Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 184: Who Has The Most To Prove In 2021?

The latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast looks ahead to the challenges of 2021. Steve English, Neil Morrison, Adam Wheeler, and David Emmett discuss who has the most to prove in 2021, and what they have to do to live up to expectations.

There are plenty of candidates to choose from. In the light of the news that Brno would not be hosting MotoGP or WorldSBK, the crew discuss the challenges faced by the circuits, the promoters, and by Dorna, and how they will balance their interests to still put on a season of racing. They discuss whether Jack Miller or Fabio Quartararo has the most to prove in moving to a factory team, they talk about what Yamaha, and especially Lin Jarvis, have to prove, after years of not winning a championship.

The crew also take a look at Maverick Viñales, and what to expect from him, and then debate whether expectations are heavier on the Aruba Ducati team in WorldSBK, or on lead rider Scott Redding. And no discussion of WorldSBK is complete without a look at what to expect of Jonathan Rea.

They go on to answer a few questions from Paddock Pass Podcast patrons, including which manufacturer they believe belongs in MotoGP, which team or rider doesn't belong in MotoGP (or doesn't deserve to any more), and whether motorcycle racing needs a women-only series like the W Series in car racing.

If you don't want to miss out on these episodes as they are released, make sure you follow The Paddock Pass Podcast on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Soundcloud we even have an RSS feed for you. If you do use Apple Podcasts, please rate the show and leave a review, as this helps other MotoGP fans find it. We now also have a Patreon, where you can support the show financially, and get access to exclusive content, such as rider interviews, debriefs, and more. Enjoy the show!

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David, wonderful to hear you back mate. Enjoyed everyone's rapport, humor and insight.

The vaccine rollout brings a new horizon. I think things are pivoting quickly. Interesting add re the Thai round, execs at the Circuit just staid that “There was a misunderstanding. Actually, the government was announcing the postponement of 2020's race and to host in 2021 instead. We still carry on and look forward to hosting the Thai GP at our circuit this coming October.” Huh! Perhaps not inked.

Yamaha has much to prove. More than any of their riders.

Riders? Rossi has little to prove on track, he has a great record established. His next VR46 transition upcoming is the next proving ground. And it looks great, doesn't it? See "what Yamaha has to prove."

Bagnaia has much to prove. Perhaps the most. 

Vinales "winner and mid pack Mr YoYo" is second, he may have the most to prove of all. Again, intertwined with the Yamaha. 

Rins "starts hot, plops alot" has something to prove. Don't count him out as a 2021 Champ.

Quartararo needs to get back on track. Note the Yamaha theme here, and that before we grill their riders we ought to eye the bike recipe. Factory Yamaha expects that one of their riders is winning. If they turn their eyes closer in to their engine, that would be welcome.

Brad Binder has a lot of expectation. I bet he does GREAT. And that Orange is pleased. But the eyes are on BB33 right now. 

Marc Marquez's upper arm has much to prove. Enough said.

Iker and Petrucci have some pressure to perform or get bumped. KTM won't keep their poorest performer long.

Jack is fine, he has been solid. Ducati riders face the Darwin grinder more than any others. 2022 is when Ducati demands that their riders take the next step. Miller continuing as he has will do the job.

Lastly, don't forget the obvious pressure cooker Smith and Savadori face right now. That is a do or die before our early silly season. Both are hanging on by a thread. Who doesn't deserve their seats? These two. Followed by Bagnaia should he not come good a step soon. 

What Manu would we like to see make an entry in MotoGP? Harsh odd answer, Aprilia. You are off the back. You know what to do.

Addendum, looks like Smith has jumped ship. Savadori had the nod and is left to pick up the pieces at Aprilia, who still need to add a rider to their lineup and sort which goes to Test. 

Good to hear your voice David, better performance this time.

Where to start, there is a lot to cover, despite no racing yet.

Circuit and promoter viability. No fans, reduced income/ cashflow. High costs. I'm not much of a business man and wiser heads than me find it tough to make a buck. Circuits do fold. The real estate can be worth a lot more than the racing, track day and training enterprises. When it comes time to resurface it can be much easier to sell up, cash in and move out.

Television, maybe the tracks need more of those TV dollars? Lower Dorna fees while the fans are on hold?

Something to prove? Jack Miller is living in interesting times. Dovizioso finished second in the championship three years in a row and got the sack from Ducati. What will J.M 43 have to do to make Gigi happy? If second ain't good enough and Marc Marquez is coming back then it will be difficult. Ducati dysfunctional family. When Yamaha made a mistake the big bosses formally apologized to the team & the riders.

When Ducati gets negative feedback they shoot the messenger!

Aprilia: Jesus wept! The engine should be better in 2021. Will it be as good as the Suzuki or Yamaha  engine? Bloody better be or why bother? 50 million Euros a year to look slow.

Suzuki will do OK this time around. Win the championship I doubt it. Last time Suzuki won two back to back was Barry Sheene. Rather Lucchinelli and another non factory Suzuki rider in the early eighties.

More to ponder in the podcast & Motoshrink's comments. Later.

Manufacturers or names I'd like to see back in the (Continental) circus. Moto Guzzi, Gilera, Benelli and Norton.

Ducati, Vespa and Royal Enfield in Moto2.

"Ducati would have won World Championships with Dovi except for Marc Marquez." I don't know if Ducati upper management look at things from this perspective?  
Dovi has also been asking them to fix the bikes turning capability, it seems like...forever.
And last year with the new Michelin rear, Dovi was unfortunately at sea, a factor leading him to stop racing, at least in MotoGP. Who knows, if they had made the bike's turning ability more user-friendly prior to this, maybe it (the rear tire change)  wouldn't have turned out to be such an issue? Speculation on my part.

I was kind of surprised that more attention wasn't paid to FQ20 in the podcast. It seemed like he was the "heir apparent" with MM93 out for the season. It started swimmingly for him in Jerez, but then his performances seemed to tail off.

He will be under even more pressure to perform in the factory Yamaha squad. Was it the 2020 machine or is it FQ20? (He was my pick for a strong World Title challenge in 2020).
Maverick Viñales? Pfft. As enigmatic as ever. If he could find some consistency, he'd walk away with a WC.