The MotoGP season begins
Pol Espargaró finishes eighth in his debut with the Repsol Honda team
The MotoGP World Championship started this weekend (March 26, 27 and 28) with the Qatar Grand Prix, where the Repsol Honda Team has shown that it is ready to compete at the highest level. After a difficult 2020, the Japanese team begins this new season with great desire to return to the lead of the competition. This was the first of two consecutive races to be run at the Losail International Circuit.
During the pre-season tests, we already saw how the new signing of the team, Pol Espargaró, was feeling more and more comfortable on board of the RC213V. However, the Catalan rider does not want to set expectations for the moment and prefers to keep focusing on getting used to his new motorbike.
Meanwhile, Marc Márquez continues to focus on recovering from his humerus fracture, following the recommendation of the medical team after his last check-up, in which he was advised not to participate in the two races in Qatar in order to return to the competition as soon as possible. Stefan Bradl has reassembled the RC213V as a test driver in this first race of the year.
On Friday, the day started very hot, with temperatures approaching 40ºC. Despite the heat, Pol Espargaró was one of the first drivers to go out in free practice 1, but a crash forced the rider to leave the track, without any injuries. The conditions were very different in free practice 2, as the temperature dropped to 20ºC. On this occasion, the youngest of the Espargaró showed a good performance, fighting for a place in the top five. Unfortunately, an accident on his last fastest lap left his mark at 1'53.901 and tenth overall, making a provisional gap for him in Q2. On the other side, Stefan Bradl, completed 18 laps during free practice 2 and improved his time (1'54.634), about 1.3 seconds faster than in FP1.
Saturday started with temperatures that rose to 50ºC during free practice 3, in which there were not too many changes. As a result, Pol Espargaró earned a direct pass to Q2 on his first qualifying day with the Repsol Honda Team, which ended with a place for Espargaró in the fourth row of the grid. Meanwhile, Bradl secured 17th place on the grid for Sunday's race.
The wind was one of the protagonists during the Moto GP race at the Losail International Circuit. After a very positive warm-up session by both riders, the first race of the 2021 season kicked off, which Pol took advantage of to place himself in the top ten after the first corner. The lap times of the Granollers rider improved throughout the race, reaching or even exceeding those of the leaders towards the end of the 22 laps. In his first race wearing the famous Repsol Honda Team colors, Espargaró scored eight points thanks to his eighth position. Bradl, on his part, ended up satisfied with his performance. The German driver finished 11th, just one second behind Bastianini.
Now, the Repsol Honda Team is preparing for the second round of the year, also in Qatar next weekend.