The 2022 MotoGP season is already fully operational and the first conclusions are beginning to be present on the grid. We review the protagonists of the four initial races of this course.
Winners of the first four races of MotoGP 2022
This list can only be headed by a pilot. World Cup leader Enea Bastianini is also the first to appear here. The Italian gave his team, Gresini Racing, the dream start to the season, by winning the Qatar Grand Prix, a victory partly heralded by the two podium finishes he achieved at the Misano circuit in 2021.
Bastianini impressed at COTA, but even so, he was not the favorite to climb to the top of the box. However, the Italian had a higher race pace than his rivals and signed his second victory in four races, with a sensational second half of the GP of the Americas.
Jack Miller’s words about the world leader are quite revealing. When asked if it was the Ducati GP21 that made “The Beast” perform so well, he said: “No, it’s just what Enea does with his bike.”
It remains to be seen if he can maintain his level and fight for the World Cup between now and the end of the season, but Bastianini’s CV is no longer at the bottom of the pile of papers on the table of Gigi Dall’Igna , the general manager. from Ducati.
The second pilot to highlight is Aleix Espargaró. In his 200th world championship race, the Aprilia rider managed to win the first of his life, after leading the brand through some difficult years. Together with Massimo Rivola , the CEO of the team, he has managed to obtain a stable base and a bike that has allowed him to take a leap forward.
Victory in Argentina came almost as a surprise, but the pace he showed at the GP of the Americas was even more impressive. There is no doubt that, had it not been for the problems he suffered in qualifying, the Spaniard could have been one more candidate for victory, after a disastrous race on the Texas circuit in 2021.
This year is very different for the eldest of the Espargaró brothers. Aleix is looking for an improved contract renewal and it is very possible that he will get it if he continues to outperform his teammate, Maverick Viñales, in this way.
At Suzuki , things are working very well after the development breaks in 2021. Joan Mir has achieved two fourth places and two sixth, the consistency expected of a top rider in MotoGP, especially a world champion .
His teammate, Alex Rins, has been in the spotlight after the complications he suffered in 2021. The rider assures that he has worked a lot on his mentality at the beginning of the year and, for now, it seems to be paying off, since it has been the only driver, along with Bastianini, to achieve two podium finishes.
Suzuki has Rins and Mir in second and fourth position in the world championship, respectively. The team has also made a step up in the standings and at the moment it looks like they can fight for the title this season as the GSX-RR should be better suited to European tracks.
Losers of the first four MotoGP races 2022
At Yamaha , the season will be very long and potentially very expensive. Fabio Quartararo, current world champion and current leading driver of the tuning fork team, has managed to minimize losses, but those of Iwata are still in the doldrums.
Quartararo couldn’t even fight for the podium at Losail and COTA, circuits whose races he won last year, and it seems that his discontent with Yamaha grows every weekend. His manager, Eric Mahé , does not hide this disappointment and neither does the fact that he is talking to other brands.
Yamaha needs Quartararo more than the Frenchman needs the Japanese, which sets off alarm bells for the manufacturer. If they want to achieve something, they have to convince the one who is still their pilot quickly. Without him, the team’s current form would be rudderless.
The rest of the Iwata riders are also underperforming (here we have not taken Darryn Binder into account, since he made his debut this year) and there is a lot of work to do at Yamaha, but can they improve the bike and regain the trust of your star driver at the same time?
Following the strong finish to the 2021 season that he did, one thing was clear for this season. Francesco Bagnaia was one of the favorites for the title of world champion, but nothing could be further from the truth. The official Ducati has achieved a podium with Jack Miller , but the two victories of 2022 have been obtained with the GP21 , that is, last year’s bike.
Bagnaia crashed in the opening race and took on Jorge Martin, while he couldn’t get past fifteenth place in Indonesia. His best position, repeated in Argentina and the United States, where he was particularly strong last year, was fifth.
Miller, meanwhile, is fighting to secure his future with the Italian factory team, but an engine failure in Qatar and a disappointing performance in Argentina do not help his case.
The losers here are not the drivers, but the team. Ducati had the most complete bike on the grid in 2021 and the GP21 concept was almost bombproof, but they felt the need to change their machine significantly.
There is still a lot to go through and the vast majority of the season ahead, but the performance is a long way from last year and there is a lot of work to do at Ducati.
The battle for the last place on this list is disputed between Andrea Dovizioso and Alex Márquez. The Italian returned to the series after almost a sabbatical year, as he contested five races in 2021, but has made little progress since then. Technical issues add to the difficulty of being competitive in MotoGP, but Dovizioso has emerged as a well-meaning leader heading the rookie camp.
Despite this, last place goes to Alex Márquez . The Spaniard rose directly to the factory team in 2020 due to Lorenzo’s retirement and made a very good impression, reaching the podium twice. After that season was over, he transferred to the LCR Honda .
He has scored a few points in 2022, but the number of crashes he takes is increasing with each passing weekend. Everyone at Honda is in the shadow of Marc Marquez, the great flagship of the Japanese, but his little brother is a mere shadow of himself at the moment.
The contract terminations seemed to offer him an option to return to the factory team, but no one has dared to make the suggestion. Pol Espargaró himself, current owner of the second seat of the Repsol Honda, commented in Argentina that, as long as he was faster than those associated with his seat, he was not worried about continuing in it.