MotoGP: 2022 Rider Lineup SWAG

© Bruce Allen  June 29, 2021

Screenshot (557)

Maverick Vinales, managing his career.

Making the turn on the 2021 season with a long break until Round 10 at Red Bull Ring in August. We have a pretty good contest in the premier class, although your boy Fabio appears to be feeling it. Perhaps the break will cool him off. Or perhaps while laying around sunning himself in Cadiz he’ll contract some kind of, um, social disease. There are riders whose stars are rising and others who are visibly falling. Talk amongst y’selves. I want to talk about the rider lineup for 2022. Not 2023, not looking beyond the one year.

Repsol Honda appears to be set with Marquez and Espargaro. Pol will have to show more next year than he has this year if he intends to keep that seat, as every team on the grid wants a shot at Pedro Acosta after next season, meaning the 17 year-old Moto3 phenom will be signed mid-2022. By someone.

Monstar Yamaha will have Quartararo and A Rider to be Named Later, given Maverick Vinales’ curious defection to Aprilia. Rider ego again, as previously demonstrated by Rossi and Lorenzo–if I’m not The Man, and none of the three were/are–I’m going elsewhere and will show them what they lost. And going to Ducati, as Rossi and Lorenzo did, is a helluva lot different than running off to Aprilia in order to extract vengeance. These ego-driven moves generally don’t work out. Jorge Lorenzo, one of the great riders, was out of the sport two years after making his move.

Lenovo Ducati is set with Miller and Bagnaia.

Suzuki is set with Alex Rins and Joan Mir, although Rins will need to stay on his bike in the first half of 2022 if he wants a new contract thereafter. After an impressive run during his wonder years in the premier class his trajectory was highly positive. It is now flat, accompanied by a host of excuses. Joan Mir is an excellent rider who still needs more bike under him to compete for wins. Podiums, yes; wins, no. When you’re measuring thousandths of a second, a few extra horsepower can make a difference.

Aprilia is “set” with Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales. My expectations for the team, once again, are minimal. Aleix is good but not great, and I’m glad someone wants Vinales on their team. It says here Aleix Espargaro will be out of MotoGP by the end of 2023.

Red Bull KTM is totally set with Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder, with a pipeline of formidable riders building behind them. The same cannot be said for the Tech 3 KTM team, with Remy Gardner on his way up from Moto2, to be joined, in my Sophisticated Wild Ass Guess (see headline), by Iker Lecuona, whose future is not terribly bright but who at least has some experience. It appears my boy Danilo Petrucci is on his way out of MotoGP, which is a shame.

LCR Honda is set with Takaa Nakagami and Alex Marquez, both of whom show occasional flashes, neither of whom is going anywhere in a macro sense. Ai Ogura appears likely to be the next Japanese rider on the MotoGP grid, whether as a replacement for or in addition to Nakagami. It’s too soon to give up on Alex Marquez, but he has a long row to hoe in the next year.

As for the host of satellite Ducati teams, the Gresini Ducati effort appears to be set with Enea Bastianini and a newly-promoted Fabio di Giannantonio. Bastianini is paying dues this year that FDG will be paying next year. Not convinced about either rider at this early stage, but the ghost of Fausto Gresini will be smiling at finally having secured two Italian riders, rather than those stronzo Spaniards he was stuck with for so many years.

Pramac Ducati is set with Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin, fall and spring, experienced and inexperienced, calculating and rookie reckless. Zarco could win himself a championship this year; Martin’s best years are yet to come and he has a world of talent. Not to mention stones the size of manhole covers.

The new Aramco VR46 Ducati team will feature sophomore Luca Marini, brother of the team principal, and another Italian rider, most likely Marco Bezzecchi, up from Moto2. I expect Rossi to field a competitive team in the next three years. We shall see if Marini’s expected job security allows him to search out his potential in a win-or-bin mode, which is easy to do on the Ducati.

Finally, it is hard to watch Marquez struggle in his comeback. Certainly, his crash at Jerez has cost him two seasons. We shall find out whether the bill will be ultimately be bigger than that. I personally hate to think that such a transcendent talent as Marc Marquez would have his time at the top truncated by an injury. Perhaps fans should be grateful he’s not in a wheelchair. Next year, I expect, will tell the story.

I’ll get back on the blog during break if anything worth discussing takes place. Enjoy your summer.


