The 2021 MotoGP Rider Line Up: Who Goes Where, And Who Fills The Still Vacant Slots?

It was a busy day for MotoGP rider announcements. Three riders were confirmed in teams, with a fourth confirmed as leaving. The announcements were hardly a shock, but there was room for the odd raised eyebrow or two.

At Honda, there was the expected reshuffling to make room for Pol Espargaro in the Repsol Honda squad, the Spaniard offered a two-year deal alongside Marc Marquez. This bumped Alex Márquez down to the LCR Honda team, with a two-year contract as compensation. Alex Márquez may have lost his ride in the factory team before a wheel has turned in the 2020 MotoGP season, but at least he is now assured of three seasons in the premier class to prove himself.

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Announcement Monday: Petronas Extend Morbidelli For 2 Years, Repsol Honda Sign Pol Espargaro, Alex Marquez To LCR, Crutchlow Out

A bumper crop of announcements this morning, and though the contents had long been expected, there was still room for a surprise. The announcement that Pol Espargaro would be joining Marc Marquez in the Repsol Honda team had been long trailed, but today we got confirmation that the Spaniard had signed a two-year deal with HRC to race in the factory team, forcing Alex Marquez out. You can read about the possible consequences of that move, and what effect it will have on Marc Marquez, here.

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Risk vs Reward: Is Motocross Too Dangerous For MotoGP Riders?

Andrea Dovizioso at the 2020 Qatar MotoGP test - Photo by Rob Gray, Polarity Photo

66 million years ago, an object somewhere between the size of Mt. Everest and the country of Luxembourg (or the island of Puerto Rico) slammed into what would become the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico at a speed of 20 kilometers per second, or 72,000 km/h. The impact that an asteroid of that size moving at that speed made was unimaginably vast: scientists estimate that the energy released was around 100 million times that produced by Tsar Bomba, the most powerful hydrogen bomb ever built. The devastation that impact caused, helped along by wide-scale volcanic eruptions and climate change, killed a large percentage of life on earth, wiping out virtually all land and amphibian species larger than 25kg in body weight.

It could happen again. Objects from outer space hit the earth with alarming regularity. 50,000 years ago, a nickel-iron meteorite 50 meters across struck Arizona, creating the aptly named Meteor Crater. In 1908, a slightly larger object exploded a few kilometers above the forests of Siberia, near Tunguska, flattening 80 million trees. And in 2013, a 20 meter object lit up the skies above Chelyabinsk in Russia, eventually detonating some 30 kilometers up. The ensuing explosion and shock wave destroyed windows and damaged buildings in an area a hundred kilometers long and tens of kilometers in length.

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Andrea Dovizioso And Michael van der Mark: Different Series, Similar Story?

Andrea Dovizioso on the podium at the 2019 round of MotoGP at Spielberg, Austria - Photo Cormac Ryan Meenan

A strange week in the rider market took another turn with the threat from Simone Battistella, manager of Andrea Dovizioso, claiming that his rider would sit out 2021 in search of the right opportunity the following year.

It’s a brave gamble to take, but with Dovi set to be 36 years old by the time the season starts in 2022, it looks like a hollow threat. If Dovi sits out a year at this stage of his career, he would find it very difficult to get back on a competitive bike in the MotoGP field.

As things stand who has more leverage? Ducati, with Jack Miller under contract - not to mention having Johann Zarco, Pecco Bagnaia and a host of other riders waiting in the wings - or a 34-year-old veteran threatening to call time on his MotoGP career?

Youth vs experience

The answer seems pretty much self-evident. Speak to MotoGP managers about riders, and they will tell you that age is a big factor, preferring youthful potential over age and experience. This is one reason managers give when you ask them about signing riders from the WorldSBK paddock: they are too old, is the general consensus, with teams preferring to take a risk on a young rider from Moto2.

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Reigning WorldSSP Champion Randy Krummenacher Splits With MV Agusta

In a surprise move, reigning WorldSSP champion Randy Krummenacher has announced that he is splitting with the MV Agusta Reparto Corse team with immediate effect.

The Swiss rider gave only vague reasons for the split. In a press release, he blamed "serious breaches on the part of the company that compromise both the rider's performance as well as his professionalism, reputation, and personal integrity." Serious claims, but then splitting right before the season restarts at Jerez on the weekend of August 2nd is a big move to make.

Krummenacher won the WorldSSP championship in 2019, riding for the Evan Bros Yamaha squad, clinching the title by just 6 points from his teammate Federico Caricasulo.

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Valentino Rossi To Announce Petronas Yamaha Deal At Jerez

Valentino Rossi at the 2020 Qatar MotoGP test - Photo Cormac Ryan Meenan

It appears that the deal is done. Italian media, including La Gazzetta dello Sport and GPOne.com, are reporting that Valentino Rossi has reached agreement with Yamaha for a new two-year deal to race in the Petronas Yamaha squad. The deal is to be announced during the weekend of the first MotoGP round once it resumes at Jerez next weekend.

