MotoGP made a brilliant return to Qatar after a year’s break, with only Moto3 and Moto2 racing in Qatar due to the Corona pandemic. It’s been 126 days since the 2020 season finale, and a few things have changed.
Rookies have moved up, riders have changed teams, Corona still plays a role, but with good concepts MotoGP has learned to deal with it. In Qatar, there were even a few spectators in the stands. But the one who didn’t take a seat on his Repsol Honda was Marc Marquez. The Spaniard sits out the two Qatar races again on the recommendation of doctors. Three operations and a training gap of a year, you do not put away so easily. It was a good decision to suspend the two races again, a too quick return can be counterproductive. Marquez and Honda had to find that out last year. But what I have to say, I am really curious how and when Marc Marquez will return. It will change everything again.
The teams have used the break well and also brought technical innovations. Ducati has burned a clear callout into the asphalt today. In 1.9 seconds from 0 to 100 is a clear demonstration of power. The Ducati Start Device is going to give us a lot of joy and the competition headaches. I’m curious to see the reaction of the teams. I hope it will be a technical reaction and not a protest to the FIM.
Besides the Ducati riders and the technical finesse of the engineers, I would like to highlight Joan Mir. The Suzuki rider worked his way up from 10th on the grid to fourth. A podium finish was even possible, if it hadn’t been for the last lap. Third place went to Francesco Bagnaia, behind Johann Zarco in second. Winner of the race was Maverick Vinales, after a tough 2020 the Spaniard could smile again. A deserved victory for the Yamaha factory team. Perhaps also a clear signal from Vinales to his new teammate, who is the new number one in the Yamaha factory team.
What can I say? After what feels like an interminable break, it’s finally back on – and this time hopefully not with a 4-month break after the first race of the season in Qatar.
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