Miguel Oliveira won the final MotoGP race last year in Portugal ahead of Jack Miller and Franco Morbidelli, which was the first podium with three Independent Team riders since Qatar back in 2004 with Sete Gibernau, Colin Edwards and Ruben Xaus. This was Oliveira’s 14th win with KTM in GP racing, two less than his new team-mate Brad Binder, who is the most successful rider with the Austrian manufacturer.
Nine of the riders on the full-time MotoGP entry list have previously won Grand Prix races at the Losail circuit.
15 different riders have finished on the podium in Qatar in the MotoGP class since the very first race at the track. Only three of them are on the full-time entry list in 2021: Valentino Rossi (10 podiums), Marc Marquez (5) and Maverick Viñales (1).
2021 is Valentino Rossi’s 26th successive year as a Grand Prix rider. During this lengthy GP career, he has only missed seven races: after breaking his leg at Mugello in 2010, after a training accident in 2017 and due to illness last year.
Only one of the four rookies in MotoGP this year has previously won in Qatar in any of the smaller classes: Jorge Martin won the Moto3 race in 2018 on his way to clinching the title. However, Enea Bastianini (second in Moto3 in 2015 and third in Moto2 in 2020) has previously finished on the podium at the track.
At the Qatar GP, Jack Miller is scheduled to make his 100th premier class Grand Prix start since he stepped up to the class in 2015, becoming the fifth Australian rider to reach that milestone along with Jack Findlay, Mick Doohan, Casey Stoner and Wayne Gardner.
“Finally, we are back in action for the first Grand Prix of 2021 this weekend. The official Qatar Test had been really positive, and I have never felt so comfortable on the bike before starting the Championship as this year. My feeling with the Desmosedici is great, and also, our speed is not that bad. I hope we will find good track conditions all weekend to prepare ourselves well for both races that we will have here in Losail. For sure, also our rivals will be really competitive here, but I am determined to start the new season on a high, fighting for the top podium as I did at the end of last year”.
Alex Marquez is scheduled to make the 150th start of his Grand Prix career this weekend, while Jorge Martin is scheduled to make his 100th GP start.
MotoGP in Qatar
This will be the 18th occasion that a Grand Prix has been held at Losail International Circuit and the 14th under floodlights. This will be the 15th successive year that the track has hosted the season opener, although in 2020, only Moto2 and Moto3 races were held as the MotoGP race was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Qatar is the seventh different Asian country to host a Grand Prix (all solo classes) along with Thailand, Turkey, Japan, Malaysia, China and Indonesia. Losail is the 11th different circuit that has been used for Grand Prix racing in Asia. The other circuits that have been used in Asia are: Motegi (63 Grand Prix races), Sepang (62), Suzuka (56), Shah Alam (21), Shanghai (12), Istanbul Park (9), Fisco/Fuji (8), Sentul (6), Buriram (6) and Johor (3).
Yamaha is the most successful manufacturer in Qatar with eight MotoGP wins, with three different riders: Valentino Rossi (2005, 2006, 2010, 2015), Jorge Lorenzo (2012, 2013, 2016) and Maverick Viñales (2017).
Ducati have five MotoGP wins here with two riders: Casey Stoner (2007, 2008, 2009) and Andrea Dovizioso (2018, 2019). Losail is Ducati’s most successful premier class track, along with Sepang, Austria and Motegi.
Honda have three MotoGP wins in Qatar, the most recent of which was Marc Marquez in 2014 from pole. Since he stepped up to the premier class, Marquez has always been the first Honda in the MotoGP race.
Suzuki’s best MotoGP result in Qatar: fourth with John Hopkins in 2007 and Alex Rins in 2019. Reigning Champion Joan Mir has raced only once in the class in Qatar, taking eighth in 2019 as the highest-placed rookie.
Aleix Espargaro’s P6 in Qatar in 2017 equalled Aprilia’s best MotoGP result achieved by Colin Edwards at Suzuka in 2003. Espargaro equalled it in Aragon in 2017 and 2018, as did Andrea Iannone in Australia in 2019.
KTM made their full-time debut in MotoGP in Qatar in 2017. The best result for the Austrian manufacturer at this track in the class is Pol Espargaro’s 12th place in 2019. Along with Johann Zarco in 15th, that was also the only time so far that KTM riders scored points in Qatar.
The MotoGP race in Qatar has only been won four times by a rider who has not qualified on the front row: Valentino Rossi (2006, 2015), Casey Stoner (2008) and Andrea Dovizioso (2018).
The top 15 in the MotoGP race in Qatar in 2019 is the closest ever in the premier class. There were 15.093 seconds between Andrea Dovizioso and Johann Zarco.
12 World Champions in MotoGP
MotoGP grid: 22 riders with four rookies (Enea Bastianini, Luca Marini, Jorge Martin and Lorenzo Savadori).
12 World Champions, equalling the record set in 2015, 2018 and last year. 30 GP World Championships between them, which is one more than last year. Record: 32 (2018).
11 riders on the full-time MotoGP entry list have won premier class races (two more than 2020) and they have 169 wins between them.
19 riders have victories in at least one Grand Prix class (one less than last year), with a total of 379 in Grand Prix victories of 379 (395 in 2020).
Two rookies are GP winners and World Champions: Enea Bastianini (six wins and 2020 Moto2 World Champion) and Jorge Martin (10 wins and 2018 Moto3 World Champion). Luca Marini has six GP wins, all in Moto2, and Lorenzo Savadori won the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup in 2015.
Oldest: Valentino Rossi, 42 years 40 days old on race day at the Qatar GP.
Youngest: Iker Lecuona, 21 years 81 days old on race day at the Qatar GP. Eight of the riders in the full-time MotoGP entry have been born after Valentino Rossi made his GP debut in 125cc in Malaysia back in 1996.
Remy Gardner wins for the first time
At Portimão last year, Remy Gardner won for the first time on what was his 96th Grand Prix start, becoming the second Australian to win in Moto2, along with Anthony West in Assen in 2014, and the 20th different Australian to win in GP racing.
With his win, Remy Gardner became the 26th different winners across all GP classes in the 2020 season, beating the record set in 2016 with 25 winners.
Remy Gardner’s win came 28 years 112 days after his father Wayne’s last GP win at the British GP at Donington Park in 1992, making them one of the eight father and son winners in Grand Prix racing history:
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