With hardly any time to recover from the exciting Aragon GP last week, the World Championship hits the Misano-Marco Simoncelli Circuit this weekend for the San Marino MotoGP 2021.
The Italian faction arrives with every intention to shine before its passionate fans on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, land of national idol, Valentino Rossi.
Leading the group of local pilots will be ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), currently second in the standings with 161 points. The rider from Turin arrives at his home race in great spirits after defeating Marc Marquez in Spain.
Bagnaia engaged in an epic battle with the Spaniard in Aragon for his first MotoGP victory. This week, he aspires to repeat the feat. In Spain, Bagnaia managed to shorten his distance with leader Fabio Quartararo (214 points) by 18 points to 53 points.
His mission this time around would be to continue getting closer to the Frenchman in the standings. On his last visit to Misano in 2020, Bagnaia finished in second place.
However, and despite the good state of form of #63, he is facing an enormous challenge this Sunday. Success is rare for the red bullets at the racetrack of the Rimini Riviera. Their last win came all the way back in 2018 by the hand of Andrea Dovizioso.
Misano, Yamaha territory
Misano is, in fact, considered Yamaha territory. The machines of the tuning fork have claimed eight triumphs from a total of fifteen races held at this imposing location.
Quartararo, winner in Qatar 2, Portugal, Italy, Holland & Great Britain, is also eager to regain control of the situation after his disappointing result in Aragon where he suffered tire issues that prevented him from finishing anywhere better than in eighth place.
Despite still holding a comfortable advantage – more than two races – ‘El Diablo’ knows he should not rest on his laurels. On his previous visit to the Italian track he suffered an accident, a memory that he is hoping to forsake with a great performance.
Reigning champ Joan Mir
Joan Mir (Team Suzuki ECSTAR) is now third in the standings with 157 points, 57 less than Quartararo and only four behind Bagnaia. The Spanish pilot desperately needs to claim that elusive triumph he has been hoping for.
Handicapped by the lower top speed of his GSX-RR, the 2020 world champion is at a disadvantage with his rivals. His talent is, as much as possible, making up for those technical deficiencies so far and although he is still a long way away from the top, his third place at Misano in 2020 gives him hope for next Sunday.
Johann Zarco, bad results streak
Pramac Racing rider Johann Zarco remains settled in fourth place but seems to have run out of steam in recent rounds. The Frenchman, who came to lead the contest at the beginning of the season, has only accrued five points over the last three races.
Aprilia, to look for a 2nd podium finish
It will also be interesting to see what happens with the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini at the San Marino MotoGP 2021. Their leader, Aleix Espargaro, only just missed the podium once again in Spain.
Thanks to that great result, the Spaniard has climbed two places in the standings to seventh with 97 points. His new teammate Maverick Viñales is just one point and one place below him in the classification.
After a somewhat grey debut with the RS-GP in Aragon, the Catalan pilot will continue working to adapt to his new machine.
Honda & Marquez, suffering again?
Finally, Honda´s Marc Marquez will resume his physical recovery at the 2021 San Marino MotoGP. He might, however, go back to suffering after his great result in Aragon, where he benefited from the anti-clockwise direction of the track.
Images of San Marino MotoGP 2021: Ducati Corse.