Why 2021 is Aprilia's most important MotoGP season
Aprilia’s pre-season progress in MotoGP in recent years has always ended up flattering to deceive. But concessions in the rules has allowed it to start 2021 with a new bike. The early signs are promising, and they need to be as 2021 - for numerous reasons - will be Aprilia’s most important season in MotoGP.
The first two days of the Qatar MotoGP pre-season test for 2021 rather went to form in terms of who occupied the top of the timesheets, with Fabio Quartararo on the factory Yamaha proving - if anything – the M1 is still a good bike at Losail. And Ducati’s Jack Miller proved the GP21 is likely to once again be a victory contender come the Qatar Grand Prix.
And you could argue an Aprilia going strong in the Qatari desert is nothing new. Aleix Espargaro scored Aprilia’s joint-best ever MotoGP result of sixth on his debut for the marque in Qatar back in 2017, and last year was strong in the test there. But those results flattered to deceive, as Aprilia is still nowhere near showing the form it expected throughout those campaigns, ending 2020 last in the constructors' championship and failing to crack the top six all season.
The once all-conquering Japanese manufacturers are going through a difficult period in MotoGP this season. With Suzuki quitting, Honda struggling to get near the podium and Yamaha only enjoying success courtesy of Fabio Quartararo, Japanese manufacturers have been left in the dust by their European counterparts. Key paddock figures explain why.
Valentino Rossi’s protégés stole the show at Assen as Francesco Bagnaia stormed to victory to arrest a recent barren run. But it was the rider in second, on Bagnaia’s old bike, who had all eyes on him. Securing his and the VR46 team’s first MotoGP podium, Marco Bezzecchi has all the characteristics that made his mentor special
OPINION: Fabio Quartararo has seized control of the 2022 MotoGP world standings after another dominant victory as his nearest rivals faltered. And he is very much heading towards a second championship echoing how the dominator of the last decade achieved much of his success
OPINION: Marc Marquez will likely sit out the remainder of the 2022 MotoGP season to undergo a fourth major operation on the right arm he badly broke in 2020. It is hoped it will return him to his brilliant best after a tough start to the season without a podium to his name. But it’s the human victory that will far outweigh any future on-track success he may go on to have
OPINION: The French Grand Prix looks to have made Ducati’s decision on its factory team line-up simpler, as Enea Bastianini stormed to his third win of the campaign and Jorge Martin crashed out for a fifth time in 2022. But, as Ducati suggests to Autosport, it remains in the strongest position in a wild rider market
Suzuki's sudden decision to leave the MotoGP World Championship at the end of the season has acted as a stirring element in a market that had already erupted. Autosport analyses what this means for the grid going into 2023
Ducati’s 2022 MotoGP bike has had a tough start to life and the expected early-season title charge from Francesco Bagnaia did not materialise. But the Spanish Grand Prix signalled a turning point for both the GP22 and Bagnaia, as the 2021 runner-up belatedly got his season underway after a straight fight with Fabio Quartararo
In a little over two months, Honda has gone from setting the pace in MotoGP testing with its new RC213V prototype to being at a crossroads - caused by the discrepancy in its riders' feedback. After a Portuguese GP that underwhelmed, serious questions are now being asked of Honda in 2022
Rossi: 2021 Yamaha MotoGP bike “very similar” to 2020 M1
Rins: Testing 2022 Suzuki engine not detracting from 2021 MotoGP work