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34 Responses to “MotoGP: 2022 Rider Lineup SWAG”

  1. Starmag Says:

    Agreed with all of that as usual, with the exception of your M1r paragraph. He’s certainly no Antman or even El Diablo, ( who is now showing consistency to go with his talent ), but is the Champ and is on the podium regularly, whereas Alex Bins is regularly wadding up bikes doing the gravel cha-cha, and when not doing that is complaining about minor passing rubs. Are you sure you didn’t have a senior moment and swap names in that paragraph? If I put Bins in that paragraph it makes sense.

    Pop Gun has always been wildly inconsistent, but now he’s lost his mind as well. His personal discipline leaves a lot to be desired. Tantrums in Parc Ferme anyone? Yamaha is lucky to see the backside of him. El Diablo never complains about the bike, whereas he and Methuselah always did for years.

    LCR can forget about podiums, the very thing they are in it for. I’ve completely lost confidence in both riders.

    It may be that we have seen the last of Antman’s incredible, never-seen-before front end saves, which would be a real shame. For now it looks like he will still win some races, but it’s hard to see him ever returning to the utter dominance of his 2019 season where he looked like an actual, not figurative, alien who made the rest of the field look silly, setting the points total record and beating DesmoDovi in 2nd by something like 150 points. I hope he fully heals for next year and proves me wrong, because there has literally never been anyone like him.

    Have you watched Lorenzo’s 99 seconds on Youtube? I know, I know, it’s Lorenzo for God’s sake! Still, it’s both fair and good, believe-it-or-not.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Prakasit Says:

    I watched how Maverick behaved during Assen and couldn’t believe it.
    He threw a fit worse than a toddler. Yamaha is consistently the top 2 manufacturer in MotoGP years on end. I think he got the dynamic of the relationship backward. It’s on him to communicate to the factory so he will have the bike he wants.
    In any case, I look forward to the rest of season and next year. Now that Marc will have young guns to contend with. Races won’t be so predictable, I hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Vrooom Says:

    It seems like it’s Rins who is binning his bike a lot more than Mir. He may not have a repeat championship, but Alex crashed out of 4 races in a row. Mir is in 4th place and Rins is in 14th, and they’re getting rid of Mir? Hard to believe Aleix is going out, he is the only one who can ride that Aprilia successfully. He’s been just off the podium all season, though an 8th this last weekend was a step down. I suspect we’ll find that Vinales is not as successful with that bike. Pol is not earning his factory seat with Honda, Alex Marquez was out pointing him last year, 12th in the championship standings is nothing to write home to Ma about..

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Buzz Says:

    Pop Gun goes to the VR46 team. Why on earth would he want to go to Aprilia. Rossi retires. Done deal.


    • Bruce Allen Says:

      I think Rossi thinks Vinales is a Spanish puta.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Starmag Says:

      I hope you are right, but I’m not convinced his ego is done punishing his fans yet. Also, the Al Saud “prince” wants him to continue on the last year Ducati last I heard, and his major sponsor will be hard to say no to.

      Riding around with blow-up sex toys, kicking a female fan, encouraging his fans to boo his competitors, and now in bed with the Al Sauds is not a good look. I respect his record, but I guess I just don’t get the hero worship. I can’t imagine Surtees, Hailwood, Sheene, Roberts, Lawson, etc. engaged in any of the above.


  5. Allison Sullivan Says:

    LOL, last weekend was a good time. There will be some boys breathing a sigh of relief that they get a few weeks off to rest and regather.

    Fabio will be the champ this year. He needed a year of hard racing under his belt, he needed some setbacks to toughen him up mentally, he got both last year and it shows. He’s going to be the Marc Marquez of the next three seasons.

    Maverick – I’ll take “Things I Did Not See Coming”, thanks Alex. Pop Gun’s problem is that he’s looking for a hardware solution to what is totally a software problem. I guess having a family to support changes your perspective on a few things, but Aprilia? If he thinks he has bike problems now, he hasn’t see anything yet. His obvious replacement should be Frankie, although I’ve seen Raul Fernandez mentioned in passing. I think it’s more likely that both Petrucci and Lecuona get booted from Tech 3 and Fernandez and Remy get to bang fairings again in the major leagues next seasons. I’d love to think that Garrett Gerloff could get himself a ride next year, but I don’t think he’s shown enough to score the factory seat.

