Losail circuit press room. There are no journalists other than the driver of the event, a member of the organization of the Motorcycle World Championship; but there are cameras.
The show begins on the same stage where a year ago everything was suspended, the championship and dreams frozen. Until the competition was resumed in July. The world had changed. And so would the World Cup, which would lose the leader of the peloton, Marc Márquez in the first race. And he found no more references, no matter how numerous the candidates. And despite the efforts made by the champion, Joan Mir, to showcase talent and character.
A month later, MotoGP is preparing to see the traffic light go off again. After the question round, the drivers are asked for a forecast. Like so many times before on the first day of school. "I have put Mir, who last year nobody remembered him and then look what happened," says Fabio Quartararo, who won the first two races of 2020 before the successor poster began to weigh on him. 14 great prizes after that day when none of the riders wrote the name of Joan Mir on a blackboard with the favorites to take the title, the Mallorcan won the World Championship at 23 years old on the back of a sweet Suzuki. His locker contained only one victory in a season in which there were up to nine different winners
For this reason, because the list of candidates for the title is as wide or greater than in 2020, and because the absence of Marc Márquez this year is estimated momentarily – he is now discharged, his right humerus is recovered and he has already trained in Montmeló and Portimao, where he is expected for the third round of the World Cup – no one fears the champion Mir. The entire MotoGP grid will ride on motorcycles this Sunday and will fight for the Qatar Grand Prix trophy without being convinced of what the year will bring. No one will have them all with him until Márquez returns, winner of six of the last eight seasons, winner of the World Cup up to two times despite having two zeros in his locker.
Fabio Quartararo, at the first press conference of the World Cup MotoGPAFP7 via Europa Press / Europa Press
Meanwhile, of course, those dozen riders who aspire to take the baton from Mir are struggling on the Qatari circuit, day and night, when the race will be held this Sunday (at 7:00 p.m., Spanish time, in Dazn). Among the candidates for victory resonates the name of Jack Miller, Ducati's official rider, a team that has renewed its entire squad after the goodbye of Andrea Dovizioso , now an Aprilia tester. Although there are things that have not changed: the Desmosedici continues to fly in Qatar. So does Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati), one of those additions that rejuvenates and refreshes the grill. As with Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha), runner-up in 2020, Binder, the first winner with a KTM, or Oliveira (also KTM), who achieved two victories and summed up the year perfectly: “When Marc got injured we all started to believe each other capable of winning races and fighting for the title ”.
It was a sensation that unequally affected the different candidates to take the leadership that Márquez had until then. It is admitted by Quartararo, now an official Yamaha rider in a change of cards that has taken Rossi to the Petronas team, although with an official M1. "I wanted to show people a lot in a very short time," he acknowledged this Thursday, explaining that he needed more sessions with the psychologist to learn how to manage these new emotions. These are the emotions that his new teammate, Maverick Viñales , has been dealing with for a long time, whose personal life has turned upside down this winter: he has married and is expecting a girl to start fatherhood at 26 years old. His irregularity in recent seasons has not made him lose the confidence of the house of tuning forks although much more is expected of him than has been seen to date.
Another of the favorites for the title is Alex Rins, who rides with the greatest One of the delicacies is a Suzuki that last year became the most envied bike on the grid, for its regularity and for the consistency shown at the end of the race.
More information Qatar GP 2021: schedule and where to watch the MotoGP race Marc Márquez will not be there for the start of the MotoGP World Championship
Pol Espargaró, who wants to demolish the legend that the Japanese is the most difficult motorcycle in the championship, is adapting with will and good times to the almighty Honda. He, for now, assumes that the driver has much more to improve than not the machine. His older brother, Aleix Espargaró, works in the opposite direction –up to three pairs of brothers compete this year in MotoGP, with the Márquez, Alex (now in the LCR team) and Marc; Rossi and his stepbrother Luca Marini – who proudly watches the evolution of the Aprilia this season, a bike that takes more advantage of aerodynamics, lighter and with more top speed.
Rossi has been no longer a favorite for years, but as he never gives up, nor does anyone lose sight of him, capable of taking advantage of all the experience accumulated in 26 years of competition on race Sundays.
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