Six manufacturers, twelve teams and 24 bikes on the grid roaring their engines will star in the spectacle of the first race of the year. With these parameters, Qatar prepares its track to receive the first of the 21 tests that make up the MotoGP agenda in 2022.
A dream grill. Of the 24 pilots, 14 are world champions. This means that more than half of the MotoGP grid has tasted the greatest victory in this sport, which invites us to confirm that each and every one of them will give their best to have the first trophy of the year in their hands.
Before mentioning the candidates, it must be taken into account that up to 23 drivers have won races in at least one of the three world championship categories. However, Aleix Espargaró is the only rider on this grid who is unaware of the taste of success in the premier class. With more reason, the Aprilia rider will get on his RS-GP looking at all costs for the place at the top of the drawer of honor.
With a total of 16 laps, Suzuki is one of the teams that can efficiently exploit its strong point: cornering. Six to the left and ten to the right are the corners that make up the Qatar track, and in which the GSX-RR can amortize and take advantage of its great potential. Both Joan Mir and Álex Rins have a good pace, which, together with that cornering in their favor, will remove more than half of the stones on their way to victory.
Despite an irregular attendance in 2021, Marc Márquez is another of the proper names that make up the list of possible winners in Qatar. The RC213V has evolved significantly and its champion cannot wait to fight for victory, filling the Japanese manufacturer’s box with hopes for the first race.
After some satisfactory pre-season tests, the driver from Cervera feels ready to return to the ring and, above all, to repeat the feeling of leading the podium that gave him so much joy during his sports career. The Honda-Marc duo has a good and solid base that could reap, this weekend, the fruits sown during two seasons starring the exhaustive analysis of the behavior of the RC213V.
At the moment, despite the fact that Marc Márquez has not raced on the Qatari track since 2019, and does not have the condition of belonging to the strongest group of riders on this track, the Spaniard has started the race week with a second place in the session Friday free.
The path to the title is made up of points, and points are earned through victories. One of the riders who knows best what this process towards success entails is Fabio Quartararo.
The current world champion appears in the bets as a contender this 2022, a season in which the young man from Nice will want to defend his leadership at all costs. For the moment, Fabio Quartararo has concluded in the free practice classification in Losail this Friday complaining about his Yamaha.
Pilots to keep an eye on
Johann Zarco knows the Qatar podium very well. The French rider has been the most persecuted during the last rounds in Losail. Although mostly with second places, the Frenchman will give his 100% to climb to the top of Losail’s drawer of honor.
Although he is doubtful about his potential and does not start as an imminent candidate, Andrea Dovizioso is possibly one of the most compatible riders with this track. Based on the past of the Qatari event, the driver from Forli is an expert on this circuit.
The Italian, who will play his first year in the RNF Yamaha satellite team, returns to the MotoGP grid after a sabbatical after leaving Ducati, the brand with which he climbed to the podium in Qatar on a total of six occasions during the last 10 years.
Following the departure of Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati restructured its team. Now, those from Borgo Panigale have Pecco Bagnaia and Jack Miller in their ranks, the Italian being one of the contenders for the first victory of the year.
Bagnaia starts as one of the favourites, in and out of the paddock, and a few hours before the start of the first race of the year, Pecco sealed his new engine after meeting with Ducati, once again running as the spearhead of the Borgo Panigale factory. Returning to the 2021 engine, the Italian could take advantage of the long straight of the Qatar track to get the most out of his Desmosedici.
Known for his success during testing and free practice, Maverick Viñales appears as another of the candidates for the first victory in Qatar. It is well known that the Spanish rider is one of the kings on Friday and Saturday and, a few hours before starting on the grid for the first race of the year, Maverick has sent a message: he wants to be the best Aprilia .
We remember that this will be a peculiar grand prize. To avoid 96% humidity when racing at night, this year the Qatar Grand Prix will be held in the late afternoon, something that has sparked criticism from some of the drivers in the championship. However, MotoGP will be the only night race to be held on Sunday. Yes, with artificial light.