Eight races into the 2021 Moto GP season, and as always, the championship is delivering high-quality two-wheel racing. All racers are superheroes who deserve respect from every fan; Moto GP riders are the ultimate superheroes as they wrestle 200 mph machines on the tarmac. So after eight events, it feels like the optimum time to take a look at some of the best, most heart-warming moments of the season so far.
Top Gun Finally Back on Form
Maverick Vinales often gets treated like the forgotten step-child in the Yamaha stable. The enigmatic Spaniard is a quiet, unassuming character. He’s ridden for the factory Yamaha team since 2017, and sadly he never broke out of Valentino Rossi’s considerable shadow. Rossi finally left the team at the end of 2020; however, the Moto GP world decided to anoint Frenchman Fabio Quartararo as the top man in the team. That was until Maverick Vinales demonstrated his class, skill and speed as he sliced his way through the pack to win the opening race. Vinales is wildly inconsistent, but, no-one can disregard his talent. When he is in full flow, Vinales is one of the best riders in the paddock. It was brilliant to see Top Gun smiling again.
Magic Martin Takes Pole Position
Moto GP staged a doubleheader at the Losail Circuit in Qatar to start the season. If race one was a redemption story for Maverick Vinales, the second weekend gave rise to rookie sensation Jorge Martin. The youngster dragged his customer Ducati bike to a shock pole position. Martin bested the factory Ducati’s, Yamaha’s and the Honda bikes. The performance reeked of the rider making the difference. It is always enthusing for fans when fresh faces taste success. Martin’s pole position gave the world an initial glimpse of his talent.
Pecco Bagnaia Continues His Strong Start
After two years riding for the Pramac team, Italy’s Pecco Bagnaia stepped up to join the factory Ducati team. After taking pole position in his first race for the team, Bagnaia added solid points to give him the early championship lead. Bagnaia rides his bike with flair, passion and consistency. An Italian rider excelling on an Italian motorcycle is just the boost Moto GP required with Valentino Rossi’s career in the closing stages.
Jackass Kicks Ass to Win in Spain
Jack Miller is Moto GP’s loveable rogue. The Australian is a mischievous, often unpredictable rider with tons of talent. After crashing in Portugal, Miller channelled that raw talent to victory. So the man that invented the ‘Shoey’ celebration finally got back on the top step after five long years since his previous win. Moreover, after the strong start of his teammate, Miller needed to lay a marker down. He attacked the Jerez track and rode the bike as he stole it, Miller is a showman, and when he is on top, it is great to watch.
The Tricolour Flies High at Home
We Race On
Motor racing is dangerous; no one can ever forget that. The danger and risk came back in the most frightening reality as Moto 3 rider Jason Dupasquier lost his life after a crash at the Mugello circuit. A sombre tone rolled around the paddock for the rest of the weekend; it was difficult for all the riders and team personnel to carry on. But carry on, they did; the best riders in the world channelled their emotion and raced on Sunday. The results were insignificant given the big picture; nevertheless, Moto GP provided its riders and fans with some cathartic healing in the toughest of situations. On a gut-wrenching weekend, Moto GP put on its braves face and raced for Jason Dupasquier.
Oliveira Withstands Last Lap Pressure
KTM rider Miguel Oliveira held on to take a breathless win at the Catalan GP. The Portuguese rider surged past Fabio Quartararo in the early stage of the race. However, after Oliveira hit the lead, he experienced tyre graining which severely hampered his pace. That lack of speed allowed Johann Zarco to chase him down after the Pramac man also made his way past the Yamaha’s. Zarco closed in with three laps to go; what ensued was a wild duel as Oliveira morphed his KTM into the widest bike ever. Zarco looked on the inside and outside of every braking zone to no avail. Oliviera confirmed his promise after he joined the factory KTM team in the offseason. The 26-year-old displayed fierce determination and desperation to hold of Zarco. The two riders thrilled the world as they covered every bit of tarmac to win the race.
Return of the Marc
After spending a year on the sidelines, as well as enduring multiple surgeries, some were starting to wonder if Marc Marquez would ever get back to his best. But, love him or loathe him, the former champion’s return to the sport is a boost. Marquez is arguably the most talented rider of a motorcycle in history. Still, Marquez looked like a diminished power in the early races of 2021 until Moto GP returned to the Sachsenring in Germany. Marquez hasn’t lost at the track since 2010; his record of success in Germany is astonishing. True to form, the Honda rider got back to winning ways on his favourite track. All the pain, the injuries, surgeries and crashes melted away for Marquez as he roared across the finish line. It was a timely reminder that Marc Marquez is the undisputed freak, the generational, once-in-a-lifetime talent in Moto GP.