The MotoGP World Championship arrives in Spain still in mourning for the tragic death of Jason Dupasquier at last week’s race in Italy. The Catalan GP, and seventh leg of the season, will take place this weekend (June 4-6) at the Barcelona circuit.
The real question at this point in the championship is whether someone will be able to stand up to Fabio Quartararo at the Montmeló track or not. The French pilot asserted his authority in Mugello, where he took his third win of the season (Doha & Spain) crushing all of his rivals in the process.
— Michelin Motorsport (@Michelin_Sport) June 1, 2021
The Tuscan track, a stronghold of Ducati since 2017, capitulated at the feet of ‘El Diablo’, who displayed an insulting superiority on board his Yamaha, the brand that has prevailed in five out of the six races held so far this season. After his Italian triumph, the French pilot arrives at his favourite race of the year (he won here in 2020) as the undisputed leader of the standings with 105 points, 24 more than Johann Zarco.
The consistency and reliability of his compatriot from Pramac Racing, however, have now made him Quartararo’s greatest rival. Despite finishing fourth in Italy, Zarco’s second places in Qatar, Doha and France have strengthened his bid for the crown. This weekend his teammate Jorge Martín will be returning to the championship after an injury left him out of the game for three races.
Suzuki´s Joan Mir, a great enemy
Other rivals that Quartararo will have to watch for are the guys from Team Suzuki Ecstar, especially Joan Mir. The current champion, in a clear ascending trend, will seek his third podium and first victory of the year in Montmeló, a feat he was very close to achieving last year.
Meanwhile, his teammate Álex Rins, born and bred in Barcelona and third here in 2020, will miss the race. He broke the radius in his right arm during a bike session on the track.
The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team could also give some surprises at the Catalan GP after having undergone a notorious performance leap in Tuscany, where they took their first podium of 2021 by the hand of their Portuguese pilot Miguel Oliveira. The team will be eager to consolidate their progress aided by their brand new and improved chassis. Next to Oliveira, Brad Binder will attempt to at least come in the top 5 as he did last Sunday.
Ducati, to be back to the podium
As for Ducati Lenovo Team, they didn’t even make it to the podium despite the high expectations placed on the Desmosedici, which were forecasted to cruise to victory for yet another year. Pecco Bagnaia arrived at his home race determined to steal the lead of the standings, then just a single point away. A fall in the first lap, however, meant he ended up 26 points behind Quartararo and third in the standings.
Jack Miller also finished in a disappointing sixth place following his two victories in Spain & France. Fourth in the standings, the Australian will be fighting to shrink the 31 point distance that separates him from the lead.