Five things to take away from the Valencia GP | 2021 MotoGP Valencia Analysis
Round 18 of the 2021 MotoGP season came to an end at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia. The 4.005km track hosted the final race of the MotoGP season and Francesco Bagnaia sealed the deal with yet another victory. The young Pramac Ducati rider Jorge Martin finished the race in P2 after starting from pole and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) finished third. All the three steps on the podium were taken by Ducati and this was the first time Ducati could achieve that feat in MotoGP. Looking down the order, Joan Mir struggled to keep up with the Bologna bullets. He did not put a foot wrong throughout the race after starting from P4 and even though he was able to show the back of his wheels to the Ducati’s ahead in the race, the Team Suzuki Ecstar’s MotoGP bike was not capable enough to keep the championship winning bikes behind. Even a two-year old Ducati run by Avintia Esponsorama Racing is doing wonders in the hands of Enea Bastianini. Enea started the race from P18 on the grid and managed to climb to P8 on the grid by the end of the race. Both Repsol Honda bikes could not participate in the race as Pol Espargaro suffered a massive crash during practice.
This also marks the end of Valentino Rossi’s career in MotoGP. After winning 9 championships, 115 races and 235 podium finishes, Rossi will leave a legacy behind that very few will be able to accomplish.This race marked Rossi’s 432nd race and he finished a strong P10. Surely, the Vale46 fans will be missed as they drowned the circuit with the iconic Neon yellow smoke.
With all that said, let us now look at the five things to take away from the 2021 Valencia GP.
1. Ducati Lenovo Team wins the 2021 MotoGP Team championship
At the start of the season the Ducatis were not the best bikes on the grid. It looked like their power advantage on the straights were not enough to keep the Bologna bullets ahead of their rivals. But as the season progressed, the constant updates to the 2021 Desmosedici GP bike made it the best bike by far on the grid by the end of the season.
The last race proves the claim made above as Ducati managed to seal the top three positions on the podium, which by the way, is the first time to happen in Ducati’s MotoGP career.
Ducati had sealed the constructor’s championship in the previous race and with the result of Valencia, they were also able to win the 2021 teams championship title. Ducati Team’s turn around in the second half of the season really allowed them to not only win races but also to perform better with both bikes finishing in top positions.
What will be interesting to see is how much better the Ducatis will be in the 2022 MotoGP, in terms of motorcycle performance, when compared to the others. Will Repsol Honda be able to develop the RC213V without the involvement of Marc Marquez or will Suzuki finally pull a rabbit out of the hat and give their GSX-RR MotoGP bike the power it desperately needs? We will find out soon enough.
2. Francesco Bagnaia finishes the season on a high
Francesco Bagnaia moved up to the Ducati Lenovo Team for the 2021 season and things were running smoothly for the young Italian rider. Right off the bat, he was being considered as one of the top contenders for the title.
It was in the middle of the season where Bagnaia started to lose momentum, as a result of which a significant gap opened up between him and title challenger Fabio Quartararo. The Styrian GP and the British GP exposed his and the shortcomings of the 2021 Desmosedici GP bike.
But the final six races are where we saw Bagnaia and the Ducati Team find their rhythm. He won four out of the six races and it looked like he could just win the championship title from El Diablo. But in the end, his crash in the Emilia Romagna GP sealed the fight for the riders championship.
However, in the final race of the season, Bagnaia’s controlled performance through the race showed how far he and Ducati have come since the 18 races. And the performances that he and Jack Miller put up through the season, allowed Ducati to win the constructors as well as the team championship title.
It will be interesting to see how far Bagnaia and Ducati go in the 2022 season. Ducati has ended the 2021 season as the best motorcycle on the grid. Will Francesco be able to carry the momentum going in 2022? We’ll find out soon enough.
3. Enea Bastianini puts in a stellar performance in Valencia GP
2020 Moto 2 champion Enea Bastianini was one of the young stars that caught the eye of the entire MotoGP paddock. After winning the Moto 2 title, he was given the chance to ride for the Avintia Esponsorama Racing team, which uses a two-year old Ducati to participate in the grand prix.
Enea’s performance was consistent from the get go and failed to score only four times in the first thirteen races. He was fitting in well with the motorcycle and was able to quickly understand the abilities of the Desmosedici bike.
Things turned around for Enea in the two races held at the San Marino circuit. He was able to use the power advantage of his Ducati and finish third in both the races.
At the end of the season, Enea was able to finish 11th in the riders championship with 102 points, beating factory riders like Pol Espargaro (HRC Honda) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar). This makes him one the best young riders on the grid and an asset for Ducati to rely on in the future.
The question is, which rider will see the door in the Ducati stables if they want to make space for Enea Bastianini? Predictions are that he may be given a Pramac Ducati deal and the driver he'll replace will be Johann Zarco. But for now, it is just a prediction.
4. One last ride in MotoGP
2021 MotoGP Valencia turned out to be a very significant race for MotoGP. This race marked the last race of MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi as he retires from premiere class racing. Rossi is one of the most significant icons for the MotoGP world and he was the rider who made MotoGP famous in the first place.
His approachable nature outside the track with his ruthless nature when he is on it, made him an instant fan favourite. And after winning nine championships, he was easily considered the best rider of all time.
In his final race, Rossi started the grid from P10 and faced a tough battle from the riders in the middle of the pack. Rossi had to work hard to keep his position and in the end, he was able to finish a strong P10, just 16 seconds off the race leader.
There was one more rider on the grid who was having his last race in MotoGP. Danilo Petrucci says goodbye to premiere class racing and ends his career in MotoGP as a Tech 3 KTM rider.
Petrucci has been racing in MotoGP since 2012 out of which six of them were on the Ducati bike. He performed decently with the Italian team and also got the chance to be a factory Ducati rider for two years. But, in the end, he was let go by Ducati after not being able to perform to Ducati’s expectations.
He ended his MotoGP career with Tech 3 KTM, where he joined for the 2021 season. He will now try his hands in motorcycle rallying and hopefully we will see him in Dakar soon enough.
5. Remy Gardner seals the 2021 Moto2 championship
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Remy Gardner took the Moto2 riders championship title after coming P10 on the final race of the calendar. He was neck and neck with his teammate Raul Fernandez for the title battle and it boiled down to the last race.
The title fight became even more interesting when title leader Gardner had to start the race from P8 on the grid while his rival and teammate started ahead of him in P5. As the race went underway, it looked like Remy was not able to get a good rhythm on his KTM and started dropping positions.
But on the other side, Raul got a good start off the line and managed to gain places on the opening laps. By the middle of the race, Raul was trying hard to do what was expected of him, which was to be in the lead of the race.
But even though Raul managed to take the lead of the race and win, it was just not enough points to give him the title. As Gardner finished the race inside the points, it gave him the championship title by a difference of just four points.
This was one of closest battles for the championship we have seen in Moto2 and it being against riders of the same team, made it that much more enjoyable. The question now is will Remy get the chance to move to Tech 3 KTM as Petrucci departs? Or will Remy be taken up by another constructor in the grid? We will find out soon enough.
With all that said, we now wait for the 2022 MotoGP season to start. The 2022 season is expected to be a whooping 21 races long and is expected to start in Qatar’s Losail International Circuit on March 6. Will Fabio Quartararo be able to defend the title he has just won or will the charging Bolona bullets outclass all the other manufacturers on the grid? We will find out soon enough. For more news and updates from the world of motorsport, stay tuned to evo India!