Moto GP 2022 season is set to begin at the Losail International track
(Motorsports news) MotoGP 2022 season is set to kick off on 6 March in the Losail International Circuit in Qatar and this season guarantees to be one of the most interesting and most open seasons ever. 2021 saw every manufacturer take home a podium and which meant that it was the closest top-15 finish of all time. More records were broken, new winners emerged, and a few pieces of history were created when France got its first premier class World Champion. We bid adieu to the greatest bike racer of all time in Valentino Rossi but that's already a chapter in the history books and now we're about to uncover the mysteries of 2022 and welcome the new gen in MotoGP.
Yamaha's Fabio Quartararo is set out to retain his World Championship after he became the first Frenchman to win the MotoGP title last season. If Quartararo can manage to defend his crown then he will become the second-youngest rider after Marc Marquez to win consecutive World Championships but heading into the new season, the 22-year-old has voiced his displeasure with the top speed of his Yamaha bike in pre-season testing, the defending world champion is adamant he will fight and give his best to compete against his main rivals.
His main threat will be Marc Marquez who after two injury-plagued years, will finally return to his full fitness as he bids to create history by joining the great Valentino Rossi on nine MotoGP titles. Marquez suffered a horrific fractured arm which he sustained in a 2020 Jerez crash and it had ruled him out of action for 12 months, before a training incident towards the end of 2021 saw him diagnosed with diplopia (severe double vision). After 265 days out of action due to the arm fracture, Marquez returned to race action in April 2021 and the Spaniard has since shown glimpses of his usual best, he didn’t really put serve pressure on his shoulder but still managed to win two races. An earlier indication is that he is back and back with vengeance to regain his World Championship crown.
Pecco Bagnaia ended the 2021 season with three consecutive victories and helped his team Ducati win the constructors championship also. He will hope that he can replicate his end season form this year and hope to become the first Italian after the great Valentino Rossi to become a Premier Class Winner in MotoGP. Last year, Bagnaia finished runner up in the riders Championship in 2021 with nine podiums and four wins to his name. The Italian will be looking to carry across his incredible form from the end of 2021 into 2022 for a title charge.
Quartararo: “Well it will make life more difficult but for the show and everyone it will be nice to not have that big difference. I remember maybe 10 years ago we had a few riders and then the rest, but now basically everything is so tight and the level of riders is really high. Now I think it’s the closest ever and it will be fun.”
Bagnaia: “It’s something good for the show, but I think years ago, the way of working was different. Now you have to do the time attack. I was feeling years ago, I was doing the time attack my first year in MotoGP and with the lap time I did in 2020 I was fifth, and this year like 17th; a big difference. I think it’s the way to work on the test.”
Marc Marquez: “Of course as you say in the test it was very close but it’s not the first year that in the test it was very close. Let’s see during the first four or five races we will understand who the top guys are. Anyway it will be interesting to have equal bikes, equal level between the riders and this makes everything more interesting.”
MotoGP 2022 rider and team full line-up:
- Aprilia Racing
#12 Maverick Vinales
#41 Aleix Espargaro
- Ducati Lenovo Team
#43 Jack Miller
#63 Francesco Bagnaia
- Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati
#23 Enea Bastianini
#49 Fabio Di Giannantonio
- Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati
#10 Luca Marini
#72 Marco Bezzecchi
- Pramac Racing Ducati
#5 Johann Zarco
#89 Jorge Martin
- LCR Honda
#30 Takaaki Nakagami
#73 Alex Marquez
- Repsol Honda Team
#44 Pol Espargaro
#93 Marc Marquez
- Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
#33 Brad Binder
#88 Miguel Oliveira
- Tech3 KTM Factory Racing
#25 Raul Fernandez
#87 Remy Gardner
- Team Suzuki Ecstar
#36 Joan Mir
#42 Alex Rins
- Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP
#20 Fabio Quartararo
#21 Franco Morbidelli
- WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team
#04 Andrea Dovizioso
#40 Darryn Binder
Full 2022 MotoGP calendar:
6 March - Qatar, Losail
20 March – Indonesia, Mandalika
3 April – Argentina, Termas de Rio Hondo
10 April – USA, Circuit of the Americas
24 April – Portugal - Portimao
1 May – Spain, Jerez
15 May – France, Le Mans
29 May – Italy, Mugello
5 June – Catalunya, Barcelona
19 June – Germany, Sachsenring
26 June – Netherlands, Assen
10 July – Finland, KymiRing
7 August – Great Britain, Silverstone
21 August – Austria, Red Bull Ring
4 September – San Marino, Misano
18 September – Aragon
25 September – Japan, Motegi
2 October – Thailand, Buriram
16 October – Australia, Phillip Island
23 October – Malaysia, Sepang
6 November - Valencia, Ricardo Tormo
Lewis Hamilton wins Qatar GP and reduces Verstappen’s lead to eight points
(Motorsport) Having already won the Brazilian GP, seven time World Champion Lewis Hamilton also secured first place at the inaugural Qatar GP at the Losail International Circuit, thereby ensuring that the title race is well and truly alive by reducing the points gap from Verstappen to eight. The British racing driver had a dominant weekend throughout and his victory was all but guaranteed when Verstappen incurred a five place grid penalty for a yellow flag infringement during qualifications. With just two races to go in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, the title race can go right down to the wire but the momentum is with Hamilton who has the experience and form to become the first driver to win eight World Championships, breaking Michael Schumacher’s record.
