What the 2021 MotoGP grid is likely to look like

Going fast in circles again is – at long last – just around the corner; the first MotoGP race of 2020 is scheduled for Sunday 19th July at Jerez. Welcome news indeed, but this season’s going to be a bit weird for myriad reasons, which we could write an entire article about. Maybe we will. But we’re here to talk about 2021’s season… before 2020’s has even turned a wheel.

News in the last few days is that Pol Espargaro has signed signed for HRC, and that means Alex Marquez is not even going to get a full season alongside his brother. Make of that what you will, but our theory is Pol’s style, and his ability to land KTM RC16’s a good few places ahead of its rightful rank, will serve him extremely well on the RC213V. Expect an announcement in September.

With Jack Miller finally signing for the factory Ducati team, Danilo Petrucci will move to KTM Tech 3 alongside Iker Lecuona. We feel for Danilo, that must be a tough pill to swallow.

Alex Marquez will find a natural home at LCR Honda with Taka Nakagami, which likely means Cal Crutchlow will be looking for a seat… or retiring. We don’t think the Coventry lad’s quite done yet; he’ll join Aprilia to sit alongside Aleix Espargaro since Andrea Iannone will be too busy getting more surgery or something won’t be riding any time soon.

Dovizioso has undergone untimely surgery after a motocross training accident, and Ducati says he will be recovered (enough) in time to compete for Jerez. His future was enough of an unknown before his accident, but we think this has only accelerated his retirement, which will come at the end of this 2020 season.

We don’t need to talk too much about Maverick Vinales, Fabio Quartararo, Valentino Rossi or Franco Morbidelli. As we’ve known for some time now, the Yamaha garages are settled…. Vinales and Quartararo will occupy the factory garage, and Rossi won’t retire; he’ll do 2 years at Petronas with his buddy Morbidelli. And then he’ll retire (and end up running MotoGP). No brainer.

There’ll be no change in the Suzuki garage: Alex Rins and Joan Mir.

The genuine nice-guy Miguel Olivera and looney South African Brad Binder form Mattighofen’s factory line-up at KTM. Fun fact? KTM’s team is the most diverse: Portugese, South African, Spainish and Italian.

And that leaves us just the two Ducati satellite teams to go: Pramac and Avintia. Ruben Xaus’s campaign will come in the form of Pecco Bagnia and Tito Rabat… and Pramac will field Jorge Martin and, uh, well, we don’t know… Johann Zarco? Could Mir be poached?

Anyway, to recap (bold means confirmed)…

Aprilia: Aleix and Crutchlow
Ducati: Miller and Zarco
Honda: Marc and Pol
KTM: Binder and Olivera
Suzuki: Rins and Mir
Yamaha: Quartararo and Vinales

Avintia Ducati: Bagnaia and Rabat
LCR Honda: Alex and Nakagami
Petronas Yamaha: Rossi and Morbidelli
Pramac Ducati: Martin and ?
Tech3 KTM: Lecuona and Petrucci

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This article was updated 16/8 to reflect more rider confirations

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