How MotoGP’s “beast” tamers bounced back at Catalunya
The expectation on KTM to replicate its winning form from 2020 this season made its difficult start to the new MotoGP campaign even more disappointing. But a key update has seen KTM's fortunes reversed over the last week and returned it to the top step of the podium in Barcelona
Few people predicted KTM to win three races in the 2020 MotoGP season. That expectation was reversed coming into 2021, however, with the Austrian manufacturer proving between its factory and Tech3 satellite squad that it was capable of great things.
And with KTM the only manufacturer alongside Aprilia allowed to develop a new engine for 2021, much of the grid feared it would come to the new season armed with a ‘super engine’. Married to what proved to be a solid chassis and a factory squad helmed by what Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal told Motorsport.com last season was the “dream team” in Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira, the grid was right to be worried.
OPINION: Marc Marquez has completed the first three races of his MotoGP comeback from a fourth major operation on his right arm and has already achieved more points than Honda scored in his absence. While there is still some way to go before he is ready to win races, there have been plenty of signs to suggest that the old Marquez really is back
OPINION: For the fourth time in 2022, Francesco Bagnaia has made a costly error while battling other riders. Crashing while chasing one point at the Japanese Grand Prix has lost him eight to a struggling Fabio Quartararo. With just four rounds remaining and a history of errors in high-pressure situations, Bagnaia and Ducati need a serious rethink to stop its best opportunity of a title in 15 years slipping away
Ducati has littered the grid with eight strong motorcycles that has ensured it has had at least one rider stand on the podium at every grand prix in 2022. The drama of the Aragon Grand Prix has thrust Francesco Bagnaia well and truly into title contention with five races to go, and Ducati must now consider utilising a unique strength it has so far been reticent to embrace
Reigning Moto2 champion Remy Gardner’s career has been derailed by KTM’s decision not to retain him at Tech3 for 2023. Amid difficult circumstances, Gardner hasn’t shamed himself. But KTM’s apparent reasoning for dropping him raises questions about its handling of its young riders and the unrealistic expectations placed on them
OPINION: Honda is in the midst of a second winless season in the space of three years. The absence of the injured Marc Marquez has been a major contributing factor, but HRC’s inability to alter its own approach has seen it slide down the order. Marquez returned to the MotoGP paddock in Austria and provided a rallying cry Honda needed to hear.
Prior to the summer break, the 2022 MotoGP title looked like it was Fabio Quartararo’s to lose. But a crash at Assen and the consequential penalty he had to serve last weekend at Silverstone stopped him from capitalising on a main rival’s injury woes, while a resurgence from another, plus the rise of a former teammate, look set to conspire against the Yamaha rider.
On the eve of the British Grand Prix, Andrea Dovizioso announced that he will be retiring from MotoGP after September’s San Marino GP. The timing of his departure raised eyebrows, but his reasoning remains sensible and what has happened this year should not diminish a hard-built legacy.
Alex Rins’ MotoGP future was plunged into sudden doubt when Suzuki elected to quit the series at the end of 2022. Securing a deal with Honda to join LCR, he will now tread a path that many have fallen off from. But it was a move he felt his status deserved, and it’s a challenge – he tells Motorsport.com - he faces with his eyes wide open…
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