Roadracing round-up: Off-season moves

Cal Crutchlow may get into a few wildcard entries, but he's gone from LCR Honda and now has a test rider role with Yamaha. Photo: Facebook/Cal Crutchlow

MotoGP ended its 2020 campaign on Sunday. We already knew who the season’s champion rider was (Joan Mir sealed the deal a week earlier, at Valencia), but Ducati’s also put the final touches on its Constructors’ Championship win now.

Jack Miller finished second on his Pramac Ducati at the final round in Portugal (where Miguel Oliveira handily took the win!). Miller’s points, plus the totals from other Ducati riders, gave the marque its second crown as king of the MotoGP manufacturers. To be sure, Ducati had several things going for it this year, particularly Marc Marquez’s absence, but it’s still a proud accomplishment in view of what a messed-up year we had.

What next?

We’ve already got a tentative schedule for MotoGP, and there’s word we might see another round added soon. Supposedly, organizers are looking at adding a new Indonesian track. The facility is currently under construction, so a lot would have to happen between now and the race date, but who knows? Maybe we’ll see another Asian race added to the schedule. You can see the new 4.3-kilometer, 17-corner track below:Β 

If the new track makes it to the schedule, expect it later in the season. MotoGP plans to do its Asian/Australian visiting towards the end of 2021, no doubt hoping to avoid COVID drama.

Along with the final changes made to the schedule, we’re also seeing several riders change seats. Most significantly, Fabio Quartararo and Valentino Rossi are swapping seats. The Doctor is headed to Petronas Yamaha, and the young French rider is stepping into the Yamaha factory team. Cal Crutchlow is moving to Yamaha’s factory team, taking over Jorge Lorenzo’s role as a test rider. Alex Marquez drops down from Repsol Honda to take Crutchlow’s job with LCR Honda. Pol Espargaro gets his old job. Over at Ducati, Jack Miller now has Andrea Dovizioso’s spot on the factory team, while Dovi is apparently taking a year off racing.

You can check out all the tentative 2021 lineup here; there’s certainly been lots of seat-swapping, which will hopefully make for another unpredictable, enjoyable season of racing.

Finally, MotoGP has gone back to messing about with the rulebook. The stewards are allowing wildcard entries again in 2021 (banned in 2020, due to COVID-19). There’s a new penalty of two long laps for speeding in the pit lane, and some other tweaks to the regulations (see the rest listed here).

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