Positives across both sides of the Repsol Honda Team box as the 2021 season begins with a double point-scoring finish and first top ten for Espargaro in Qatar.
Wind ripped through the MotoGP paddock as the premier class arrived at the Losail International Circuit for the first race of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship season. Fortunately, there were no major concerns about the forecasted high-speed gusts of wind as the grid formed later in the evening although conditions were cooler than before.
Warm Up was a productive session for the Repsol Honda Team as both Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl showed well at the start of the day. In sixth and eighth place respectively, the pair helped make it four Honda machines in the top eight at the conclusion of the 20 minute session.
Lining up for his debut race in the iconic colours of the Repsol Honda Team, Pol Espargaro made a great initial launch to move up inside the top ten after the first corner. As the race went on and the fuel lowered, Espargaro was able to steadily improve his pace and joined the battle for the top ten by mid-race distance. Espargaro’s lap times continued to improve, matching or beating that of the leaders towards the end of the 22-laps. In his first race for the team, Espargaro collects eight points for eighth place, top Honda honours and most importantly now has a race worth of data on the RC213V. This knowledge will come into play very soon as the championship prepares for round two at the same venue.
Stefan Bradl was pleased with the progress made earlier in the day and joined the grid ready to battle forward. Using the power of the RC213V to shoot off the line, Bradl was able to immediately move into contention for points from the first lap. Trademark consistency from the German saw him make steady progress over the race and cross the line in 11th place, just a second off Bastianini and a top ten finish.
The Repsol Honda Team will now remain in Qatar, ready for Round 2 next week at the Losail circuit.
Qatar Grand Prix
|1||Vinales Maverick||12||SPA||25||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||42'28.663|
|2||Zarco Johann||5||FRA||20||Pramac Racing||Ducati||1.092|
|3||Bagnaia Francesco||63||ITA||16||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||1.129|
|4||Mir Joan||36||SPA||13||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki||1.222|
|5||Quartararo Fabio||20||FRA||11||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||3.030|
|6||Rins Alex||42||SPA||10||Team Suzuki Ecstar||Suzuki||3.357|
|7||Espargaro Aleix||41||SPA||9||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||5.934|
|8||Espargaro Pol||44||SPA||8||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||5.990|
|9||Miller Jack||43||AUS||7||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||7.058|
|10||Bastianini Enea||23||ITA||6||Avintia Esponsorama||Ducati||9.288|
|11||Bradl Stefan||6||GER||5||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||10.299|
|12||Rossi Valentino||46||ITA||4||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||10.742|
|13||Oliveira Miguel||88||POR||3||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||11.457|
|14||Binder Brad||33||RSA||2||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||14.100|
|15||Martin Jorge||89||SPA||1||Pramac Racing||Ducati||16.422|
|16||Marini Luca||10||ITA||0||SKY VR46 Avintia||Ducati||20.916|
|17||Lecuona Iker||27||SPA||0||Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||21.026|
|18||Morbidelli Franco||21||ITA||0||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||23.892|
|19||Savadori Lorenzo||32||ITA||0||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||46.346|
|20||Marquez Alex||73||SPA||0||LCR Honda||Honda||DNF|
|21||Nakagami Takaaki||30||JPN||0||LCR Honda||Honda||DNF|
|22||Petrucci Danilo||9||ITA||0||Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||DNF|
The fabulous Lusail International Circuit lies on the outskirts of Doha, the capital city of Qatar. Built in little over a year, the track cost $58 million USD and required round-the-clock dedication from almost 1,000 workers in order to get it ready for the inaugural event – the Marlboro Grand… read more.
|Length||5.380 kilometres / 3.343 miles|
|Longest straight||1.068 kilometres / 0.664 miles|
Losail International Circuit, Al Daayen, Qatar - View in Google Maps
|Pole Position||1m 52.772s (171.7km/h) Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati, 2021)|
|Race Lap||1m 54.624s (168.9 km/h) Maverick Viñales (Yamaha,2021)|
|Race Time||42m13.198 (168.2km/h) Enea Bastianini (Ducati, 2022)|
|2022 Race Winner||Enea Bastianini (Ducati)|