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Barcelona WorldSBK Test Day 2 Times: Rea And Redding Battle It Out For Top Spot

Jonathan Rea has ended the Barcelona WorldSBK test at the top of the timesheets, after a battle of wills with Ducati's Scott Redding. The pair chased each other to impressive heights during the morning session, throwing new tires at fast times until Redding decided that focusing on used tires was a more productive use of his time than continuing to chase Rea's fast time. "It was fun, it was spicing up the day, but I said, OK, one of us is going to end up with a big crash, because we keep going faster and faster and faster!" Redding commented afterwards.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 152: Even More MotoGP Silly Season Madness

Silly Season in MotoGP just seems to be getting wilder. In the latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast, Neil Morrison and Steve English get together to discuss the newest round of rumors on who goes where, in both MotoGP and WorldSBK.

Steve and Neil first take a deep dive into the growing rumors that Cal Crutchlow could join Aprilia for 2021. They discuss the situation at Honda, why Crutchlow would leave LCR rather than Takaaki Nakagami, why Crutchlow would consider taking the ride at Aprilia, and what to expect at Aprilia.

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Barcelona WorldSBK Test Day 1 Times: Redding Leads Rea, As Baz Is Fastest Yamaha

Testing is underway again for the WorldSBK series, with the main protagonists assembled at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo, near Barcelona. Scott Redding ended the day as fastest, the Aruba.it Ducati rider getting up to speed quickly again, finishing nearly two tenths faster than reigning champion Jonathan Rea on the Kawasaki.

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Austin Round of MotoGP At The Circuit Of The Americas Canceled

The Grand Prix of the Americas will not happen in 2020. Today, in a post on social media which has since been deleted, the Circuit of The Americas announced that the Austin round of MotoGP had been canceled, and a date set for the 2021 edition, to be held on April 18th.

The news hardly comes as a surprise, given the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Texas, and the growth in cases in the US in general. That has prompted the EU countries to put the US on a list of countries from which all non-essential travel is still banned, with no sign of that being lifted.

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Interview with Kenny Noyes - Five Years After the Fall

Kenny Noyes on his way to winning the 2014 CEV Superbike championship

Five years ago, on July 5th, 2015, at the Motorland Aragon circuit, reigning Spanish Superbike champion Kenny Noyes was getting ready for that weekend's round of the CEV Spanish Superbike championship. The American, son of veteran US journalist Dennis Noyes, and former Moto2 rider, had work to do to cut his deficit in the standings to current leader Carmelo Morales.

Noyes would not get a chance to close the gap. During the Sunday morning warm up session, the Kawasaki rider crashed. It was a bad crash. Very bad. So bad, in fact, that Noyes was left in a coma, and taken to hospital with suspected severe brain trauma.

In hospital, his coma was assessed as being very bad. His score on the Glasgow Coma Scale was 3, the lowest possible score, and the most severe condition of unresponsiveness which is only distinguished from death by basic functions of lung and heart. After a long coma, and then a long period of what is called "minimal consciousness" which is basically a vegetative state, Noyes began moving up the scale.

The American is dogged and persistent, however. As his condition improved, he sunk his teeth into rehabilitation with the determination you would expect of a motorcycle racing champion. Now, after five years, he is walking unassisted with difficulty, speaking with difficulty, but with cognitive functions and memory restored.

It is a truly astonishing turnaround for Kenny Noyes. In the days after the crash, his family were preparing to accept that he would not make it. Now, five years later, he continues to make progress towards an amazing recovery. The fight goes on working with expensive therapies and therapists in Barcelona.

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Quartararo's Paul Ricard Practice Bike - Will The Punishment Fit The Crime?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

20 jours et ça sera sur la MotoGP 🔥🤪 / 20 days and back in the practice with my M1 🔥🤪

A post shared by Fabio Quartararo 🇫🇷 (@fabioquartararo20) on

One of the many good things about being a MotoGP rider is that you get offered a lot of free stuff. Take a careful look at the social media feed of any rider and you will see stickers and logos on display, discretely or blatantly, on all sorts of items: caps, sunglasses, t-shirts, jeans, jackets, bicycles, underwear, motorcycles, leathers, MX gear, helmets. You name it, and some brand or other will have given it to a rider to show off on their social media.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 151: More MotoGP Silly Season Madness

As racing draws near, the rider market is starting to pick up, with KTM announcing their entire rider line up, and Michael van der Mark moving from Yamaha to BMW in WorldSBK. So the latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast sees Neil Morrison, Steve English, and David Emmett debate exactly what has been going on, and how.

First of all, we take a deep dive into the situation at KTM. Was Petrucci the right choice, and how will he feel about taking a seat in a satellite team. We look at the alternatives, and how KTM's system is producing homegrown talent. Then we examine the Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi situations. Why haven't they signed yet, and when can we expect an announcement?

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