New to motogp.com?Register here
March 3rd will see the beginning of a shortened pre-season as riders will head for the Gulf state of Qatar for two Official Test days and a Shakedown test in what will be their only work out before the first Grand Prix of 2021.
It represents an opportunity for riders to become accustomed to their MotoGP™ bikes once more, while also allowing rookies such as Moto2™ World Champion Enea Bastianini and fellow graduates Luca Marini (both Esponsorama Racing) and Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) their first run out on the most powerful bikes in the sport.
Originally, the first official test was set for Sepang in Malaysia during February, but due to the worsening Covid-19 situation in the country, the tests fell foul of the restrictions, meaning we now must wait until March to see bikes on the tarmac.
It’s a blow to many riders, particularly those who have moved teams, as they will now have a shortened time frame to become accustomed to their new bikes.
Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) lead the KTM charge for years but will now just have a few days to discover the inner workings of Honda’s RC213v, and likewise for Danilo Petrucci as he moves to Tech 3 and the RC-16. It represents its own unique challenge as riders know they are against a ticking clock in order to be fully prepared for the first lights out of the 2021 season.
In light of the disruption to the pre-season, the Qatar test has seen extra days added in order to give teams the time needed to get up to speed ahead of the first Grand Prix later in March. Two extra test days were added as well as a shakedown Test day at Losail. It brings the Official Test days to five.
March 3rd and 4th will see set-up commence with rookies and test riders getting their chance at the Shakedown Test the following day. The 6th, 7th,10th,11th and 12th then sees a full field of testing, as teams and riders look to learn what will give them the advantage ahead of the year's first Grand Prix.