The big favorites disappointed at the MotoGP season opener in Qatar a week ago. The highly traded Ducati factory team with Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller went completely empty-handed.
World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) only made it into the top 10 thanks to a few retirements, finishing ninth. And ex-champion Marc Márquez (Honda) also remained rather inconspicuous with fifth place. But how meaningful was the first race of the season?
Marc Márquez doesn’t think there’s too much insight to be gained from the result of the Qatar Grand Prix: “It was the first race. And the first race is always special, especially in Qatar. At this track there’s always special results.”
MotoGP: Marc Márquez is under pressure at Honda
Losail International Airport in the desert state of Qatar was never one of Márquez’s favorite routes. With the exception of the 2014 season, in which he won the first ten races, Marquez did not win a MotoGP race in Qatar. And the other Honda drivers often struggled on the course.
But this year Honda works driver Pol Espargaro fought for victory for a long time. The Spaniard led the race from lap one to lap 17 and was undoubtedly the faster of the two factory Honda riders.
Márquez maintains that the result in Qatar was only of limited significance and remembers 2021: “Last year Maverick (Vinales) and Fabio (Quartararo) were very fast. (Johann) Zarco was also really strong and was able to do that for the rest of the season but not confirm it,” says Márquez.
Enea Bastianini travels to Indonesia as MotoGP World Championship leader
However, the events of the season opener are not completely irrelevant. “Two drivers in particular caught my eye here,” admits Márquez and explains: “They were Enea Bastianini and Pol Espargaro. These two drivers were fast and will be candidates for the world championship.”
After the victory in Qatar, Bastianini travels to the second Grand Prix of the season in Indonesia as the championship leader. “We come to Indonesia after an incredible race in Qatar. I got my first win in the category, but it will be difficult to repeat that,” comments Bastianini, adding: “But we were quick in the test.”