MotoGP has been absolutely cracking for a good few years now, despite a global pandemic doing it’s level best to put the kibosh on things. No, the level of competition has gone up and up, there’s a strength in depth that I can’t remember ever seeing in a MotoGP field, and every race is as unpredictable and as entertaining as the last. That said, there has been some stand-out performances. Stand-out performances from rookies and GP veterans alike. So choosing a MotoGP champ for 2022 isn’t going to be easy.
Or is it? Because if I’m being honest, if I was going to put any money on anyone taking the ’22 crown (and I may well put some money on it), I know exactly who it would be.
It wouldn’t be Fabio Quartararo, despite him winning the 2021 season with two rounds to spare. I wouldn’t be completely gobsmacked if he were to take a second title, but Quarter-pounder wasn’t anywhere near as strong in the second half of the season as he was in the first. And although he’s usually mega, mega fast, he can sometimes be a bit hit and miss. Especially if it rains.
I also don’t think Marc Marquez is going to take another MotoGP World Championship in 2022. He did show a few signs of brilliance in 2021 (Sachsenring, COTA, Misano 2) and if he could manage performances like that a bit more often, he’d have a good chance of taking the championship. But I don’t think ‘the old Marquez is back’ just yet. I don’t know whether that’s because he’s not back up to full fitness. Perhaps it’s because the rest of the field have upped their game. The end result is MM93 not being as dominant as he used to be. Not by a long shot.
Perhaps the 2020 champ, Joan Mir, will be chomping at the bit to strip the crown off Fabio’s head. I’m not convinced he’ll be able to do it though. Whilst the Suzuki riding Spaniard is always there or there abouts, he’s seldom the fastest man on Sunday. But then again, that’s how he won in 2020, wasn’t it? So you can never really rule him out completely.
Of course there is always the possibility that a rider like Jack Miller, Johan Zarco, Brad Binder, Miguel Oliveira or either of the Espargaros, could finally get their finger out after years of trying, and surprise us all. But whilst I could see any one of them winning a race or two, it would be a surprise if any of them won overall.
And you mustn’t forget there were some seriously impressive new kids on the block in ’21. Kids that have learnt the art of riding a MotoGP bike now and will no doubt be as fast as fudge in 2022. Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini had some seriously impressive rides at the end of this year; if they carry that on they could well be title contenders in 2022.
But I’m not putting my money on any of the rookies. Or any of the former MotoGP world champions. I think the rider that’s going to take the spoils in 2022 is the 2018 Moto2 world champ Pecco Bagnaia. His form at the close of the 2021 season was nothing short of incredible. Five podiums from six races, four of which were wins. He was on fire. And I see no reason why he won’t take that form into MotoGP 2022. He’ll be on one of the best bikes on the grid (certainly one of the fastest) and he knows exactly how to ride it.
Of course, my pre-season predictions don’t always age well, so who knows what will happen. Perhaps one of the 2022 rookies, like Remy Gardner or Darryn Binder will make me look stupid. Who knows? What I do know is this… I can’t wait for the season to start.
Who’s your money on?