MotoGP 2021 is about to kick off at the first official test in Qatar. COVID has played havoc with the testing schedule, with the traditional Sepang test cancelled and replaced with an additional test in Qatar.
This means all official pre-season testing will take place in Qatar before racing kicks off at the same location on 28th March 2021.
So, what have we got to look forward to? I’m glad you asked.
The action kicks off with a shakedown test (Friday 5th March) for the factory test riders and rookies. This will also be our first glimpse of the actual 2021 race machines. We all know the bikes presented during pre-season team launches are not the machines that will hit the track on race day.
As for the riders, this will be our first opportunity to see Luca Marini and Enea Bastianini on the Esponsorama Racing Ducati’s. Jorge Martin will also debut on the Pramac Racing Ducati, while Lorenzo Salvadori will also present as a permanent Aprilia Racing Team Gresini factory rider.
The other riders and teams will then join the fight with five days of testing across seven days. Of course, this will be our first chance to see Valentino Rossi in Petronas colours, Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia in official Ducati factory colours, Pol Espargaro in official Honda factory colours, Alex Marquez in LCR Honda colours, Danilo Petrucci in Tech 3 KTM colours, Fabio Quartararo in official Yamaha colours, and Johan Zarco in Pramac colours.
With so many rider changes, intrigue is high, but we must not forget the other riders continuing from where they left off last year, not to mention the reigning world champion, Joan Mir. He has decided against running the number one plate this year. But can he retain it, or will a new champion emerge?
And what of Marc Marquez? He has announced he will not be attending this test. Can he get back to where he was?
So much to look forward to, and it all kicks off now. Bring it on!
Latest 2021 MOTOGP CALENDAR
Ducati test: 10-11 February Spain – Jerez
Shakedown test: 5-7 March Qatar – Losail
MotoGP Official test: 10-12 March Qatar – Losail
Round 1: 28 March Qatar – Losail
Round 2: 4 April Qatar – Losail
Round 3: 18 April Portugal – Portimao
Round 4: 2 May Spain – Jerez
Round 5: 16 May France – Le Mans
Round 6: 30 May Italy – Mugello
Round 7: 6 June Catalunya – Barcelona
Round 8: 20 June Germany – Sachsenring
Round 9: 27 June Netherlands – Assen
Round 10: 11 July Finland – KymiRing
Round 11: 15 August Austria – Red Bull Ring
Round 12: 29 August Great Britain – Silverstone
Round 13: 12 September Spain – Aragon
Round 14: 19 September San Marino – Misano
Round 15: 3 October Japan – Motegi
Round 16: 10 October Thailand – Chang International
Round 17: 24 October Australia – Phillip Island
Round 18: 31 October Malaysia – Sepang
Round 19: 14 November Spain – Valencia
Reserve: Indonesia (Mandalika)
Postponed indefinitely: USA (Austin), Argentina (Termas de Rio Hondo)