2021 MotoGP World Championship season got underway with an electric atmosphere

MGP-1-Joan Mir-R11

Team Suzuki Press Office – March 28.


Joan Mir: 4th (+ 1.222)
Alex Rins: 6th (+ 3.357)

The first race of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship season got underway with an electric atmosphere and a special light show for the riders, teams, and socially-distanced spectators.

Conditions were cooler and windier than those experienced so far, and the soft-soft tyre combination was the choice for the entire field.

From their ninth and 10th grid positions, Team Suzuki Ecstar’s riders got decent starts, and they managed the first laps well. By the third lap they were already working their way through the pack.

By the ninth lap of the race, Alex Rins had worked his way up to the leading group of riders, and shortly after he had moved into a Top-5 position. Meanwhile, Joan Mir was getting into a strong rhythm behind his team-mate. With six laps to go, the Suzuki pair were both in podium contention thanks to their hard work, consistency, and determination.

Rins began to experience some tyre wear after pushing in the early laps but he managed to hold onto a very solid sixth place. Mir was able to move into third on lap 20, before swiftly heading into a great second on the last lap. He took a wide sweeping line onto the final straight to try and avoid the full force of the slipstream from the competitors behind him but slipped to fourth on the line.

Shinichi Sahara – Team Leader and Project Manager:

“Our riders started from ninth and 10th on the grid but they still fought for the podium, and they were very close to achieving it. Joan managed to save the tyre a little bit better, and he was in second but he lost out to the two Ducatis on the straight, maybe because his line out of the last corner was a little wide. Alex also had very good pace but it dropped a little in the last part of the race because he lost some grip. But we’re very happy and we’ve learned a lot from today: We’ll be going for the podium again next week.”

Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:

“We were able to confirm once again that our riders are able to fight at the front. Joan was very, very close to the podium, Alex too at one point. So I’m disappointed for them, but at the same time we’re feeling satisfied and happy. We’ve scored good points in this opening round and we’re looking ahead to next weekend.”

Joan Mir:

“I feel good, it was a nice race. I made a step this morning in warm-up and I regained my feeling with the bike – that was the most important thing. The bike worked so well today, and I’m really grateful to the team. I tried to push hard and get the most from the bike and the tyres, recovering places and managing well. I’m happy with how it worked out even if it would’ve been great to finish second! But I had a feeling those Ducatis would overtake me on the straight in the slipstream, and I’m still satisfied with fourth. We’ll take what we learned and go for next weekend. I’m feeling positive and ready for more.”

Alex Rins:

“My start was not one of my best ones, so I had to push a lot to recover the positions I lost and catch up with the leading group. Already six laps before Joan passed me I was beginning to struggle with the tyres, so I think I cooked them. I did my best, and I’m pretty happy, but in the end I couldn’t manage to go higher. The bike felt good and my pace was strong, so I’m ready for next week!”

BARWA GRAND PRIX OF QATAR – Race Classification:

1. M. VIÑALES – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 42:28.663
2. J. ZARCO – Pramac Racing +01.092
3. F. BAGNAIA – Ducati Lenovo Team +01.129
4. J. MIR – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +01.222
5. F. QUARTARARO – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +03.030
6. A. RINS – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +03.357
7. A. ESPARGARO – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +05.934
8. P. ESPARGARO – Repsol Honda Team +05.990
9. J. MILLER – Ducati Lenovo Team +07.058
10. E. BASTIANINI – Esponsorama Racing +09.288
11. S. BRADL – Repsol Honda Team +10.299
12. V. ROSSI – Petronas Yamaha SRT +10.742
13. M. OLIVEIRA – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +11.457
14. B. BINDER – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +14.100
15. J. MARTIN – Pramac Racing +16.422
16. L. MARINI – SKY VR46 Esponsorama +20.916
17. I. LECUONA – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing +21.026
18. F. MORBIDELLI – Petronas Yamaha SRT +23.892
19. L. SAVADORI – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +46.346
Not Classified:
A. MARQUEZ – LCR Honda CASTROL – 25:13.775 – 14 laps
T. NAKAGAMI – LCR Honda IDEMITSU – 11:44.087 – 7 laps

MotoGP World Standings:

1 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 25
2 Johann ZARCO Ducati 20
3 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 16
4 Joan MIR Suzuki 13
5 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 11
6 Alex RINS Suzuki 10
7 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 9
8 Pol ESPARGARO Honda 8
9 Jack MILLER Ducati 7
10 Enea BASTIANINI Ducati 6
11 Stefan BRADL Honda 5
12 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 4
13 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 3
14 Brad BINDER KTM 2
15 Jorge MARTIN Ducati 1
16 Luca MARINI Ducati
18 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha
19 Lorenzo SAVADORI Aprilia
20 Alex MARQUEZ Honda
21 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda

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