MotoGP returns to Europe in just over a week’s time for the third Grand Prix of the year at Portimao. 

But before then, a big decision is to be made regarding the possible participation and return of Marc Marquez. The 12th of April is the date to keep in your diary, as Marquez will undergo another medical check and therefore a decision will be made regarding Portimao.

His absence has certainly been felt for Honda who leave Qatar with only 18 points across their four riders, which includes Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Marquez on zero apiece. 

But while it’s been a disappointing start to the year, Pol Espargaro has reassured Marquez that the Honda has great potential for when he does return. "The bike is fast. I’m not worried. We can have a great season, we can be among the candidates for the title," said Espargaro. [Gpone.com]  

"I don’t know what’ll happen when Marc arrives, but the bike could’ve fought for the podium. It has great potential." 

Racing so far in 2021 has been immensely competitive which was highlighted by the closest top fifthteen finish of all time in last weekend’s MotoGP race. 

And while this is largely due to the grid being closer than ever in terms of raw speed, the curious case of Michelin tyres has been another. 

With many rumours and opinions on the Michelin tyres doing the rounds, Mat Oxley of Motorsport Magazine spoke to several MotoGP engineers to find out what’s going on. [Motorsportmagazine.com] 

Many riders were not happy with the tyre allocation brought to the Qatar Grand Prix events including Miguel Oliveira, who was one of the more vocal on the subject. But that’s not all, as Jack Miller and Joan Mir also had tyres that did not perform to the expected standard and suffered in the race because of it.

Speaking of Miller and Mir, their on track contact was one of the big talking points from a dramatic second race in Qatar. 

The reigning world champion Mir called Miller ‘super dangerous’, and that the second collision on the start finish straight was deliberate from the Australian.

Mir said: “We almost crashed on the straight, so I think it was super risky, it was a super dangerous manoeuvre... I think that was intentional.” [Theguardian.com]. This came after initial contact was made when Mir produced an overtake that pushed Miller wide a few corners prior. 

And while Miller was happy to call it ‘one of those things’, Miller certainly seemed angered by the previous move made by Mir. Both riders struggled from that point forward with Miller suffering from arm pump, while Mir had a rear tyre related issue. 

The recorded speed when both riders collided on the pit straight was 118mph (190kph), and with other riders following very closely, it was fortunate that both men were able to stay aboard their machines.

 

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