The MotoGP season is edging closer and closer, with bikes already on track for FP1 earlier today, in this preview, we look at Yamaha.
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There is no doubt all eyes will be on Yamaha in 2021, the Japanese manufacturer have failed to take the fight to the front in recent years and with a change to its rider line-up this year, they look very exciting.
In the past few seasons, the Yamaha squad have looked to be a championship contender at the beginning of the year, but as the races go on, the bike seems to drop down the grid. In order to fight for both the Teams’ and Riders’ Title, they need to be consistent all year long.
As part of this aim to return to the front, Yamaha have taken on young star Fabio Quartararo, who was a real contender at the front last year on the Sepang Racing Yamaha. With a fully-fledged factory Yamaha by his side, who’s to say he can’t be fighting at the front again this year?
In the other side of the garage is the now highly experienced Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales. Entering his fifth season with the Yamaha team, the 26-year-old has consistently looked to be strong at the beginning of the year but can’t carry that form on throughout.
I believe Vinales will feel pressured with the arrival of Quartararo, who, if the Frenchman can get the bike hooked up, may soon be the top-dog at the Japanese team.
2021 will be an important year for Yamaha, both as a whole and in terms of its riders. The bike needs to be up to scratch in comparison with its rivals from the get-go. Vinales needs to show the world he can be World Champion this year, the Spaniard no doubt has the talent, he just needs to unlock that potential.
Yamaha arrives in 2021, hoping to put last year’s controversy behind them. The engine drama of 2020 almost certainly cost the Japanese team the Constructors’ Title as the team were docked points for their mistake.
The other significant change at Yamaha is that Valentino Rossi is no longer riding for the team. The team must emerge from the shadow of the GOAT to compete for the World Championships. Top Gun Vinales needs to break the glass ceiling finally. The world knows how fast he is, yet his consistency is still not there.
One is continuously left wanting more from Vinales as there is a world champion within him; he must embrace the team’s senior rider role this year.
If the Spaniard fails to take flight, Rossi’s replacement will. The exciting Frenchman Quartararo won’t hesitate to announce himself. The 21-year-old showed last year that he is a front-runner, that he can win races and contend for championships.
The inter-team dynamic between these two riders will fascinate fans throughout the season.
Yamaha are MotoGP stalwarts; the team is always strong. If the bike is quick like it was last year, there could be fireworks. Vinales needs to show who’s boss, while Quartararo gets a shot to upstage him on a full-fat factory bike. Even with The Doctor gone, Yamaha will still be a force.