Two of the standout riders in 2020 Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Marquez have had two consecutive weekends to forget in Qatar, as they hope a return to Europe can bring better results. 

Both riders have struggled to fight for top ten finishes at Losail, while crashes have plagued their early season. 

Through testing and both race weekends so far, no one has crashed more than Marquez which has been especially surprising given his impressive rookie season. 

For Nakagami, it's also been a difficult start to the season after his best year yet in 2020. With both riders expected to kick on in 2021, it has so far been very much the opposite, as front end problems seem to be a recurring issue with the Honda.

Nakagami was running inside the points for the first quarter of Sunday’s race, but dropped back as the laps ticked down with the ‘front tyre’ being the main issue. 

"Well, it was a tough day again. The beginning was ok, but after seven or eight laps I felt a drop with the front tyre which then made it really difficult to hold on to the bike and especially in turning," said the Japanese rider.

"We had a lot of struggles during the race and then I found it difficult to keep the lap time and stay on the bike. 

"Of course, we are not happy about this position. However, last weekend I had a crash and today we finished the race and we have to think about it positively. 

"We have gathered a lot of data here in Qatar and now we look forward to the next race in Portimão."

For Marquez, it was a crash at turn 14 which ended his race, but like his team-mate the former 2019 Moto2 champion is looking forward to Portimao. 

"Second race here in Qatar and it ended not in the way we wanted. I made a small mistake on turn 14 and I lost my front tyre which is hard for the team as I was trying to make a good start to the race," added Marquez. 

"I was a little bit inside in the corner. Anyway, not easy days for us here in Qatar, but I think we are there, we are competitive, we are constant. 

"Now, it is time to improve, to learn … I don’t want to say any excuse. I will be more competitive and stronger in Portimao."

 

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