MotoGP: can anyone stop Quartararo in Catalonia? – Roadracing World magazine

Can someone stop Quartararo in Catalonia?

Barcelona have been a happy hunting ground for the French but the grid is being reset and reloaded in an attempt to derail his role

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Yamaha hasn’t won at Mugello since 2016, but Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) showed a stunner last time to return to the top and for the first time since then take four Yamaha wins in the first six years. Next to him on the podium, for the first time since 2014 on the Italian track, there was no Ducati. The form book took a turn and instead it was Miguel Oliveira of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing who crowned an impressive weekend for the Austrian plant and the reigning champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) came back on the podium. What can we expect now when the paddock goes to Catalonia and a new Turn 10?

As always … Quartararo. The Frenchman won last year despite a delayed attack by a Suzuki train led by Mir on the spot. There he stood on pole as a rookie and took his first podium in the premier class. Recovered from the arm pump operation and back in top form, the Frenchman must surely arrive as the favorite. But team-mate Maverick Viñales, who said he got a little lost on his side of the garage after his impressive performance in Qatar on the motorcycle, will try to contain the momentum and stand alongside el Diablo in the lead and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) will be looking for a less dramatic start to his race to regain his formidable past in 2021. And can Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) make it into the top ten?

2020 on the track plus a podium last time show that the biggest threat could be Me though. Both he and Team Suzuki Ecstar teammate Alex Rins had quite a bit of speed at Mugello and the reigning champion and his teammate finished on the podium in Barcelona last year. Are we now at the promised better venues that Mir announced at the beginning of the season? And will we see the same metronomic brilliance as we cut forward week after week?

Rins, on the other hand, is more of a man looking for redemption. After the pace and progress to the top over the past couple of years, falls have put the Spaniard’s race to an end and he has yet to climb a mountain. After showing how fast he is in the closing stages of 2020, Rins will be another name that will automatically be added to the podium fight if he can stay … and that was added to his podium at the venue last year.

After an incredibly impressive upswing in Italy, KTM is already looking up again. The Austrian factory didn’t come out with the same armory as it did in 2020 earlier this year, but it certainly would have only been a matter of time … and Mugello says yes. It was not just another podium, but also another top five for the second KTM to cross the finish line when Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) set his annual best, despite never having raced in Mugello in MotoGP ™ before was. A new chassis and some juice could be seen when Binder even hit the top speed record … Where will they join the fight in Barcelona? Can the form continue?

Ducati meanwhile comes from a somewhat quieter weekend. It was supposed to be their turf in Mugello, but with Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) retiring early after being the fastest Borge Panigale machine, it was left to Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) to take over the baton. And he had a real show duel with Quartararo early on, before he slipped from the podium to fourth place. However, he is second in the table and always a threat. His team-mate Jorge Martin is also returning from an injury this weekend so keep an eye on that in the Pramac garage.

What about Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team)? The Queenslander can’t be counted either, despite a more solid Italian GP compared to its predecessors. But he was happy with good points and was close to the front right through to the finish, with a record at Mugello that hadn’t been friendly. Will Barcelona see Miller bring back the battle for the podium?

At Honda, the battle for the podium remains the goal. After a sometimes impressive pace, it hasn’t fully come together in 2021, although Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) finished fourth, setting his best. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) remains under scrutiny as the eight-time world champion continues his return, teammate Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) is still on his feet and Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) wasn’t quite in shape last year still shown. For all three, however, it’s a familiar and real home game … and they have some impressive resumes on site. Can you reset and impress again at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya?

Aprilia Racing Team Gresini will continue its role in 2021 with Aleix Espargaro taking the lead. And last time it was maybe a home game for the factory, but this time it’s home for him as he comes right off the track. What can the Noale factory in Barcelona do with a good record and sustained momentum?

Quartararo is now more behind in the points, but it is not yet a complete race win. So a Grand Prix is ​​anything that could turn it upside down. Will that happen in Barcelona or will the French keep catching me if they can? We’ll find out at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya when the lights are off for the MotoGP ™ race at 13:00 (GMT +2).

Top 5 of the MotoGP ™ Championship:

1 Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – Yamaha – 105

2 Johann Zarco * – Pramac Racing – Ducati – 81

3 Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati Lenovo Team – Ducati – 79

4 Jack Miller – Ducati Lenovo Team – Ducati – 74

5 Joan Mir – Team Suzuki Ecstar – Suzuki – 65

* Independent team driver

Gardner vs Fernandez: Another Battle of the Titans in Catalonia?

