Short Shift News’ Big Bike Chat: MotoGP riders take to Portimao and the Marquez name back on the box
It’s been another busy week on the motorcycle racing scene, catch up with all the biggest news and gossip stories from the week.
• MotoGP got their first taste of the Portimao circuit last week, with all but two riders taking to modified stock machines to familiarise themselves with the 2.9-mile newly-resurfaced Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, with many riders praising the circuit and its new tarmac.
• MotoGP saw its seventh different race winner at the weekend as Danilo Petrucci delivered Ducati their second win of the season in a rain-affected Le Mans Grand Prix, his first in red since Mugello last season.
• The Marquez name is back at the front of a MotoGP result sheet. The younger Marquez brother rode valiantly through the pack to finish second after starting the slippy French Grand Prix from 19th.
• Championship contenders Fabio Quartararo and Joan Mir both limited the damage as their French Grand Prix podium assaults were halted following the downpour five minutes before lights out.
• Valentino Rossi crashed out of the third consecutive Grand Prix for the first time in his MotoGP career. The Doctor suffered three DNFs in a row in the 2019 season, however, his third at Catalunya was caused by Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi is well on track for equalling his 2019 DNFs, crashing out of five Grands Prix, and has matched his 2016 run of form which saw The Doctor crash out of three races and was forced into retirement when his engine let go in Mugello.
• Marc Marquez will not return to MotoGP action this weekend as once rumoured.
• Joe Roberts will leave the American Racing Team to replace Enea Bastianini, while Moto3 front runner, Albert Arenas will join Aron Canet in the Aspar Moto2 team.
• The World Superbike Championship returns this weekend for their final round of the season, with Jonathan Rea, who is on the cusp of breaking 100 WorldSBK wins, going head to head with former MotoGP rider and BSB champion Scott Redding.
• Leading up to the Portuguese Grand Prix, Yamaha announced Andrea Locatelli would join PATA Yamaha team-mate Toprak Razgatlioglu for the 2021 season, while Garrett Gerloff and Kohta Nozane will form the GRT team, meaning Federico Caricasulo is out of a ride.
• Lucas Mahias has been announced as Xavi Fores’ replacement at the Puccetti Racing Kawasaki squad for 2021.
• Matteo Ferrari will race a Ducati Panigale V4 for Barni Racing in the final WorldSBK event of the season in Portugal this weekend.
• Leon Haslam will remain with the Honda team for next season partnering Alvaro Bautista for a second season.
• Chaz Davies has been axed from Ducati’s World Superbike line-up after the Bologna manufacturer announced Michael Ruben Rinaldi alongside Redding.
• The BSB championship reaches its climax this weekend as the series heads to Brands Hatch with five riders all within a chance of becoming 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Champions.
• Peter Hickman has confirmed that he has secured a seat for the 2021 BSB season, though it is not announced with who.
• Australian World Supersport rider, Lachlan Epis will make his BSB debut this weekend as he joins the NP Motorcycle/Lextek BMW team.
• Bjorn Estment, who was formally riding for the NP Motorcycle team, will join Powerslide Motorcycles for the season finale at Brands Hatch aboard a Suzuki GSX-R1000R.
• Cameron Beaubier secured his fifth MotoAmerica title at the weekend, despite not taking a single victory at the Brickyard.
• Lorenzo Zanetti ended Ducati’s draught of American wins, taking his V4 R to the top spot in Indianapolis.