After 4 out of 5 days of testing – the first injured driver
With Alex Marquez it hit the brother of the most prominent absentee Marc. The younger brother of the multiple world champion, moved from HRC Honda to the LCR customer team, made a highsider. When landing, the Moto2 title winner from 2019 definitely hurt, after which he had to go to the medical center. When he came back from the examination, we saw his right lower leg and foot in a cast. The official diagnosis is “small metatarsal fracture”. As for his brother Marc, he is expected to receive a medical update on Friday regarding the medical profession’s assessment of his return. There are optimists who are still hoping for Losail to return after an 8-month break. However, this should remain a pipe dream. Jerez or in the best case already Portimão is much more realistic.
Yamaha: Maverick – the “escape animal” and Fabio the relaxed one
Two weeks from now there will be the first press conference before a Grand Prix race in the desert state of Qatar. If you want to know today what will be important for Viñales, we can tell you today. The young man from Figueres really wants to be on the front row. From there he will try to drive up and away from all competitors at the start, if possible. During the tests, Maverick practiced starts continuously, and he frankly stated in the interview that he will try to escape to the front right from the start of the race. Monster Energy Yamaha team-mate Fabio Quartararo is a little more relaxed. On the 4th day the Frenchman was only a little slower than the fastest in training Viñales and Morbidelli as the second best. He practiced a long run, tried out various parts and will continue to do so on the 5th day of the test. The man from Nice knows his strengths and is a top favorite for pole position anyway.
The other Yamaha pilots
For the Rossi fans, the all-clear could be given from about an hour before the end of the session. After problems on the first few days, the old master managed consistently fast laps with the fourth-best time of all drivers up to 18:20. At that point the Petronas Yamaha SRT rider was the best Yamaha rider. At the end of the day, it was still the eighth best time for Valentino. His protégé Franco Morbidelli apparently doesn’t need to worry about his pace at the moment. The “Italo-Brazilian” drove the second fastest time of the 4th test day. After the test, he stated that he was mostly tired. In his estimation, he definitely has a good chance of winning the race in two weeks’ time. With all 4 rides in the top eight, Yamaha is currently the strongest. After the experiences of the previous year, however, it is only on March 28th to prove that the drivers can bring their strong pace over the full race distance.
Ducati and its many co-favorites
Starting with the two new works drivers, respectively pilots in the works team with Miller and Bagnaia, the two most frequently mentioned co-favorites for victory or at least the podium in the first race in two weeks. We belong to the group of representatives who warn against underestimating Johann Zarco, a third fast man from the Reds. The French already impressed as a rookie in Losail 4 years ago. This time, however, with the Ducati, he has absolutely top gear and is bursting with confidence. Together with Miller and Bagnaia, however, he is also one of those drivers who sometimes risk a little too much and then find themselves in the gravel bed. It will be very exciting to see which of the three will end up being the happiest in the first Grand Prix of the year.
The other Ducati pilots
All the rest of the Reds’ drivers are rookies, and it would be too easy to highlight one of them. As the first ever this year, Rossi’s half-brother Luca Marini appeared in the top ten shortly before 4 p.m. A little later, Enea Bastianini even made it to 6th place before he was replaced by Jorge Martin. So all three have shown that they have the potential for MotoGP. As with the other three Ducati drivers, it will be particularly exciting to see who will be the best of the three in the first race. With a placement in the top ten, each of them would certainly be more than satisfied, which also applies to their team bosses.
The two Suzuki Spaniards – they too are clear favorites
Admittedly, when counting the favorites we listed for victory or at least the podium, we now end up with an impressive number. As is well known, however, there are only 3 levels in MotoGP, on which place is for the 3 best. Not counting Alex Rins and the reigning world champion among the podium candidates would be wrong for several reasons. One of them is the pace, which the two also showed on the 4th day of the test. The other and almost more important aspect is their strength in the race, feared by their opponents. Last year, the two Suzuki spearheads rolled up the field several times because they weren’t right at the front in qualifying. Towards the end of the season, however, they also eradicated this small weakness, and you absolutely have to factor it in for the first race.
Honda and the search for the limit
As Takaaki Nakagami emphasized, it is currently still difficult for him to find the limit. Like his team-mate Marquez, the Japanese had crashed several times. Obviously it is anything but easy for all HRC pilots at the moment, because, as so often with the RC213V in the past, the front usually gives the driver little feeling. With Pol Espargró, HRC boss Alberto Puig should have made the right move to strengthen the team. If he does not fall, he has been considered a candidate for the top five at the first GP of the season at least since Wednesday. Since day 3 of the five-day Losail test, he has been the benchmark at Honda and finally replaced Stefan Bradl in this role. After his test lead, the German initially benefited greatly in the first few weeks of testing.
What will happen to Aprilia and KTM?
Aleix Espargaró is something like the Tom Sykes of MotoGP. Mostly in a good mood, very entertaining and lightning fast over a single lap. Points are only awarded in the race and not for fast laps. In spite of the excellent test times, you have to wait and see if he stays in the race and can consistently pull his pace over the full distance. It looks completely different at KTM, after a very special season, prematurely referred to by many as a top team. At the moment, however, the results show that the skeptics are right, who had announced that the oranges would relapse into the third class. Without her test advantage, as in the previous year, her magic is apparently completely gone. If it remains well over a second behind the best, the Austrians are threatened with bitter embarrassment. It looks like the loss of Pol Espargró could be a disaster for KTM.
The times of Thursday the 4th of 5 test days
The chronological development of the test from March 11, 2021: http://www.motoracers.eu/?lang=enhttp://www.motoracers.eu/losail-test-day-4-of-5/?lang=en