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If 2020 is anything to go by, the 2021 MotoGP™ World Championship will be wide open. Rider changes at four of the factories looking to dethrone Joan Mir and Team Suzuki Ecstar means it's almost impossible to predict what is going to go down. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales, however, has pinpointed Ducati Team's newest arrival Jack Miller as who he believes will be the "real surprise" of the 2021 season.
That shouldn't come as a shock too, with Miller finishing his time with Pramac Racing in fine form thanks to back-to-back second-place finishes in Valencia and Portimao. Pair the Australian's form with what will no doubt be an improved Ducati Desmosedici and you've got yourself a title challenger; according to Viñales anyway.
Miller talks his emotional farewell with Pramac Racing
"I honestly believe that the biggest difficulties will come from Ducati," said Viñales, whilst speaking to Moto.it recently. "When I found myself fighting with them it was always very difficult to overcome them. I think Miller will be the real surprise this year."
The 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix race winner went on to talk about the frustrations of last year: "The big problem was the engine. After the breakdowns at the beginning of the Championship, we had to give up a lot of power. In Jerez, in the first two races of the year, we were very competitive.
"We could have fought for the victory or at least for the podium. The problem is that we had to do 14 races with two engines, so we had to take a lot of power away. From then on it was very difficult to fight with the others."
For the first time in his Yamaha career, Top Gun will have a different teammate next to him in the factory Yamaha box this season after Fabio Quartararo switched places with Valentino Rossi. It's common knowledge that both Viñales and Rossi were keen to explore different avenues when it came to developing the Yamaha M1, so is the Spaniard confident that both Quartararo and himself will be able to work in harmony?
Quartararo and Viñales explain Yamaha's fall from grace
"I am very happy. We have spent a lot of time together already this year, having a lot of fun. It's a good relationship, we are two young riders and we have a lot in common. And I think it will be positive for Yamaha too.
"True, we have had this problem in the past. And honestly, it is too early to say whether we will find ourselves in the same situation with Fabio or if we will instead aim in the same direction with development. Anyway, I think it will be a Yamaha problem, we riders can't do anything but think about getting the best out of the material we have available."
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