MotoGP World Championship 2022: Crash.net contenders vs contenders | MotoGP
With just eight days until the lights go out in Qatar, here is Crash.net’s list of 2022 MotoGP contenders, do you agree?
Although current world champion Fabio Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia could be considered the favorites for the 2022 title, we believe that several riders have the opportunity to get in on the action for a serious title challenge.
This list will select six favorites for the title in our eyes, as well as four contenders who also have the ability to consistently challenge up front, but are considered less likely to do so at present.
To start, there is no better place to start than with Quartararo.
Competitor: MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha)
Although pre-season testing was strong for reigning world champion Quartararo, the Yamaha rider bemoaned a lack of development from the Japanese manufacturer, especially when it came to top speed.
Quartararo remained one of the slowest on the straights, however, the French rider finished both Sepang and Mandalika testing in the top five, once again showing his ability to close the M1’s potential gaps.
While this is a clear reason why Quartararo remains a title contender, the No. 1 reason why Quartararo is a strong possibility of repeating as world champion is due to his astonishing consistency.
Quartararo has finished just five of 19 races outside the top five in 2021, while also being on the front row just four times.
The 22-year-old is out of contract at the end of 2022, and while it’s believed a deal between him and Yamaha will be reached, there’s no guarantee Quartararo won’t look elsewhere, especially if other teams make moves. forward significant. , something that already seemed to be the case during testing.
Of course, Quartararo is likely to face a much tougher hurdle when it comes to defending the world title this year, as Ducati, which now has eight bikes on the grid, is just one of its main challengers. .
That brings us to our next two contenders, who are not teammates but ride for the same manufacturer.
Competitors: Francesco Bagnaia (Lenovo Ducati) and Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati)
Starting with Bagnaia, the Italian was sensational to end last season.
His streak of four wins out of six and five poles out of six was a record that even Quartararo could not match.
Although Bagnaia failed to trigger pre-season testing, the Ducati rider still looked sharp when it came to race pace in particular.
In fact, the 2018 Moto2 world champion was one of the riders who spent the least time attacking the clock – something he had in 2021 – and improving the settings of his new Desmosedici GP22.
All things considered, Bagnaia is likely to be the main challenger for Quartararo’s title, although many believe Bagnaia to be the outright favorite given the results he amassed at the end of last year.
The other Ducati rider who we think could be a serious title challenger is Jorge Martin.
The Pramac rider has been brilliant for much of 2021, a season which has seen the Spaniard take multiple pole positions and a dominating victory at the Styrian Grand Prix.
Throughout his grand prix career, Martin’s second season in a class has always yielded much better results, which, if repeated, could easily lead to multiple race wins and therefore a championship challenger. .
We’re by no means saying that Martin is an undisputed favourite, however, the list of names ahead of him is very short in our opinion.
Pretender: Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati)
Continuing the Ducati theme, but not in the best way, Johann Zarco is our top contender.
As demonstrated by his two Moto2 world titles and several impressive performances in first class, Zarco is someone who can undoubtedly deliver at the highest level.
But that being said, Zarco’s 2021 season ended in quite a worrying way after starting with four second-place finishes in the first eight races.
The last of those podiums was at Catalunya as he was powered to victory by Miguel Oliveira.
And while Zarco eventually managed to claim fifth place in the championship, the aforementioned podium was his last of the year.
Add to that that Zarco still hasn’t won a MotoGP race, so placing him as a contender to start the season is what we deem fit.
Competitor: Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
After two seasons heavily impacted by injuries, Marc Marquez should regain his championship form, especially as he and the bike seem to be at their best since 2019.
A completely revamped RC213V – has a new engine, chassis, fairing and aero package for 2022, while Marquez finally appears to have put the shoulder and eye troubles behind him.
The Respol Honda rider was extremely competitive in both pre-season tests, both qualifying and the race.
The eight-time world champion was also visibly upbeat by the apparent improvements.
Although far from fully fit, Marquez was able to win three races in 2021, which was almost enough to include him alone on the list of contenders.
While Pol Espargaro also looked extremely fast – leading the Mandalika test – Honda’s title charge will likely be led by Marquez who goes in search of the No. 7 premier class title, ninth overall.
After his second best season in MotoGP, the best since joining Aprilia, putting Aleix Espargaro as a contender was a tough decision.
However, with neither the Noale-based constructor nor Espargaro yet to win a race, putting Espargaro as a contender was asking too much at this early stage.
Aprilia has apparently taken another step forward in pre-season testing – significant gains are said to have been made in terms of the bike’s agility (mid-corner), while “the engine is a bit stronger” . Aerodynamics too.
But that said, Espargaro is in the same situation as Zarco as he has yet to prove he can win a grand prize.
Competitor: Jack Miller (Lenovo Ducati)
The third and final Ducati rider to make our list of contenders is a two-time 2021 race winner, Jack Miller.
The Australian, who has had a difficult start to the 2021 campaign, so much so that rumors of him being dropped out after the year have started to surface.
However, a double win at Jerez and Le Mans showed what Miller was capable of before securing three more podiums.
Although Miller was not as spectacular as Martin and in particular Bagnaia, the sophomore factory rider turned into an eternal podium challenger.
Therefore, if Miller can find a solution to the tire degradation issues he suffered at times last year, then a title charge isn’t out of the question.
Contenders Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM factory Racing)
The first teammates to appear on this list, Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira are two riders who undoubtedly have the ability to run out front every weekend.
Both men have won races for the past two seasons, while KTM has been one of the best bikes on the grid at times.
But as is the case with many riders/teams at this level, consistency is the biggest denominator between success and failure.
Excellent race pace has seen Binder deliver impressive results throughout 2021, but too often the South African had to fight back after a Q1 elimination.
If a KTM rider is to fight for regular race wins, Binder might have the best chance of doing so due to his impressive pace and racing artistry, however, pre-season testing has once again highlighted the positives and negatives of the team on a much bigger level. degree than others.
In Oliveira’s case, the Portuguese rider has only had four top-ten results for the whole year, all of which came in back-to-back rounds.
For these reasons, Binder and Oliveira start as contenders, although the potential is certainly there.
Competitor: Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar)
The final rider on our list is Joan Mir from Suzuki.
A world champion in 2020, Mir had a somewhat disappointing 2021 season after finishing without a win.
Mir still managed to bring his GSX-RR home for the P3 of the championship after what seemed like a campaign where Suzuki fell behind its competitors from a development standpoint.
But much to Mir’s delight, fears of it happening again seem to have already been resolved as he and Alex Rins were two of the most impressive riders in testing, which is why Mir deserves and should be included on this list.
World champion in both the premier class and in Moto3, Mir should return to victory in 2022 provided that the Japanese manufacturer, which will be boosted by the new Team Manager, Livio Suppo, can continue its upward trend.