Rider Market 2021 - MotoGP
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Rider Market 2021 - MotoGP

By FORMULAMotoGPMag - 17 July 2020

Author: Myanna Wedes

Honda, the name in the media and the team with making change, though not the kind of change you could have expected! The Japanese factory has decided on the following ride shuffles and signings for 2021:

  • Alex Marquez – LCR Honda 2021.
  • Pol Espargaro – Honda Factory 2021.
  • Cal Crutchlow – No longer a Honda rider for 2021. He has a chance to sign with Aprilia.

It is funny to think that before Alex Marquez even jumped on the factory bike, he was already demoted to the LCR Honda Team though excited at the same time. The move to sign and bring in Pol Espargaro is an interesting one considering he has been at KTM for the last four years.

Credit - KTM Images/Polarity Photo

"Honda Racing Corporation are pleased to announce the signing of Pol Espargaro," read the statement. "The former Moto2 World Champion will join the Repsol Honda Team on a two-year contract. He will join eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez aboard the Honda RC213V. Espargaro is one of the most experienced riders on the grid, having raced in the World Championship since 2006 and with 104 premier class Grands Prix contested."

The pressure will be on for the Spanish rider because his teammate and reigning World Champion Marquez owns that bike literally. The only Honda rider to be able to conquer the new Honda beast has been Marquez. He puts his body on the line, is super flexible, relies on the rear brake a lot more than most and is finding ways to re-define riding a MotoGP machine. To compete at his level, you have to be someone else and on a bike that isn’t a Honda! Ducati has had their chance in the past and dropped off, Yamaha is trying to conquer and come back strong. 2020 is going to be an interesting time for the MotoGP two wheel riders as less track time means a lot more stress to perform and who knows when COVID-19 could be a thing of the past because right now it is not going anywhere. Marquez is confident HRC have sorted out their aerodynamic issues and his shoulder is back to full fitness. If you think about it, the timing has certainly assisted Marquez to be at 100% fitness for the season. If we did not have COVID-19, Marquez would have arrived at probably 70% fitness.

Credit - Honda MotoGP Team

Alex Marquez: “I am very proud to announce my renewal with Honda Racing Corporation. HRC gave me the opportunity to race in MotoGP and I am glad to join the LCR Honda Team at the end of 2020 and compete in a big team with great experience in MotoGP. I want to thank HRC and the LCR Honda Team for their trust in me to be able to continue in the Honda family, and I will work hard to prove their confidence with results. Now, I am eager to start the season in Jerez and I am completely focused on giving my best this year.”

Lucio Cecchinello:“First and foremost I’d like to say that we are fully focused on the campaign ahead and look forward to a successful 2020. In Cal and Taka we have two fantastic riders who we believe in fully to shine in the shortened MotoGP season. We are delighted to welcome Alex Marquez into our team next season. Alex is a two-time World Champion, a truly exciting prospect, and we are very happy and definitely proud that HRC has assigned us the task of helping him take his next important steps in his MotoGP racing career. Over recent seasons LCR’s position as one of the leading independent teams in the MotoGP class has been confirmed with 12 podiums and three stunning victories for Cal Crutchlow. The team is excited about embarking on another project alongside Honda, and as ever we will do our very best to prepare someone who will undoubtedly be a star of MotoGP in the future.”

We definitely feel for Crutchlow who has put in the hard yards with the Honda brand. He worked to achieve success with the Honda outfit even when the bike wasn’t ideal for his riding style. We wish Crutchlow the best as he finds a ride and no doubt Dorna is helping to keep a British rider in the sport. With the first race of the season in Jerez to start this weekend, we will have a full pre-race report to entertain riders across the globe. Stay tuned for some important insight as to how the riders are looking for the first event of the year.

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