The Australian took his first win of the year with List in Mugello. But now we’re on our way home for the rookie … who will remain the closest challenger

Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was already a Grand Prix winner en route to Mugello, but he wasn’t on the top step in 2021. The Australian has ironed his form almost perfectly this season, although the cherry on top was missing from this win. Now, after beating his teammate on the final lap in one of the closest Moto2 ™ results of all time, his mission has been accomplished.

For Gardner, the pressure has certainly eased. With a new KTM MotoGP ™ deal already signed and this victory, he can fully concentrate on maintaining this constant record. Will it subside anyway? And what about team-mate Raul Fernandez? The rookie still impresses and he may have lost in Mugello in the end, but it was another Tour de Force. And the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is more of a familiar figure, so Fernandez and Gardner will be hard to beat. For the rest and for each other.

Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) stays third thanks to his consistency, and the Italian – who has made it a habit of doing laps so clean on the final laps that he has now benefited from some high profile late penalties for drivers in front of him – but he is still looking for this step to close the gap to the previous ones. For Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) on the losing side of this penalty, Mugello was the opposite. He may not have made it onto the podium, but the American made a leap forward that he wants to move on to Catalonia and take revenge for the lost podium. Can he keep this shape?

Both Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) were two of them in 2021, but now the consistency is a bit tougher as both suffered a DNF at Mugello. For Lowes it was chasing the top from second and Diggia a little further down, but both will have a clear focus: finish. Finish well. And collect other important points while Roberts in …

The rookie battle behind Raul Fernandez is also heating up as Tony Arbolino (Liqui Moly Intact GP) continues his storm at the top and Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) continues to put in an impressive performance. Can they keep their course and make life harder for those drivers who were previously only one step ahead?

After one of the best Moto2 ™ duels of all time, Barcelona are ready to start the fight again. The intermediate class starts a little later at 2:30 p.m. (GMT +2) at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya race, so tune in!

Top 5 of the Moto2 ™ Championship:

1 Remy Gardner – Red Bull KTM Ajo – Kalex – 114

2 Raul Fernandez – Red Bull KTM Ajo – Kalex – 108

3 Marco Bezzecchi – Sky Racing Team VR46 – Kalex – 88

4 Sam Lowes – Elf Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex – 66

5 Fabio Di Giannantonio – Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 – Kalex – 60

Well-known lawn calls for Acosta

Can the league leaders hit back in Catalonia?

His lead at the top remains impressive, but Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) has been more of a top ten points scorer in the last two races. The rookie continues to impress and he has just taken his front row … and now we return to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, also known as the much better known turf. Even for a newbie. So can he go back to the role with which he previously had the greatest advantage in the championship … at all?

However, the pressure remains lower than the vortex around the number 37 suggests. He can DNF twice and his teammate would have to win both races for his lead to be reduced to almost zero … and it would still be his lead. However, aforementioned teammate Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) will be careful to keep the deck shuffling his way, and after another podium finish that brings some bad luck to bed, he’ll likely pose a threat again. Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3), who took his first podium on site in 2018 and arrives in Mugello after his second. And can Sergio Garcia (Solunion GASGAS Aspar Team) get involved again?

Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) was also fast before his win and is aiming for more consistency after his second win last weekend. Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) is another looking to get back on track like he did at the start of the season and the South African also took his first Grand Prix win at the venue last year so it’s a good turf for him .

However, Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) is a rider with exceptional consistency. The Japanese put in an incredibly impressive drive on Sunday and is now third overall. The number 71 shows some metronomic ability to run at the top in 2021 and so far converts speed lightning bolts into an ongoing campaign. He already has pole position and a podium, just not this season … and the table says it might just be a matter of time.

However, the flotilla of home heroes, the seasoned Italians, and people like John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) will make sure they are in the freight train battle too, so who will be ahead in Catalonia? Acosta? Masia? Another previous winner? Or does the goal remain the long game for some?

We’ll find out on Sunday at 11:20 am (GMT +2) when the Moto3 ™ gets going in Montmelo.

Top 5 of the Moto3 ™ Championship:

1 Pedro Acosta – Red Bull KTM garlic – KTM – 111

2 Jaume Masia – Red Bull KTM Ajo – KTM – 59

3 Ayumu Sasaki – Red Bull KTM Tech3 – KTM – 57

4 Sergio Garcia – Solunion GASGAS Aspar Team – GASGAS – 56