The MotoGP™ World Championship exploded into life as riders made a welcome return to the track under the lights of Losail International Circuit. As the curtain comes down on the opening act of 2021, it gives us time to reflect on an enthralling two weeks in Qatar.
There was no shortage of flashpoints at both the Qatar and Doha GPs, with the Yamahas making it two from two in clinical fashion, while we saw the Pramac Ducatis outshine their factory counterparts in the gulf state. In the other classes, we saw Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) begin his assault on the Moto2™ title emphatically, while Red Bull KTM Ajo experienced success across the lightweight and intermediate classes. One rider who was at the forefront of that success was wonderkid Pedro Acosta.
"I'm waiting for him!" ????@ValeYellow46 was one of the many riders blown away by @37_pedroacosta's monumental Losail victory! ????#DohaGP ???? pic.twitter.com/STXqTXoBFU— MotoGP™???? (@MotoGP) April 6, 2021
At just 16-years of age, the Spaniard was only known to a select few prior to the opening rounds of the season, however, his name is now on the lips of every motorcycle racing fan and pundit as they witnessed a star being born in the desert.
The 2020 Red Bull Rookies Cup winner claimed an impressive podium finish on debut, but his follow up act was nothing short of sensational as he claimed a maiden Moto3™ World Championship victory from a pitlane start - the first rider to achieve the feat in in the category. It means that he is now the man to beat, leading some more seasoned veterans of the category in the standings and by the looks of things, he will be hard to stop.
Relive Pedro Acosta's outrageous pitlane to victory race
He wasn’t the only rider new to the circuit to impress, with GasGas Gaviota Aspar’s Izan Guevara showing promising potential as he secured consecutive Top 10 finishes. In both races he was amongst the thick of the action as he jostled with the leading groups for a precious podium finish. Despite not getting onto the rostrum, he has shown he has bags of ability and recorded P7 and P6 finishes across the two weekends.
Moving up a class, where Sam Lowes reigned supreme in the desert, there was even more joy for Aki Ajo’s squad, where Raul Fernandez earned himself a first ever rostrum in Moto2™. The Madrid rider was often the king of Free Practice and qualifying in the lightweight class, and by the looks of things, he has little intention of relinquishing that title despite dealing with 765 cc engines this season. At the Qatar GP he earned a P2 start which resulted in a more than respectable fifth place finish, while at the Doha GP he went from P4 to P3 in another very impressive performance. He will certainly be one to keep a very keen eye on over the next few rounds.
Moto2™ recap: Rookie Fernandez on fire in Free Practice
A word also for his fellow graduates, namely Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Celestino Vietti (SKY Team Racing VR46), Tony Arbolino (Liqui Moly Intact GP) and Albert Arenas (Solunion Aspar Team), all of whom finished within the point scoring positions in Round 2.
Elsewhere, among the biggest talking points from the opening rounds was the performance of Pramac Racing rookie Jorge Martin. From his simply incredible start in Round 1, to a breathtaking pole lap and first podium in the weekend just gone, it has been a dream start to life for Spaniard. He also keeps some elite company, joining Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Casey Stoner as the only rookies to take pole in just their second Grand Prix in MotoGP™.
While the man known as ‘The Martinator’ grabbed the headlines, it was also a very positive start to Enea Bastianini’s (Avintia Esponsorama) premier class career. The reigning Moto2™ World Champion earned P10 in his very first race, finishing ahead of 2020 race winners Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) as well as a certain Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT). He followed that up with a P11 finish at the Doha GP, ensuring another strong point-scoring position as he looks well cut out for this level. 13 points from the opening rounds gives the Italian a more than solid foundation to work from for the rest of the season and we are very excited to see what he can bring to the table.
We may only be two rounds into the 2021 MotoGP™ World Championship, but it has taken the new boys next to no time to make themselves known, and we cannot wait to see what surprises they have in store for us over the coming months.
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