Qatar GP 2022 preview: Let the World Championship commence! 

The wait is over. This weekend (4-6 March) the curtain will finally rise on the 2022 World Championship at the Losail International Circuit in Doha, with the inaugural round, the Qatar MotoGP 2022. Ahead of us lays the longest season in history with 23 races to go before the grand finale in November in Valencia. 

This season, which starts with no clear favourite, we can expect a thrilling battle for the title to develop as the rounds go by. Four riders (Fabio Quartararo, Pecco Bagnaia, Marc Marquez and Joan Mir) and as many manufacturers (Yamaha, Ducati, Honda and Suzuki) could in theory conquer the crown this year. 

It will be the first championship without Valentino Rossi  who made his Premier Class debut in the 2000 season in the last 21 years, after his withdrawal last campaign.

Quartararo, a fragile champion  

Among all of the title bidders, there is current champion Quartararo, who will fight tooth and nail to keep hold of his crown from Qatar MotoGP 2022. The French pilot, however, starts the championship unsure about the performance of his Yamaha M1. Apparently, the Japanese machine has not improved in the ways that ‘El Diablo’ was expecting, as he confirmed during the preseason tests in Malaysia and Indonesia. 

At least this weekend, Quartararo will compete in one of Yamaha’s favourite tracks. The Japanese firm remains the most successful in Losail with a total of nine wins out of eighteen MotoGP’s celebrated there. Their last victory took place in 2021 with Maverick Viñales.

Ducati and Bagnaia, the underdogs among the favourites  

Other contenders for the title are Ducati and Pecco Bagnaia. The team from Borgo Panigale is very confident in its chances despite the Desmosedici’s notorious underperformance during the winter tests. 

Having learned from its mistakes the hard way, the 2021 runner-up will attempt and start the season on a good footing this Sunday at the 2022 Qatar MotoGP. Last year it was the bad start to the campaign that trumped his title bid.  

Márquez wants his throne back  

Marc Márquez, for his part, excluded from the title race since 2020 following two very serious injuries (arm and eye) and a fateful tire change, is off to regain his throne. The Spaniard dominated the sport with an iron fist between 2013 and 2019, winning six crowns in seven years. 

With the temperament of the indomitable RC213V finally under control, the star from Cervera is adopting a new piloting style. Both the machine and the Catalan champion are experiencing a metamorphosis that could bring them back to their glory days. 

Mir will fight to regain 2020 title

Suzuki and Joan Mir complete the group of favourites. A ray of hope is now shining for the Spanish pilot, who was unable to retain his title in 2021 due to the inferiority of his GSX-RR. Mir has declared to be satisfied with the development of his blue missile, an essential condition to extend his contract from 2023 onwards. 

The firm from Hamamatsu, however, seems to be one step behind the rest of the title contenders. It remains to be seen if they have managed to improve their top speed, their biggest weakness. At the very least, both man and machine have traditionally felt comfortable in this track. In 2021 Mir was fourth and his partner Álex Rins was six in Losail. 

Five new rookies in the Queen Category  

Five debutants are making the leap to the Premier Class this year. Among them is the Australian Moto2 champion and 2021 runner-up Remy Gardner and the Spaniard Raúl Fernández, teaming up with KTM Tech 3. 

The Italians Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Racing Team) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing), third and seventh in Moto2 the previous year respectively, will also make their MotoGP debut this year. Finally, the controversial Darryn Binder (WithU Yamaha RNF Team), has been promoted directly from Moto3.

Images of Qatar MotoGP 2022: MotoGP.

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