Since the opening MotoGP race of 2020 in Jerez, July 19, only members part of the event, teams and riders had been allowed in the paddock, while a small number of media members have since been allowed at the track in 2021 - though they don’t have direct access to riders.

However, as things gradually improve globally, fans will be allowed back to MotoGP events in reduced numbers, starting with this weekend’s Catalunya Grand Prix. 

Assen will follow Barcelona as reported by Speedweek: “In Montemeló, 20,000 spectators will be admitted this weekend. In Assen, 11,500 spectators will be able to sit in the stands every day from June 25th to 27th, with distance rules and masks.” [].

Sachsenring will be held without fans unfortunately, but a considerable number of spectators are expected for the double header in Austria - 8th and 15th of August. 

And while it remains unlikely that a full house of spectators will be allowed to a circuit this year, it hasn’t been ruled out altogether by Dorna CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta who said: "Maybe it will work out at the finals in Valencia in November.” []

Last time out in Mugello, KTM secured their first podium finish of the 2021 season after what was a disappointing first six rounds. 

The Austrian manufacturer made huge strides forward during 2020 and became a consistent fixture for podium finishes and more. 

But a change to Michelin’s front tyre allocation had put the RC16 machine on the back-foot and playing catch-up to its competitors. 

So, what led to the improved performance in Mugello that resulted in Miguel Olivera taking second place, while Brad Binder was fifth.

Well, KTM introduced new ‘frame parts’ and ‘new fuel’, which made the bike better through the corners, while also faster on the straights. When I say ‘faster’ on the straights - equaling the MotoGP top speed record set by Ducati’s Johann Zarco in Qatar ‘faster’, is what I mean. 

Oxley detailed it by saying: "The revised frame allows both KTM’s factory riders to get the bike turned quicker, so they can take some of the pressure off the front tyre sooner. That’s the first positive, because they’re no longer so hampered by the 2021 front tyres. 

"The second positive feeds from the first. By getting through the middle of the corner quicker they can lift up the bike sooner, which delivers a faster corner exit which is kinder to the tyre. In other words, it’s a win, win, win." [].