When we visited Sepang, we only felt at home to a limited extent, here our photography on the MotoGP weekend in 2007. A good ten years later, it was hardly possible to get through here if you wanted to get to the track, there was a constant traffic jam from morning to evening. In addition, we had gone terribly wrong with the Mövenpick Klia Hotel – a terrible “juice shop”, never again! We didn’t feel like traveling for the tests in February 2020, but at the end of the month we went to Phillip Island for the WorldSBK season opener.

A little look back at the almost perfect time a year ago

Actually, the MotoGP would be currently testing if the Dorna hadn’t had a completely nonsensical plan for testing in Sepang. What a wonderful time, many scribes will think today, it was just a year ago in February! The motorsport journalists lurked like hungry wolves for the first headlines they hoped for from the tests in Sepang. At the time, they too read about a virus called Corona in the usual media, but for a long time not a single one of them was concerned. We went through many articles from that time again and would like to present our readers a year later some outgrowths about MotoGP in short form.

Jorge Lorenzo on the Yamaha M1 – hardly resigned came the wildest speculations about alleged missions of the Mallorcan for 2020. Instead, he got chubby, slouched around luxury pools and established himself as a dubious social media star (© MotoGP).

An interesting look back at some reportings a year ago
It was more the bush fires of Australia that became a constant topic before the races started. Not one or hardly a word about Covid-19 was written on sports portals in the first two months of 2020. There were indications of a new rear tire from Michelin. The Red Bull Media rainbow press continued to blaspheme Johann Zarco and continued to drag him through the mud. They apparently had nothing better to do in the “sour pickle season”. His decision to leave KTM was already half a year ago at this time. The fast man from Cannes was supposed to give his answer on the track and was sensationally strong several times on his last year’s Ducati GP-19.

Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Ducati) – voluntarily left KTM in the summer of 2019 after a few months, he was then dragged through the mud by Red Bull and KTM for months (© MotoGP).

A lot of nonsense and often enough only fictitious stories

In the absence of interesting current topics, many writers invented abstruse fairy tales at the beginning of 2020, as is so often the case. For example, the repeated claim that old master Max Biaggi would act as a MotoGP tester for Aprilia in Sepang. None of this came true. Then came the ultra-boring team presentations with the usual blah-blah, almost everyone told the same thing. Everyone longed for it when the engines finally roared again. There was speculation about alleged plans for calendar postponements for 2021 and the dates of Phillip Island and Valencia questioned. The new surface in Austin for the Texas GP was also new, what a waste!

Dominique Aegerter on the Forward MV Agusta in Austin – the surface was replaced a year later, but as it turned out later, this was a wasted effort (© Forward MV Agusta).

Just before it finally started in February

Shortly before the time had come for start of the engines in Sepang, it was reported in many places that the calendar for 2020 was officially confirmed. What a supposedly ideal time it was a year ago! As a gift in return for his invitation to the downhill ski media spectacle in Kitzbühel, Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta brought an award for the Red Bull headman “Didi” Mateschitz. With a lot of fanfare, the Austrian GP was awarded the “best Grand Prix” of MotoGP for the second time at the Hahnenkamm event. This can definitely not have related to the meager accommodation offer in the area. It goes without saying that the gentlemen from FIM and Dorna are privileged to stay in exclusive resorts and they don’t care about the problems of the majority of MotoGP fans.

Our photo from the Red Bull Ring in 2018 on the MotoGP weekend. Undoubtedly a nice place for MotoGP races, but the track has not been unfairly criticized by many drivers for its MotoGP not suitable layout. Another problem is the lack of accommodation in a reasonable distance, i.e. with less than an hour’s drive to the route.

Apparent worries about the Sepang tests and other things

Shortly before the start of the test, you could read about muscle wasting in Marc Marquez’s shoulder. There was talk of 60 to 70 percent less functionality. Red Bull Media also spread the rumor through their sports site, disguised as a neutral portal, that HRC Honda supposedly wanted to part with Repsol. Bad luck, the soda and media group failed in the end in its crude attempt to become the main sponsor of the Marquez factory team. Furthermore, you could read, that Dovizioso not only sees Marquez and himself as the favorites for 2020. How right he should be! Maverick Viñales extended his contract with Yamaha in late January. A little later, the deal with Fabio Quartararo was also fixed for 2 years at the Catalan’s side. And after a weak second half of 2019, Petrucci promised improvement for the coming year.

Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) in front of his compatriot Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha) – in the end, the one in front should lose his place in the Reds works team early on and only surpass himself in one race (© MotoGP).

When the engines roared in Sepang a year ago

Stefan Bradl told right from the start of the tests, that lap times were secondary from his point of view. Clear and understandable for everyone, MotoGP test drives apparently preferably take place with a little more than idle. A few months later, the Bavarian said in a TV interview that he allegedly hardly rode the Honda and that he shouldn’t be expected to replace Marquez. In the end, he got an average of 2.45 points in 11 races in 2020 and thus fulfilled his threat before the start of the season. Despite alleged shoulder problems, Marc Marquez was only 1 hundredth slower than Dovi on the first day of the test, it was not very much, for the catalan’s allegedly handicap.

Stefan Bradl (HRC Honda) photographed by us before the start of the Jerez Grand Prix in May 2019. Less than a year later, the German became the inventor of fairy tales when he found it difficult to keep up with his opponents as a long-term Marquez replacement rider. So he invented the story of the supposedly noncompetitive Honda, which was taken up by many journalists afterwards.

The miraculous transformation from a supposedly disabled person to a top driver
Although allegedly only 60 to 70 percent, it was enough for the reigning world champion at a time that was just over half a second above Quartararo’s best lap. In Jerez in July it should be by far the fastest before its crash. Nevertheless, some pranksters invented the fairy tale of the supposedly less competitive Honda RC213V from 2020, above all the sneak on duty, Stefan Bradl. Shortly after the Sepang tests, Marc Marquez or writers invented new rumors about an allegedly discussed new operation on the shoulder. As soon as all this was fictitious, it should no longer play a role later.

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) crashing in the 1st race in Jerez 2020 – pictures that went around the world. The man who was famous for his “saves” could not prevent his violent fall this time. The main problem after that was not his broken upper arm, but that he risked a comeback on his own much too early and ignored all the doctors’ warnings (© MotoGP).

The revised provisional calendar for 2021

At first glance, many fans thought that FIM and Dorna were a bit too stubborn with the first edition on November 6th. But the second edition also reads as if the gentlemen had learned little from the past. At the beginning of February, the number of Covid-infections in Qatar rose by around 80 percent. This was to be expected after various international sports events (e.g. Australian Open qualifying, Soccer) there. It is here of all places that it should start in March, where the pandemic made the start of the season of the premier class impossible last year. Since the tests of the Dorna were also scheduled for March 10th to 12th in Losail, team members and drivers have to fly back and forth for almost a month or stay in the desert state in one go. This means a very high and incalculable risk. See also our article “Just the wrong thing”.

Clumsy signals – one of many examples

Red Bull Media, MotoGP and “Petrux” themselves reported widely about their fitness program in the “Red Bull Training Center” – a slap in the face for countless fitness centers that are currently worried about their existence. Many of them are unlikely to survive the lockdown (© MotoGP).