Dramatic and also embarrassing day for Repsol Honda at the home race – here with Pol Espargaró the first of the two crashed drivers of the best team of the last 3 decades, which has only been a shadow of itself since 2020.

Lots of light and shadow at the 7th round of MotoGP near Barcelona

At the press conference on Thursday evening in Montmeló, when we heard Marc Marquez’s statements, we thought twice that we had misheard. This is not about his usual understatement with regard to arm, shoulder or any or alleged technical handicaps. We have already discussed this in detail in the report “The Marquez Threat”. No, it was rather the Catalan’s repeated claim that he and his colleagues would be playing in front of an audience for the first time this season. It was very surprising that the 6-time MotoGP World Champion made this statement before the 7th round of the World Championship. During his break, he had emphasized that he was very happy not to have to watch the races just sitting in front of the TV. The following is the picture from the first race in Losail, which shouldn’t really fit Marc’s powers of observation.

Before the start of the season opener 2021 in Losail in Moto2 – you can look at the figures on the right in the stands, although, as the TV recordings prove, they were by no means mannequins, as they often moved. Only at the 2nd race in Qatar was there a ban on spectators.

Many top performances in Montmeló shaped the Sunday

While Miguel Oliveira laid the foundation for his success with a strong start, others had to fight extremely hard for it. Above all, Johann Zarco and his compatriot Fabio Quartararo. Initially, the two French had anything but easy and the number 5 fell back to position 7 behind a certain Marc Marquez. From lap six, however, he had enough of it and from then on, despite all precautions not to overuse his tires, he chased the four lying in front of him. After being stuck a tad too long behind Ducati brand colleague Miller, he ended up missing his first MotoGP win of his career by less than two tenths.

Johann Zarco with his Pramac Ducati Racing team-mate Jorge Martin at the PK in the background – for the fourth time the fast man from Cannes was the best Ducati driver in the 7th race of the season and is second behind Monster Energy Yamaha ace Quartararo.

KTM on the upswing – others with some solid performances
But Oliveira was also able to convince, as he brought his first win of the season under wraps, albeit very thinly in the end. He and KTM did a lot of things right this weekend, even if his team-mate Brad Binder fell slightly short of expectations with P8. Maverick Viñales and Joan Mir, the only Suzuki hope, were not able to shine completely either, but they again scored important points for the championship and, above all, their teams. Enea Bastianini ranked 10th among the highlights. The Italian rookie had already achieved his third top ten result of the season and is thus clearly in the lead in the ranking of the best MotoGP newcomer of the year.

Enea “la Bestia” Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama Ducati) here in front of Alex Marquez (LCR Honda) was once again the best rookie and at the finish well ahead of the younger brother of the fallen HRC figurehead Marc.

Fabio Quartararo’s incredible race
The Monster Energy pilot, on the other hand, fought for the lead from the middle of the race after being the first to capture Oliveira. In addition to fading tires, however, he struggled with material problems of a particular nature in the final laps because his leather suit had opened, and he even had to remove his chest protector so as not to lose it uncontrollably on the long straight. How he managed to keep Jack Miller behind under these circumstances deserves more than just respect. For most observers, Fabio was the hero of the day when he crossed the checkered flag in 3rd place despite all the adversities. We have summarized what happened afterwards in our report “FIM plays God” and do not want to repeat it here.

Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) in the last 3 laps with his handicap due to a defective zipper in his leather suit. Although he did not endanger anyone but himself, he was given a time penalty for the material defect!

Before the Sachsenring GP – currently six to ten drivers with recognizable title chances
Because it is of course far too early for that, forecasts of the World Cup favorites are pure speculation. At the moment, however, it is certain that the first 6 to 10 in the intermediate ranking in particular have the best cards for this. The drivers behind, on the other hand, would have to lay down several exploits and hope for errors and failures in front of them in order to really get closer to the top. There are absolutely sensational two Frenchmen, while returnees Marc Marquez will hardly be able to play a role in the fight for the title. Below is the World Cup table before round 8 with the German GP.

The return of the audience – joy mixed with amazement

We literally know the Circuito de Cataluña like the back of our hand, we’ve been there so often in the past two decades. It is a very attractive route, especially for visitors, with numerous superbly located natural grandstands. In addition, one of the few courses where you can usually start circumnavigating on foot, which we always and often do on site, if anywhere possible. Neither grandstand seats nor media rooms are our thing, and we only use VIP seats occasionally because they are clearly arranged. The fact that spectators are now being admitted again after the first race of the season in Losail was just as gratifying as the drivers. But we see the joy mixed with a certain astonishment when we see how this is handled. Instead of the visitors being asked to move as far from each other as possible, they were penned in grandstands. Given the corona pandemic, this isn’t just a bad joke for virologists.

Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati Racing) in his crash in the so-called “sighting lap” – in the sector in which the Spanish rookie fell, there are a lot of spectators in normal races. However, due to the restriction to 10 thousand visits, the organizers only wanted to sell the more expensive grandstand seats and the buyers were not allowed to move freely on the track.

The many flops – above all the Honda works team and Tech 3 KTM

Starting with Repsol Honda, there were of course also numerous losers and the flop of the day was definitely delivered by the two teammates Pol Espargaró and Marc Marquez with their falls. Instead of driving a little with your head and scoring important points for the team and the manufacturer, both ended up in the gravel trap in quick succession. The same goes for the two Tech 3 KTM riders Petrucci and Lecuona, who gave their French team the red lantern in the team ranking. The race for Valentino Rossi was just as bad as for his archenemy Marquez. After P10 in Mugello with a crash, the next low blow, it is bad for the old master. His team-mate Frankie Morbidelli wasn’t happy after finishing 9th either, but he is still 10th in the World Championship. For his compatriot Pecco Bagnaia, damage control was obviously the order of the day after the fall in Mugello, but with seventh place he lost further important points in the battle for the top of the table, and he even slipped behind team-mate Miller in the intermediate classification. Below is the result of the seventh race of the season and below that the team and manufacturer championship.

Unless otherwise stated, this applies to all images (© MotoGP).