The 2021 MotoGP World Championship grid is almost complete following Ducati’s confirmation that Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia will compete in the scarlet colours of the Factory team, with Johann Zarco and rookie Jorge Martin representing the satellite Pramac Racing outfit too.

Coming days after Valentino Rossi's immediate future was assured with a move to the Petronas SRT Yamaha team next season, it means only two seats remain unaccounted for - officially speaking anyway....


So with a few big pieces of this tantalising puzzle now in place, though 2020 may have plenty of stories to tell, we're already rather looking forward to the 2021 MotoGP season...


Repsol Honda

It’s been a strange season without Marc Marquez out there, not least because we’re beginning to forget what it looks like to have the orange Honda anywhere near the front of the field. 

We’re sure the six-time MotoGP champ will readdress this on his return in 2021 for the first in what will be four more years with the HRC squad.

On the other side, one of the big winter moves coming up will be Pol Espargaro’s switch from KTM, not least because he is replacing Marquez’s very own brother Alex.

Reuniting the two Moto2 rivals in the same garage, Honda will be hoping Espargaro - who has starred for relative newbies KTM - provides the depth in needs after a year that has exposed just how vulnerable the title-winning squad is when Marquez is not there to lead its charge

Yamaha Factory

It’s going to be strange not seeing Valentino Rossi’s beaming face when Yamaha wheels out its 2021 M1, but the end of one chapter means another begins as Fabio Quartararo lands a seat at the big table in the wake of his starring efforts on the Petronas SRT Yamaha.

While there seems little to choose between the two Yamaha factions right now, the swap to ‘blue’ means it at least assures Quartararo the latest updates on the best of the M1s.

He pairs up with team-mate Maverick Vinales, who enters into his fifth season with Yamaha but his first with someone other than Rossi fighting for Yamaha’s affections.

This could prove to be the spiciest team-mate head-to-head of 2021…


Suzuki got in there early with the confirmation it is retaining Alex Rins and Joan Mir for 2021 and 2022, seeing off apparent interest from Ducati who were reportedly sniffing around both riders over the winter.

With two wins to his name in 2019, though the 2020 season has been a more humbling - and bruising - campaign for Rins, his lofty status within the Suzuki squad has never been questioned.

Even so, he has come up against some stiff internal opposition from Joan Mir, who has flourished in his second MotoGP season to - at this stage - launch himself into what is a rather unexpected title contention.

Given this is only his fifth season of GP racing entirely - quite a bit less than any of his rivals - it’s credit to Suzuki for taking him under its wing.

Ducati Corse

What a tumultuous proces it has been for Ducati to come to a decision its 2021 rider line-up as approaches to the likes of Quartararo, Vinales, Rins and Mir fell flat, before Andrea Dovizioso called its bluff by announcing his exit despite - right now - only having his sofa as a seat for 2021.

However, while the chain of events has forced Ducati to look internally for its factory riders, the pairing of Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia - both currently competing on the Pramac bikes - could well prove a blessing in disguise if they can continue developing at their current rate,

Miller’s chance, which comes at the expense of the out-of-sorts Danilio Petrucci, could be the opportunity he needs to take that extra step towards race wins.

Bagnaia, meanwhile, might have seemed an unlikely choice a few weeks ago after a patchy maiden campaign in 2019 but recent form suggests he is indeed a talent that will relish this earlier than expected shot at the big leagues.

KTM Factory

KTM might have felt a little left in the lurch by Pol Espargaro’s decision to defect to Honda for 2021, but it too might see the situation as another disguised blessing.

With the KTM RC16 flourishing into a truly competitive - and now race-winning - machine, KTM’s decision to place its two proteges, Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira, together looks very shrewd in retrospect.

Both have topped the podium this season and while there is perhaps still a little more polish needed from the pair to follow those successes up week in, week out, they are proof a bit of nurturing and faith goes a long way to bring out best in tomorrow’s generation today. 


While the 2020 RS-GP hasn’t exactly been the breakthrough he had hopes, Aleix Espargaro is certainly more positive about the future than he has been in recent years and has duly been given another 2 years - likely his last in MotoGP - to see the project through to the end.

