What a year it has been. A pulsating and relentless 2021 saw a new name etch his name into the history books while an icon of the sport hung his leathers up one final time. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) joins the list of greats to be crowned MotoGP™ World Champion while Valentino Rossi’s (Petronas Yamaha SRT) last dance proved an emotional affair that tugged on the heartstrings of everyone involved.
Sunday at the Motul Grand Prix of Valencia provided those in attendance and watching on from afar with a lifetime’s worth of memories, but as the curtain comes down on a simply sensational and The Doctor’s one of a kind career, we're reminded that the show must go on.
There’s little respite as Jerez sets the stage for the opening act of the 2022 season and give yet another glimpse of what the stars of tomorrow have to offer on MotoGP™ machinery. There will be a keen interest in and around the KTM garage as Moto2™ Champion Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and his teammate Raul Fernandez will get a second taste of the RC16 in action.
There’ll also be some more new faces making their debuts on premier class bikes. Intermediate class riders Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) will jump onto the Desmosedici for the first time, while Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) becomes just the second ever rider, after Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team), to make the jump from Moto3™ to the premier class. The South African will test Yamaha’s M1 as he prepares for life with the newly formed WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team.
Current rookie Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) has already said he will get to try the GP21 at Circuit de Angel Nieto while in the Yamaha camp, horsepower seems to be the name of the game according to Quartararo. After conceding his Championship crown, Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) can begin to plot his journey back to the top in Jerez with the GSX-RR set to try out a new engine as well as fairings.
Aprilia remain the only manufacturer with concessions and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) says the 2022 spec RS-GP has already been tested by Lorenzo Savadori and expects some more items to be tried in Jerez. For Maverick Viñales, it’s about getting all important track time as he still gets to grip with the V4 engine following his mid-season switch from Yamaha.
It’s no secret that Honda have earmarked the two days of testing in Jerez as crucial to their 2022 Championship plans, but they’ve had a hammer blow in terms of injuries recently. Neither of their Repsol Honda riders participated in the final race of the season. Marc Marquez is still feeling the effects of a training accident and has already been ruled out for the remainder of 2022, while it is still unclear what part Pol Espargaro will play in testing after his nasty crash during Free Practice saw him sit out the Valencia GP race.
It will certainly be a busy two days in the south of Spain, with testing kicking off on Thursday, November 18. You can follow the action with Live Timing from 10am to 6pm local time (GMT+1). As always, there will be extensive coverage provided on motogp.com as we detail the main developments spotted as well as rider interviews.