out “Only Marquez can stop Marquez”, typically that meant him to crash. But that now is in the form of his Brother; Alex. Jorge Lorezno left his contract early, after a horrendous year at the Honda works team, which ended up with him injured and he is now the Yamaha test rider. It will only be a matter of time before we see Lorenzo racing – body permitting.

Repsol Honda, with the Marquez brothers, have a family feel to it but that can quickly turn into a family feud as Alex has the ability to match his brother. Of course we have to mention the RC213V, will that still be as extreme as it was in 2019 which nearly became the Bronco Billy of 2019.

Yamaha SRT had a brilliant first year beating the Yamaha works team. Fabio Quartararo’s first year was equally outstanding, with six poles and five second places, which resulted in being fifth in the championship last year. The bike, whilst being kinder to the tyres than the works team, still has the issues that the works team has – lack of power. Franco Morbidelli, whilst being a star in the Moto2 championships, hasn’t set his debut year in MotoGP on fire. He can justifiably say that the combination of the bike, and having Quartararo as a team mate, may have been worth saying. Excuses wear thin, though.

Yamaha Racing, the works team, do not want a second year of embarrassment, especially with it being Valentino Rossi’s last year with the team. Maverick Viñales will be hoping that the lack of straight line speed will be less of an issue this year. Rossi will be hoping for the same, along with tyre wear, not to be a consistent issue with his front starts leaving him 7th or 8th by the end of the race in 2019.

Andrea Dovizioso, at thJerez 2020 July test. Image courtesy of Ducati

Ducati, Andrea Dovizioso having been runner up in the championship for the last three years running, must feel frustrated and yet happy that his form has been consistent. From 6 wins in 2017 down to only 2 last year, but collecting 8 more points (2017: 261 points; 2019: 269 points) has been the weak point for the team. So Dovizioso will be hoping that 2020 will be one of less frustration, and also winning his first MotoGP championship. Danilo Petrucci will be wanting to increase on his 2019 haul of one win and two 3rd places.

KTM, having mixed fortunes in 2019 in all 3 classes, they have finally made the decision to dump Moto2. Probably the right thing long term, as they have under performed since coming to MotoGP. Hopefully in doing so, Pol Espargaro will have a chance to fight for race wins.

Rest of the bunch.

Álex Rins will be wanting further wins this year. Team Suzuki Ecstar, have shown they can produce the goods, but the consistency isn’t there yet. Zarco is another one to watch – in the Moto2 class, he trailblazed but once in MotoGP, that came to a sudden halt. Jack Miller is in exactly the same boat. Of course, you can never rule out anyone in MotoGP in winning a race. One person missing is Cal Crutchlow. The LCR Honda, was not to his liking in 2019, after coming back from an injury which hindered his progress in 2019.

Moto2

Both the Moto2 and Moto3 classes completed one round at Qatar back in march with Tetsuta Nagashima wining round one. Both the top two riders from 2019 have moved to MotoGP: Marquez and Brad Binder. The loss of the 2019 top two will not result in any loss of quality. Far from it. Lüthi, Baldassarri, Navarro, Marcel Schrötter, Jorge Martín, Fabio Di Giannantonio and of course Marco Bezzecchi will all be fighting for the championship. To suggest a favourite for the championship would be crazy at this point.

Moto3

Albert Arenas, won Qatar Moto3, with John Mcphee 0.053 seconds behind. That sets up a great 2020 season with Mcphee, Masia, Foggia, Fernandez, Arbolino, Toba and of course Romano Fenati racing for the title. Fenati will want the racing to do the talking and not his explosive emotions.

Featured image courtesy of Box Repol