They start with Yamaha. Did Yamaha have a good year or a bad year? Winning half the races suggests they had a good season. But the fact that Franco Morbidelli, the only rider on a 2019-spec M1, finished second in the championship, while Maverick Viñales, Fabio Quartararo, and Valentino Rossi all faded badly in the second half of the season suggests that all was not rosy in the Japanese factory.
Adam and Neil dive in to what changed for each rider and how they performed, starting off with the first weekend at Jerez, the race where everything changed for Yamaha, and their valve issue emerged. They ask whether the 2019 bike really was better than the 2020 machine, where Franco Morbidelli's speed came from, whether Fabio Quartararo lacks mental resilience, and whether Valentino Rossi should hang up his helmet. They also examine Jorge Lorenzo's abortive year as test rider, a season where he was unable to test due to the pandemic. And they discuss what impact Cal Crutchlow will have on the development of the M1.
Then they turn their attention to Honda. Naturally, the loss of Marc Marquez is the big story for HRC, and Neil and Adam look at the bind that put Honda in. They discuss where Marquez stands in his rehabiliation, and what that will mean for development of the RC213V.
Then they take a look at each rider in turn. How Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Marquez far exceeded expectations, and whether Nakagami fell short of what was possible. How injury blighted Cal Crutchlow's season, and may have contributed to his decision to switch to a role as test rider. And they discuss what impact the arrival of Pol Espargaro in 2021 will have on the dynamic inside Honda. Will that motivate Alex Marquez to try to win back a spot in the Repsol Honda team? Can Espargaro pick up the load in testing, which Marc Marquez is likely to miss.
Next week, Adam and Neil finish up the current series with a look at KTM and Aprilia.
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