    Mr Bins seat is interesting. No doubt Mir will lead that team for the foreseeable future, but as to his deputy … if Frankie doesn’t get the Yamaha gig, then I’d put him in there. I think he’s lost a lot of patience with his treatment from Yamaha and would be happy to jump ship. If he does get the Yamaha ride, then that’s an interesting one. Most of the hard chargers in Moto2 are spoken for if Bezzecchi goes to Aramco next year, and Gardener and Fernandez go to Tech3. Out there guess – Joe Roberts.

    MIller and Bagnaia will stay, but Bagnaia will be the favored rider.

    Zarco and Martin are safe. Martin is one will will definitely benefit from some time off to rehab some more. He’ll come back strong in August.

    Taka gets Ai Ogura as a teammate in 2022.

    Enea Bastianini will make some noise next year. Dude has far more talent than he’s shown so far.

    Marc Marquez might not ever come back as the alien he was, but he’s mentally the strongest rider on that grid, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get himself back to form. The month off will do wonders for his fitness and strength. Dude’s literally a grizzly bear and will take off the head of anyone he needs to to win. 2022 and 2023 are going to be epic between him and El Diablo, They need to sort out the chassis on that Honda though … it might have been fine for a Marc at full fitness, not so much for one at 3/4. And also, Alberto Puig needs to STFU. Between him and Jorge Lorenzo, it’s hard to say who annoys me more.

    I can’t wait for the racing to start again. And please, Vale, officially announce your retirement so I can book a flight to Valencia for the damn party.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Old MOron Says:

    Oh Brucey, you’re so funny.

    “I want to talk about the rider lineup for 2022. Not 2023, not looking beyond the one year.”

    Exactly two sentences later, you jump straight to 2023:

    “Pol will have to show more next year than he has this year if he intends to keep that seat, as every team on the grid wants a shot at Pedro Acosta after next season, meaning the 17 year-old Moto3 phenom will be signed mid-2022.”

    Okay, let’s stick with 2022. Who the heck is going to partner Fabio at Factory Yamaha? Morbi is the obvious choice, but As Allison mentioned, a Moto2 hotshot could be more tempting. Another possibility would be to poach one of Ducati’s current rookies. Maybe the Bestia or Jorge Martin would want to try a sweet-handling Yamaha after wrestling old Ducatis in their rookie seasons.

    Pop Gun, this isn’t the first time he’s flown the coop. Remember Moto3 in 2012?
    I predict he’ll ride the Priller about as well as he rides the Yam – and about as consistently. He’ll probably be neck-and-neck with A.Esparg the whole season. I would laugh if Aleix outscores him.

    I’m very interested to see who will ride for VR46 next year.
    Probably Marini and the Beast, or maybe the Bezz.


    • Bruce Allen Says:

      This latest about Vinales joining Rossi’s VR46 team on Ducatis next year is fascinating. Sounds like Vinales knew Yamaha wouldn’t release him to go to Ducati, so he and Rossi worked a two-step, with the poor bastards at Noale sitting hoping he lives up to his word. I never thought Rossi had much respect for Vinales. Finding top rider is the only way The Prince will allow Rossi to retire after this season.


      • Old MOron Says:

        Yeah, crazy stuff. The whole two-step plan may have been an Arab plot!

        I’m interested in who will partner Fabio next year. Morbi is the obvious choice, but he has a contract with Petronas, and they may not want to release him.


  7. MotoGP: 2022 Rider Lineup SWAG - Project Biker Gear Says:

    […] Moto2, Moto3, MotoGP, Motorcycle Racing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own […]


  8. Old MOron Says:

    I see that Crutches will ride for Petronas while Morbi recovers from surgery. We used to have good fun taking the piss out of Cal. Maybe he’ll favour us with more anger and complaining.


  9. Prakasit Says:

    I hope MM93 will be dicing and slicing with them starting immediately after the break.
    If someone on here have a link to why Ducati can build a more powerful motor than the rest, please share.
    The only thing that I will feel slightly guilty about comes 2022 is hearing the name Aramco in MotoGP. Just reminds me of a certain prince that has escaped justice for murder.


  10. Dale Mensch Says:

    I thought MM93 would be right back in the thick of it sooner than he has shown. I’m pessimistic that a few weeks off is going to put him back to Jerez 2020 form?

    I believe Ducati’s (non) secret is the desmodromic valve actuation. Positive opening and closing means that they can pop them open and closed faster and with less friction than mere pneumatic “springs”.


  11. Buzz Says:

    Are you working on your Rossi retires commentary? I’ve got tickets for Austin and will breathe yellow smoke for the final time.


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