2021 has started to take the first steps and MotoGP is trying to figure out which direction it will go. It would have been naive to hope that the world would return to normal at the stroke of midnight on January 1st and that the World Cup would have another season in which doubts far outweigh certainties.
At the moment there are more questions than answers on the table and only in the coming weeks (or even months) will it be possible to remove all question marks from a very long list. Not only is the calendar uncertain, but Marquez’s condition still remains a mystery, not to mention curiosity about who will take Brivio’s place at the helm of Suzuki. So many questions that need to be cleared before attempting to resolve them.
The calendar is a difficult puzzle to solve
The official confirmation of the Sepang testing cancellation came yesterday as Malaysia declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic and it was impossible to move the paddock to such an affected area. Now (there will be a meeting with all the team managers today) we are trying to understand how to replace them and there are essentially three alternatives: Spain (Jerez and Valencia are the two cheapest routes for the climate), Portugal (with Portimao) or consider doubling up on testing in Qatar.
At this moment, the Losail route seems like a lifeline in several respects. So much so that we could even consider starting the season with two races in Doha. For now the calendar is confirmed but it won’t last long and the two American rounds (Argentina and Texas) are said to be eliminated, so organizing a double headed ball in Qatar would be a wise solution to get off to a good start.
Also because Europe is not a very safe haven, as a number of nations are struggling with new locks. The hope is that the vaccination campaign will be successful, but it will take months and Dorna will be forced to navigate by sight.
Marc Marquez’s secret: no news, good news?
It takes the eye of Alfred Hitchcock or the pen of Agatha Christie to tell Marc Marquez’s current situation. The news continues to be drip, and the latest information goes back to a month ago when the Champion returned home after the third operation on his arm and an infection to be treated. Then nothing.
At this point, no one believes in seeing him take the winter tests, no matter what the date, and only the doctors know what the timing of his recovery is. So Honda has an empty motorcycle and little chance of being occupied. There is the immortal Stefan Bradl, who is ready to continue his role as a voluntary substitute, while Dovizioso’s name appears at regular intervals, even if it is now crystal clear that Andrea does not intend to be a stopgap solution.
The difficult sentence goes to posterity, or rather to the doctors
Suzuki without Brivio: who will take over?
If there was one certainty at the end of 2020, it was Suzuki: it had won the world championship, it had confirmed its drivers and Brivio was a surefire guarantee. It’s a shame that Davide succumbed to Formula 1 and now everything has to be reissued.
As for his successor, a wide variety of names were used, a sure sign that no one has the faintest idea who it might be. Everyone just seems to be casting a fishing net hoping to catch one …
It’s certainly a big problem for Suzuki because Brivio is the man who created the team from scratch and made it a success. To think of replacing him in a few weeks is impossible, more likely there will be an interregnum led by the Japanese.
Rossi becomes privateer, Ducati reformed, KTM and Aprilia have high hopes
It’s finally (metaphorically, of course) time to hit the road. Because this year 2021 really has a lot of meat on the fire and it is a moment to light it. It starts with Valentino Rossi, who, after losing the factory team color, will begin the umpteenth chapter of his career with the Petronas team and student Franco Morbidelli at his side. The challenge with his former team is started. In the blue corner we find Vinales and Quartararo, whose speed nobody doubts, but whose consistency has yet to be proven.
While Yamaha has focused on young riders, Ducati has done the same. Miller and Bagnaia form an offensive pairing, promising but risky. Jack and Pecco on the Desmosedici haven’t won a race yet, but now they have to go for the title. what if you ride the red bike looks bewitched unless your name is stoner.
All in all, it’s a better situation than that Honda that puts all its hopes on Pol Espargarò. A good driver without a doubt, but we’re talking about the most successful manufacturer of all time and the best team, so no mistake should be made.
Then there is KTM, which after winning 3 races is now aiming to go even higher. Binder and Oliveira make up the official team, however the surprise might be our own Danilo Petrucci looking for redemption after being dumped by Ducati. Not to forget Aprilia (the only bike to enjoy the concessions), which has to show that it can compete with the best, and finally the hopes of Bastianini and Marini, rookies with Ducati.
The most important thing will be to start, then all the chickens come home to sleep …