A shock announcement ahead of the summer break leaves more questions than answers about the 2022 MotoGP™ grid
After the shock announcement that Maverick Viñales and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP will be parting ways at the end of the season, one year into a two-year contract, the 2022 silly season has really taken a step up.
So, how is the 2022 MotoGP™ shaping up after the recent news? Let’s have a look.
Done deals for 2022 (and in some cases, beyond) ahead of the 2021 season:
The following teams had already cemented their rider line-ups for next season before the 2021 season got underway. In brackets is the year in which the riders’ contract runs out.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP: Fabio Quartararo (2022)
Repsol Honda Team: Marc Marquez (2024), Pol Espargaro (2022)
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Team Suzuki Ecstar: Joan Mir (2022), Alex Rins (2022)
LCR Honda Castrol/Idemitsu: Alex Marquez (2022), Takaaki Nakagami (2022)
Petronas Yamaha SRT: Franco Morbidelli (2022)
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini: Aleix Espargaro (2022)
Ducati (team not specified): Francesco Bagnaia (2022)
Deals for 2022 and beyond signed during the season so far:
Ducati Lenovo Team: Jack Miller (2022), Francesco Bagnaia (2022)
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing: Brad Binder (2024)
Tech3 KTM Factory Racing: Remy Gardner (2022)
Pramac Racing: Johann Zarco (2022), Jorge Martin (2022)
Gresini Racing: Enea Bastianini (2022) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (2022)
Aramco Racing Team VR46: riders TBC
What we’re yet to find out:
Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) is still yet to confirm what he's doing at the end of the season. If the nine-time World Champion announces his retirement, then there’s a seat to be filled at Petronas Yamaha SRT. If The Doctor and the Petronas team decide to continue together into next season, then that seat is of course taken. All roads point towards us finding out what Rossi’s future holds around the summer break, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
We also don’t know who Aleix Espargaro’s 2022 teammate will be in the factory Aprilia ranks. The deafening rumours at Assen were that Viñales is now in pole position to partner Aleix Espargaro in 2022, after his Yamaha exit. Elsewhere, Current rider Lorenzo Savadori will be in the mix, but so is test rider Andrea Dovizioso. The Aprilia seat is an incredibly hot topic, with Dovizioso and his management making it clear that their goal was to try and return to racing in 2022, and the Noale factory is the most likely destination. It shouldn’t be too long before we know who Espargaro’s Aprilia teammate is in 2022.
With Viñales leaving, there is now a vacant factory Yamaha spot too. Who gets that seat is up for speculation, but if Rossi’s decision is to not continue riding, then there’s plenty to sort out at Yamaha over the next few weeks. It's certainly worth watching this space.
Elsewhere, Tech3 KTM Factory Racing only have one rider signed up. Moto2™ rookie sensation Raul Fernandez is part of the deep Red Bull KTM talent pool and has shown talent, speed and maturity in abundance so far in 2021. But does KTM want the Spaniard in MotoGP™ this soon? That’s the question only KTM know the answer to at the minute. If Raul Fernandez and KTM – assuming no other factory can sign Raul Fernandez for 2022 – choose to stay in Moto2™ for another season, then Danilo Petrucci or Iker Lecuona will almost certainly remain at KTM.
One thing to also note is Miguel Oliveira confirming he has a contract with KTM next year in the Catalan GP post-race Press Conference. There’s been no official confirmation, but Oliveira stating this is about as official as it gets, so it will be Binder and the Portuguese star lining up in factory KTM colours again next season.
So, to make things a little clearer, here’s the seats that are yet to be confirmed for 2022:
- Petronas Yamaha SRT x1
- Tech3 KTM Factory Racing x1
- Factory Aprilia x1
- Aramco Racing Team VR46 x2
- Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP x1