The situation in the World Championship after the first 3 laps of MotoGP
With the third race of the season, the fans gained some insights that were not expected in many places. Starting with Jack Miller, one of the most frequently mentioned favorites can only be found in the 12th place in the title fight. We initially expressed our concern in our live blog on Sunday morning that we shouldn’t overdo it, see this article: http://www.motoracers.eu/portugal-sunday-live/?lang=en.
But unfortunately the Australian didn’t listen to us and made his first crash after two 9th places. The same goes for Johann Zarco, but with the Frenchman, a problem with his gear shift was partly to blame for the fall in Turn 10. Nevertheless, the former world championship leader is still in fourth place and is only 6 points short of second place. Alex Rins crashed his Suzuki on the hunt for the eventual winner, but this often happens in such situations. With 7th place in the World Cup, the Catalan is still in good shape. But who were the absolute winners after 3 races?
The clear winners: Quartararo, Bagnaia and Rins – the 3 guys on the podium and Aleix
Regarding the situation in the World Championship after the first 3 laps of MotoGP, it is always helpful to take a look at the interim rankings. The 3 men on the podium at Portimão are very close to the front. Plus just one place behind the reigning world champion Aleix Espargaró, the Spanish warrior on the Aprilia. For the Italian manufacturer, the Catalan from Granollers in the immediate vicinity of the Circuito de Cataluña near Barcelona brings him to an absolute gem. Single-handedly, he embarrasses Honda and KTM race after race and is still rarely in public for it. Almost everyone spoke and wrote about Marc Marquez’s comeback, but they ignored the brave Aleix completely. In addition to the three boys on the podium, the Catalan sunny boy at Aprilia should be mentioned in the same breath as World Cup leader Quartararo from a sporting point of view.
The supposed winners: Marc Marquez and Brad Binder
We want to take our time in a separate article about the first driver and his return. At this point, however, it should not be overlooked that in seventh place he was only one position better than team-mate Pol Espargaró in his very first race for Repsol Honda. If you also consider that three drivers in front of him fell, the performance of the 6-time world champion is put into perspective. His new teammate was not so lucky when he fought for 8th place in the first race in Losail. With his former teammate Brad Binder, the case is similar to that of Marquez. Without the falls of the pilots in front of him, it would have been 8th place for the South African. Nevertheless, he delivered a solid performance and for the second time in a row he saved KTM from an absolute debacle. Below is the intermediate result in the drivers’ world championship, with a clear leader.
The clear losers – KTM and Honda keep stumbling
Ironically, the comeback hit by Marc Marquez, which had been planned for a long time with specific previous tests, turned into a flop from a sporting point of view. He was not undisputed at 100 percent of his previous performance, as he had always emphasized with numerous gestures before the race. On the other hand, there was no compulsion to drive in Portugal. On the contrary, in retrospect it was probably a mistake. Ultimately, the 2019 world champion was no better than test and substitute driver Stefan Bradl in the same position last year. Incidentally, not a single driver in front of him fell in the German in November 2020, and he was only 4 seconds short of fourth. With Marquez, on the other hand, it was over 8 seconds and therefore from a sober point of view one can speak of a failure at Honda. The technical breakdown of Pol Espargaró underlined this even more. In addition, Takaaki Nakagami finished in the top 5 last year and Alex Marquez was one place better than this time.
KTM in the deep – will the Austrians still manage to get out of the crisis?
Brad Binder’s happy fifth place and Petrux and Lecuona’s first points cannot hide that. The oranges are still at a tremendous low. The two Tech 3 drivers would not have been able to make it into the first 15 on their own without various failures in front of them. In addition, works driver Miguel Oliveira landed in the gravel trap as last year’s winner. Three KTM pilots in the last 4 places, that is simply embarrassing for the Austrian brand in view of the enormous effort and budget. Now it seems to be proving what the reality looks like without her test advantage last year and the long-time spearhead Pol Espargaró. You can only hope that your current figurehead from South Africa won’t make one of his famous falls again anytime soon. Otherwise, they will probably no longer find their way out of the crisis.
Manufacturers & team standing: Yamaha outstanding & Aprilia sensational
Except for Savadori’s support in Portugal single-handedly, Aleix Espargaró brought Aprilia Gresini into the top 5 of the team ranking. You shouldn’t forget how small the budget of the Noale company is compared to the teams behind it. Truly, Fausto Gresini would certainly be proud of the Catalans and wonder why this success is so ignored by almost all fans, press and the public. It doesn’t take too long to calculate which team is currently by far the most successful. Just as little with the manufacturer, which is unlikely to change so quickly after Jerez. In the back half, on the other hand, it is tight and any of the manufacturers can wear the red lantern after the race in Andalusia.
The expectations for the round in Andalusia
After the double race last year, the two-time winner of 2020 as world championship leader is even more a favorite. But at Fabio Quartararo there is strong competition, especially from its own warehouse. We will go into more detail in the preliminary report, but the list of co-favorites should be longer than Fabio had hoped for. At the moment everyone is hoping that it will stay dry, although according to the current forecast, light rain is possible on Sunday. Should it be wet, the Frenchman’s chance of victory melts like butter in the sun, as he has so far been considered a bad rider in the rain.