MotoGP returns to the Misano Circuit (Italy) this weekend, the same venue from where it had parted to its brief United States‘ detour. It was there, by the way, on the other side of the Atlantic, that Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) finally claimed his Texas throne back.
Misano now returns to the 2021 World Championship circuit to host the Emilia-Romagna MotoGP 2021 and third-to-last round of the calendar with two definitive protagonists capturing the spotlight.
On the one hand, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) could make history by becoming the first French MotoGP World Champion. On the other, there is Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT), for whom this will be his last race at home before retiring at the end of the season after two decades in the motor racing elite.
Quartararo caresses the title
Regarding the battle for the title, ‘El Diablo’ arrives in Italy with a 52-point advantage after finishing second at the Circuit of The Americas, ahead of ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), his only rival for the crown.
Despite being beaten by Bagnaia in the previous Italian round during the San Marino GP (September 19), the numbers are in Quartararo’s favour to conquer the World Title in Misano this weekend.
With only two rounds and 50 points remaining after Sunday’s race, the Frenchman will simply need to finish ahead of Bagnaia in order to seal his victory. Put another way, he can give up three points or less to his Italian rival.
Given his privileged position in standings, Quartararo is not expected to take any unnecessary risks. Before risking a fall, he would rather take a good number of points in Italy and seal the deal in Portugal.
Bagnaia wants keep the fight for the title alive
The #20 is also aware that he will be competing at his enemy’s favourite track. If, on the other hand, Bagnaia wants to keep the fight for the title alive, he will have to leave home with a disadvantage of fewer than fifty points. In order to do this, the Italian will need to win the race or at least finish on the podium and ahead of the Yamaha rider.
If he was to finish in second or third place and behind Quartararo, his chances would evaporate. In theory, Bagnaia should rely on some teamwork by his partner Jack Miller, who could make things harder for Quartararo during the race in order to favour him.
Martin & Bastianini: Rookies´ battle
The two rivals for the title will also have to fend off an army of rivals at the Emilia-Romagna MotoGP 2021. Two of them, Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) and Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama), are competing to be Rookie of the Year. Despite having eleven points less than the Spaniard, ‘The beast’ will want to repeat his feat at his home track and take his second MotoGP podium.
A little lower down, and considering his recent performances, Marc Marquez could aspire to be in the top five, as he makes progress on his physical recovery. Also, current champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) could shine at a track where both he and his bike have demonstrated a good performance in the past.
Valentino Rossi´s farewell
The Italian representation will also have other illustrious pilots amongst its ranks. After his return to the World Championship, Andrea Dovizioso (Petronas Yamaha SRT) continues to get used to the demands of MotoGP racing. Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), for his part, is still getting familiar with his new M1 while he regains his form.
But there will be one Italian that will rise above all others. The stands are expected to turn yellow for a true idol of the masses, Valentino Rossi, who will be given an emotional tribute by his legions of fans. After twenty years at the top of the World Championship, the legendary #46 will bid his farewell to his compatriots. It is the end of a golden and legendary era.
Images of Emilia-Romagna MotoGP 2021: Yamaha.