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.
His third place at Misano made Enea Bastianini the fifth different Ducati-mounted rider to score a podium in 2021. Amid a season that has seen one rider amass the bulk of Yamaha and Honda's success, the Ducati's versatility makes for a potent weapon, but the contribution of a former leading light shouldn't be forgotten
Maverick Vinales’ early debut with Aprilia has been one of the most interesting plots of the recent MotoGP rounds. The results may not look standout on paper, but a closer inspection reveals just how much progress Vinales has truly made in understanding a bike that has taken him well out of his “comfort zone”
On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino Grand Prix will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP’s present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia’s flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows
Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis
OPINION: The return of Andrea Dovizioso to the grid at Misano will be an interesting subplot to the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. But the circumstances that have led to the former Ducati rider ending his sabbatical point to his signing being one more of convenience than a long-term commitment
OPINION: The 2021 British Grand Prix was a historic day for MotoGP. At the centre of it was Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia after securing its first podium in the modern MotoGP era. It was something of a full-circle moment that highlighted just how far MotoGP has come in the last decade
OPINION: Many of the UK’s MotoGP fans would prefer Donington Park to host the British GP beyond the expiry of Silverstone's current deal. But the circuit's fast, flowing circuit provides the best racing and should be regarded as its best bet for the foreseeable future
The 2020 MotoGP season was an utterly enthralling affair, but few would argue with you if thought it the world championship was a poorer place without its biggest star Marc Marquez. In an exclusive interview, he explains the challenges he's faced in his comeback from injury and what he makes of the current MotoGP landscape
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