Five things to know ahead of the Valencia GP | 2021 MotoGP Valencia Preview
The 2021 MotoGP season heads into the last race of the season on November 14 and the host for it is the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. The 4.005km circuit has 14 corners out of which five are right hand corners while the other nine are left handers. Turn 1, Turn 2 and Turn 14 are the biggest hotspots for overtake attempts. This is also helped with the roughly one kilometer of straight tarmac on the start-finish straight which helps riders slipstream one another for an overtake attempt at speeds of above 300kmph.
The championships have been sealed with Fabio Quartararo winning the 2021 MotoGP World Championship and Ducati taking the 2021 Constructors Championship. But there are a lot of other things that will unfold in the final race of the season. Yamaha and Honda have been really strong on this circuit due to the tight circuit layout of the track. The motorcycle with higher flickability characteristics and a forgiving chassis tends to prevail here. These requirements are Ducati’s Achilles heel on their 2021 Desmosedici GP bike. But, the Ducati is easily the best motorcycle on the 2021 MotoGP grid and Francesco Bagnaia will have a point to prove as he lost the title after crashing out of the Emilia Romagna GP. Oh and did we mention, the Moto 2 rider’s title will be decided here on the final race of their season as well. With that said, there is a lot more to know for the weekend ahead. So let’s look at the five things to know ahead of the Valencia GP weekend.
1. Marc Marquez to miss out Valencia GP
Marc Marquez will miss out the Valencia GP as his injuries from his off-road training session has caused his vision to blur. Reports suggest that he has suffered a mild concussion from the accident but has caused his vision problems from 2011 to come back.
Marquez has won on two anti-clockwise tracks this season (COTA, Aragon) and was in contention to challenge for the race win on this track. But the uncertainty on the severity of his injury keeps him out of the track and HRC Honda test rider Stefan Bradl taking his place.
Marquez will still end the 2021 MotoGP calendar as the top rider for Honda. Even after not scoring in eight races out of the eighteen-race season, Marc is ahead of teammate Pol Espargaro by 42 points in the standings.
But all is not lost for Honda. Pol and LCR Honda rider Alex Marquez have shown signs of brilliance on the RC213V bike. And with Repsol Honda having a good track record on this circuit, it will be interesting to see if these two riders can hold the fort down in the absence of Marquez. LCR Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami will also be in the mix, but with his discomfort in taming the bike might just haunt him on this layout.
2. Joan Mir and Suzuki’s winless 2021 season
Joan Mir became the 2020 MotoGP World Champion after winning one out of the 14 races conducted that season. If you do not remember, Marc Marquez was out of the championship on the first race and the entire season was cut short due to the pandemic.
Even though Joan’s win in his second season in MotoGP was a little controversial, he had high hopes that he, along with Suzuki, would take their momentum into the 2021 season and become more than just race winners.
But the level of progress made by the other manufacturers on the grid has left Suzuki in the dust and Joan’s bet with Suzuki has come into question, especially with the silly season ahead.
However, Mir has expressed that even if he is struggling to digest his lacklustre season, he still wants to work ahead for the 2022 season with Suzuki. But this would also mean that Suzuki is on a thin line, if they want to keep Mir interested in their project for the seasons ahead. Mir currently stands third in the 2021 championship table with 195 points.
3. Ducati snatches the 2021 Constructors Championship title from Yamaha
Ducati Corse did not have the best motorcycles on the grid when they had started the season with the 2021 Desmosedici GP bike. The bike had the famous Ducati horsepower on the long straights. But the riders had trouble getting the best lap times out on a track with medium to slow speed corners.
But as the season completed half of its races, the Italian team picked up the slack with upgrades and the team started winning races and edged very close to winning both the championships. In the end, the upgrades came in a little late and that hampered Francesco Bagnaia’s title run.
Speaking of Bagnaia, the young Ducati rider has shown exemplary performance in the second half of the season. He achieved five podium finishes, out of which three are race wins, in the nine races of the second half so far.
Even though the title slipped out of his hands in the Emilia Romagna GP, this doesn’t take anything away from the work they put in this year. If anything, it makes Ducati the favourites for the 2023 title. Now, whether that comes in the hands of Bagnaia or not, is something we would have to wait and find out. And that starts from the Valencia GP ahead.
4. Pedro Acosta seals the 2021 Moto 3 World Championship
Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was crowned the Moto 3 World Champion in the Algarve GP after his title rival, Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) crashed out of the race.
Acosta’s win in his rookie season makes him one of the top riders in the junior categories and it is certain that manufacturers would be lining up on his doorstep to get him into their stables.
Dennis Foggia’s title hopes were taken away when Darryn Binder took him out of the Algarve GP. Binder has apologised for his mistake but Leopard Racing were livid with Binder and have even lashed out at the young rider in the press.
Now, KTM is leading the constructor’s championship table with 353 points while Honda trails by 18 points. With the last race of the season just days away, we have to see if Acosta can help KTM seal the Moto 3 Constructor Championship, or will Honda snatch away the triple crown dream from KTM? We’ll find out soon enough.
5. Moto 2 World Championship title to be sealed in the final race
Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is heading the race for the 2021 Moto 2 title run with 305 points with teammate Raul Fernández trailing the leader by just 23 points. This will welcome a battle of teammates to look out for in the Valencia GP ahead.
Even though Raul has won more races than Gardner this season, seven wins to Gardner’s five, it’s Garner’s consistency that has let him stay ahead in the championship. Now even though they are teammates, they will have their elbows out to deny each other a chance for glory.
KTM has performed really well with the introduction of the Triumph engines and now have a chance to see both their riders fight for the title in the final race of the season. But the bigger question is, which KTM rider will be crowned as the Moto 2 World Champion and who will they replace in their stables provided the winner gets to jump into the Premiere class? That we will have to find out after the results come in from the Valencia GP.
With that said, the Valencia GP is on November 14 with Moto 3 starting at 3:30pm IST, Moto 2 starting at 4:30pm IST and MotoGP starting from 6:30pm IST. You can view them on Eurosports and Eurosports HD. For more news and updates from the world of motorsports, stay tuned to evo India!