As for his team-mate in 2021, the Italian team is - surprisingly for some - still waiting for the outcome of Andrea Iannone’s appeal for a drugs ban to be heard. That date is coming up fairly soon - after a 2 month delay - but even then many are surprised not to see Aprilia falling over itself to lure the very available Andrea Dovizioso into its midst.

The Italian has made no public declaration of any desire to join Aprilia, but as a project he can influence - something he decried the lack of at Ducati - there are many logical reasons for why it could happen.

If Dovizioso isn’t in the frame and Iannone faces a longer spell on the sidelines, then Cal Crutchlow has expressed his interest too. 

Petronas SRT Yamaha

While you’ll need to focus to imagine him in anything other than Yamaha blue, Valentino Rossi’s switch to the satellite Petronas SRT squad makes more sense now than it did in January when his Factory exit was confirmed.

The only rider to win a premier GP title on a satellite machine - back in 2001 on the Nastro Azzurro Honda - given that feat might be matched by Quartararo this season, the Rossi-Petronas SRT Yamaha deal for 2021 has a lot going for it.

Moreover, he’ll have his protege and friend Franco Morbidelli on the other side of the garage in a somewhat less pressured environment that could well bring out the best in The Doctor even at this stage in his career.

LCR Honda

He hadn’t even started a MotoGP race with the factory Honda squad before he was siphoned off to LCR for 2021, but Alex Marquez has the satellite outfit to look forward to next season.

Interestingly, LCR is one of just three teams yet to formally announce its full rider line-up for 2021 but there is little doubt it will be signing Takaaki Nakagami in the wake of the Japanese rider’s eye-catching performances this year on the year-old Honda, especially compared to his factory-backed counterparts.

Moreover, Honda looks set to reward Nakagami with a 2021 machine next year meaning it will go directly head to head with Yamaha, Ducati and KTM for the first time by supplying a brace of current-spec bikes across two teams.

Pramac Ducati 

Pramac Racing will enter the 2021 MotoGP World Championship season with an all-new rider pairing, with Johann Zarco being bumped up the Ducati hierarchy and rookie Jorge Martin making his MotoGP debut.

Zarco’s appointment represents a return to prominence for the Frenchman following a tumultuous 18 months that saw his relationship with KTM break down just six months into a two-year deal, before securing a last minute deal to join the Ducati fold, where he has since starred on the year-old Avintia Ducati GP19.

2018 Moto3 World Champion Martin, meanwhile, will be one of two (maybe three) rookies on the grid in 2021.

The highly-rated youngster is in the midst his second season in Moto2, which yielded a maiden victory in Austria even if an unfortunate two-race pause after contracting the coronavirus has dented his title aspirations.

Tech3 Racing KTM

What a difference a year makes for Tech 3 Racing, who having suffered the growing pains of its switch from Yamaha to KTM machinery in 2019, has burst into a competitive outfit in its own right for 2020.

While its talisman - Miguel Oliveira - moves on to the factory outfit though, Tech 3 inherits its own race winning rider in Danilo Petrucci, who will hope a change of scenery will reignite the form that at his best has seen him not only step on the podium, but top it.

Though it’s been an expensive season for in terms of crash repairs, Iker Lecuona has shown flashes of proof he is deserving of his unexpected promotion to MotoGP with KTM and will duly get another season to demonstrate that further in 2021.

Avintia Racing

Avintia Racing’s rider line-up remains somewhat up in the air given one of its riders with a contract - Tito Rabat - has intimated he could walk away from MotoGP at the end of the year anyway.

With this in mind, Rossi is known to have made contact with Avintia bosses over the possibility of getting his brother - and current Moto2 leader - Luca Marini on the bike instead. Ducati could sweeten the deal further by luring Rabat to WorldSBK with the promise of a guaranteed seat, but for now there is no confirmation.

Officially speaking, Ducati hasn’t confirmed the second Avintia ride either but Enea Bastianini, who is battling Marini for that Moto2 title, has already revealed he has a deal with Ducati, one that will see him placed in the Spanish outfit.



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