Despite incurring a five place grid penalty less than two hours before lights out, Max Verstappen had a damage control strategy and recovered his grid position of 2nd place in the first five laps. However, Lewis Hamilton was simply too fast and efficient for the Dutchman who was forced to settle for the fastest lap point. Both Red Bull and Verstappen will be extremely concerned with such a dramatic change in fortunes as they were 21 points ahead of Hamilton and Mercedes in the Drivers Standings eight days ago and that lead has been reduced to eight points at such a crucial juncture. They will look to make amends at the Saudi GP on December 5th and Abu Dhabi GP on December 12th as 52 points are still up for grabs.
The battle was not just fought for the first two positions in Qatar as the final position was being contested by the second cars of Mercedes, Red Bull and also surprisingly Alonso’s Alpine. Bottas had a bad start to his race, having already incurred a three place grid penalty for not slowing down on yellow during Q3 of qualification and despite making up the grid positions, the Finn’s Mercedes was then subjected to a punctured tyre and was eventually forced to retire due to car damage, a costly DNF for Mercedes as they hope to retain the Constructors Championship.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez adopted a two-stop strategy but was simply out of laps in the end to catch up with Alonso who adopted a one-stop strategy. The Spaniard had a bit of luck on his side as he originally qualified in 5th position but penalties to Verstappen and Bottas meant he began the race in third position and was briefly second after overtaking Pierre Gasly. This was Alonso’s 98th podium finish, his first since 2014 when he raced for Ferrari and the 40 year old had much to celebrate about as his team mate Esteban Ocon finished 5th, giving Alpine a major boost in the Constructors Standings, especially considering that Alpha Tauri failed to score any points.
Formula 1’s next race will be held in Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday, 5th December at 11 pm IST.
Tensions rise with three races to go starting with Qatar’s inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix
(Motorsport) On the outskirts of Doha, the Losail International Circuit will be the venue for a Formula 1 weekend for the first time ever as the 2021 season concludes in the Middle East over the next four weeks. The title race became much more interesting at the Sao Paulo GP last week when Lewis Hamilton finished first despite being disqualified in the qualification and incurring a five place grid penalty for an engine change.
The gap between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton has been reduced to 14 points but the real gap was there for all to see in Brazil as the seven time World Champion finished over 10 seconds faster than the Dutch racing driver, an indication of what’s to come in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Things are looking even better for Mercedes in the Constructors Championship as the Silver Arrows are 11 points ahead of Red Bull after the events in Brazil and there is definitely tension between the two camps in one of the closest title races in the last few years.
Despite there being no possibility of the championship being won in Qatar, there are many points up for grab, 25 to be exact for a race win and 1 point for the fastest lap which means that if Verstappen wins the Qatar GP, the Dutchman can then afford to finish second in the final two races and still win the World Championship for the first time in his career. However, both Red Bull and Verstappen will undoubtedly be wary of Mercedes’ pace at the 5.4 km Losail International Circuit which is regarded as a fast and flowing track with medium and high-speed corners.
Heading into the weekend, Verstappen said “We still have a good points lead, it was damage limitation on a weekend where it was a bit difficult for us, but I'm confident we will bounce back. It [the title race] has been like this the whole year. It went up, came down, went behind, I'm back in front, so a lot of things can still happen." In other rivalries on the grid, Ferrari are currently in third place at the Constructors Standings with 287.5 points while McLaren have 256 points. The Italian team will hope that both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz outperform Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo in Qatar to ensure the most successful team in F1 history finish higher than their British counterparts this season.
Formula 1 calendar adds the Qatar Grand Prix with a 10 year agreement in place
(Motorsport news) The maiden Qatar Grand Prix is set to take place on November 21st at the Losail International Circuit and the country will now have a permanent place in the Formula 1 calendar from 2023.
With the Formula 1 season heating up as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s pursuit for the Drivers Championship becomes more intense than ever before, Doha will be the venue which will fill the spot vacant after the Australian Grand Prix’s cancellation and is first of the three venues in the Middle East to finish the season. The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will take place on December 3rd and 10th respectively.
Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali had this to say upon the confirmation of a 10 year agreement “We are very pleased to welcome Qatar to the Formula 1 calendar this season and for the longer term from 2023. We have shown that we can continue to adapt and there is huge interest in our sport and the hope from many locations to have a Grand Prix. The huge effort from all the teams, F1 and the FIA has made it possible to deliver a 22-race calendar, something that is very impressive during a challenging year and something we can all be proud of."
The country has a longstanding history of hosting MotoGP, being an integral part of their calendar since 2004. Qatar will also be hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022, a year before the 10 year agreement will begin with Formula 1. A statement from Formula 1 said “There was a strong will from Qatar to be helpful to F1, and in the course of this process, the vision for a longer partnership was discussed and agreed for 10 years.
"The step from the gesture to be helpful to F1 in 2021 to a long term strategy was short and simple and the vision for F1 to be the showcase for Qatar after the FIFA World Cup in 2022 was the driving force behind this long term agreement. As part of the longer-term deal, discussions will continue regarding the location for the Grand Prix from 2023 with further details to be provided at a later time."