Following the Portuguese GP, the World Championship continues its tour of the Iberian Peninsula with the fourth leg of the calendar, the Spanish GP, which is to take place this weekend (April 29 – May 2) at the Jerez Circuit.
The Andalusian race will be marked by the memory of the injury suffered last year by Marc Márquez (Repsol-Honda) on the same track, and for which he had to undergo three surgeries and a nine-month convalescence.
A very emotional race, for sure, for the Spaniard, who returned to the competition for the last appointment in Portimao where he finished in seventh place. Now, he must continue working to get his usual level of fitness back. His teammate, Pol Espargaró, will also be continuing his adaptation process to the very rebellious mount of the golden wing.
Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (Monter Energy Yamaha MotoGP) is arriving at the Spanish MotoGP in great form after taking two consecutive victories at the Losail and Portuguese Grand Prix. He is currently leading the standings with 61 points. His partner Maverick Viñales, on the other hand, is going through a rough patch.
After his initial victory in Qatar, his performance plummeted. He urgently needs to get back on his feet if he wants to silence the many critics that have arisen following his disappointing performance at the Autódromo del Algarve, where he finished in the eleventh position.
As for the Petronas Yamaha SRT satellite team, its different team members will face the 2021 Spanish GP with very different goals in mind. This has been the weakest MotoGP start of the season in Valentino Rossi career. He just cannot find the rhythm and the results speak for themselves.
So far, he only has four points after a twelfth place in Qatar and two zeroes in the two subsequent tests. Sharing his box is his teammate and friend Franco Morbidelli, who is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with a fourth place in the Algarve. He must, however, demonstrate that this is a firm change of trend and not just a one-off.
The Ducati Lenovo Team finds itself in a relatively similar situation with one of its drivers on a performance rise and the other, down in the dumps. “Pecco” Bagnaia is having a remarkable start to the season. His two podiums have propped him up to second place in the standings with 46 points, 15 behind the leader, Quartararo.
Ducati’s satellite team, Pramac Racing, will be one pilot short for the Spanish GP. Its rising star, Jorge Martín, is recovering from the operation that followed his nasty fall in Portimao. In his place will be Tito Rabat, former MotoGP pilot and currently competing in the Superbike World Championship. Johann Zarco, for his part, will be eager to make up for the points lost after falling in Portugal and losing the leadership of the standings.
Finally, Suzuki ECSTAR Team will be giving it all in order to attain their first victory of the season and send a message of strength to its rivals. The diverging spirits of its pilots, however, might have dampened the atmosphere in the garage.
On the one hand, current champion Joan Mir took his first podium of the year in Portugal getting himself fifth in the standings. On the other, Álex Rins went to ground in Portimao as he was chasing the leader and is now two places and 15 points behind his Majorcan teammate.