MotoGP 2022 surprises and balance: world championship without masters

Three different winners in as many races, with nine different riders on the three steps of the podium in the first GPs of a 2022 season full of uncertainty: such a ‘crazy’ start has not been experienced for 70 years

Paolo Ianieri

– Milan

Three races, three different winners. But also three different manufacturers to celebrate on the top step and, above all, nine different riders out of nine places available on the podium, as in the history of the World Championship it had happened only twice, at the dawn of the championship and when often and willingly at various GPs. ‘was a very occasional presence of participants: it only happened in 1951 after the GP of Spain (Umberto Masetti, Tommy Wood, Arcisio Artesiani), Switzerland (Fergus Anderson, Reginald Armstrong, Enrico Lorenzetti) and Tourist Trophy (Geoff Duke, William Doran, Cromie McCandless) and in 1952, again in Switzerland (Jack Brett, Doran, Carlo Bandirola), Tourist Trophy (Armstrong, Leslie Graham, Ray Amm) and Holland (Masetti, Duke and Ken Kavanagh). These few data are enough to understand how the MotoGP season kicked off exactly one month ago in Qatar is marked by the most extreme regularity, with all the six participating manufacturers capable of conquering at least one podium (who has done more is Ducati , 3, one in each race).

concessions ok

As a demonstration of the great competitiveness achieved at a technical level, thanks also to the concessions system introduced a few years ago by Dorna, to allow all the manufacturers who are late in planning (and therefore in results), to try to recover the gap from their rivals through a greater number of tests, freer development and a greater number of engines to be used over the course of the season. Except for Honda and Yamaha, Ducati, Suzuki, KTM have passed, while now only Aprilia is the only beneficiary, who, however, between Aleix Espargaro’s third place at Silverstone (1 point) and the victory of the Catalan himself on Sunday at Termas de Rio Hondo (3 points), is in turn very close to losing them in turn: missing only two points – a second place or two thirds – to line up with the opponents. And given the quality shown by the RS-GP in this first part of the season between tests and races (in Qatar, Espargaro finished 4 to 2 “from the winner Enea Bastianini) it is not at all unfounded to assume that he will lose soon.

short ranking

Maybe not immediately in Austin this weekend, which on paper remains one of the most problematic tracks for Noale and Espargaro (who last year had a nightmare weekend with five crashes), but that was also another bike, with the engineers from Noale very curious to see what will happen. Certainly, the 45 points with which Aleix presents himself at the Circuit of the Americas as leader of the general classification, represent the lowest score since the MotoGP category was introduced (but also in the last twenty years), only close to 46 points that in 2019 saw Andrea Dovizioso leave Austin at the head of the championship, thanks to Marc Marquez’s crash. Continuing at this rate, we risk seeing an encore of 2020, the World Championship season without a master, in the end won by Joan Mir on Franco Morbidelli, with Marquez’s injury during the Jerez GP which effectively took two out of circulation. seasons the great ruler of the last decade. And with no one ready to take his place. So much so that, when Marc returns, it becomes difficult not to imagine him in any case among the candidates for the title.

how many disappointed

If the starter of 2022 gave us two wonderful firsts – Enea with the rookie Gresini team, Aleix and Aprilia – it is equally true that the disappointments are many, with many big names who for one reason or another have missed the waited. Above all, Francesco Bagnaia and the factory Ducati, great favorites on the eve, with Pecco who, after having blocked the first two GPs, partially made up for it in Argentina, despite being penalized by a qualifying to forget. Just as his mate Jack Miller collected crumbs, or changing sides and stopping in the Yamaha area, an increasingly nervous Fabio Quartararo, who can only be satisfied with the wet race in Indonesia, not to mention Franco Morbidelli and Andrea Dovizioso, targeted by Technical Problems. But even at Honda, Marquez’s orphan, after a good start in Qatar, Pol Espargaro also received disappointments above all, proving himself to be a bad prophet: “Of all the six manufacturers, only Aprilia will not fight for the World Championship” he told the Termas eve. His brother Aleix didn’t waste too much time silencing him.

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