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Why Marquez isn't Vinales' main threat in MotoGP this year
The performance in last Sunday's Spanish GP that ensured Fabio Quartararo won his first race in MotoGP's premier class, becoming the first Frenchman to do so since Regis Laconi in 1999, was the culmination of a stratospheric rise since his premier-class debut last season.
'El Diablo' adapted to the Yamaha almost instantly at the start of 2019, posting a first pole position as early as the fourth round at Jerez, and a glance at the numbers he has posted since then gives little to suggest that the level of competition and quality of the world's elite riders has fazed him in the slightest.
He set the fastest lap on his MotoGP debut in Qatar after starting from the pitlane - instead of the fifth place he qualified in - but his race performances were inconsistent, with just 31 points to show from the first six races. Admittedly, that wasn't helped by the gearbox problem that forced him out of the Spanish GP while fighting for a podium, but Quartararo has tightened up in that respect and since then he has continued to grow.
His third place at Misano made Enea Bastianini the fifth different Ducati-mounted rider to score a podium in 2021. Amid a season that has seen one rider amass the bulk of Yamaha and Honda's success, the Ducati's versatility makes for a potent weapon, but the contribution of a former leading light shouldn't be forgotten
Maverick Vinales’ early debut with Aprilia has been one of the most interesting plots of the recent MotoGP rounds. The results may not look standout on paper, but a closer inspection reveals just how much progress Vinales has truly made in understanding a bike that has taken him well out of his “comfort zone”.
On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino GP will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP's present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia's flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows
Duelling against Marc Marquez at the Aragon Grand Prix, Francesco Bagnaia came out on top to secure a long overdue MotoGP victory. As Marquez likened Bagnaia to a Ducati title contender of old, it appears the Italian rider could finally start to fight for wins on a more regular basis
OPINION: The return of Andrea Dovizioso to the grid at Misano will be an interesting subplot to the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season. But the circumstances that have led to the former Ducati rider ending his sabbatical point to his signing being one more of convenience than a long-term commitment
OPINION: The 2021 British Grand Prix was a historic day for MotoGP. At the centre of it was Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia after securing its first podium in the modern MotoGP era. It was something of a full-circle moment that highlighted just how far MotoGP has come in the last decade
OPINION: Many of the UK’s MotoGP fans would prefer Donington Park to host the British GP beyond the expiry of Silverstone's current deal. But the track's fast, flowing circuit provides the best racing and should be regarded as its best bet for the foreseeable future
The 2020 MotoGP season was an enthralling affair, but few would argue with you if you thought the world championship was a poorer place without Marc Marquez. In an exclusive interview, he explains the challenges he's faced in his comeback from injury and what he makes of the current MotoGP landscape.
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