Ahoy, race fans! The roadracing scene is gearing up for the 2021 season, with MotoGP testing underway at Qatar this weekend. Here’s what’s going on in the go-fast world.
Updated WSB calendar
Racing series with international schedules are all trying to figure out what they can and can’t do this season. Cross-border travel is hampered because of the COVID-19 pandemic, even with vaccines rolling out worldwide. As such, Dorna’s planned schedules are still very much up in the air.
World Superbike has updated its 2021 schedule, which still reflects that uncertainty. See the proposed schedule below:
2021 World Superbike
May 21-23: Spain/Aragon
June 11-13: Italy/Misano
July 2-4: UK/Donington Park
July 23-25: The Netherlands/Assen
August 20-22: Spain/Navarra
September 3-5: France/Magny-Cours
September 17-19: Spain/Catalunya
September 24-26: Spain/Jerez
October 1-2: Portugal/Algarve
October 15-17: Argentina/San Juan
November 12-14: Indonesia/Mandalika
Australia/Phillip Island, Portugal/Estroril TBA
Hungary to join GP series?
The Hungarians want back in. Years ago, Hungary hosted MotoGP races at Hungaroring Circuit, in 1990 and 1992. The series was supposed to return to the country in 2010, at a new track, but that project turned out to be a disaster, and MotoGP’s steered clear since.
Now, Hungary says it’s going to break ground on a new track later this year, with plans to rejoin the MotoGP series in 2023. MotoGP and Hungarian officials have inked an agreement to this end. The track will be at Debrecen, the second-largest city in Hungary.
With overseas travel a mess in 2021, it’s possible MotoGP organizers think it’s a good long-term idea to add more races on the European continent, in case we’re confronted by similar issues again. Hungary’s history of hosting MotoGP races isn’t very good, but perhaps now’s the time to make it all good.
Daytona 200 this weekend
The Daytona 200 is back this weekend (March 13). Sadly, no Canadians appear to be headed south for the race this year, not even Darren James, who’s been putting in solid performances at the 600-only event for years now.
Kyle Wyman is defending his 2019 title (COVID-19 canceled the 2020 race) while Danny Eslick wants to get his fifth win at the 200. However, the most interesting name this year could be Michael Dunlop. The Irish roadracing ace is signed up in his first-ever Daytona appearance. With diminished street racing opportunities elsewhere (most major races on public roads have been closed to bikes for the past couple of years), maybe we’ll see an influx of TT stars at the Florida race? It might bring some prestige, and some interest, back to the event if that happens.
See the full Daytona 200 entry list here. Along with Eslick and Wyman, many other familiar names from the US roadracing scene are back, despite the pandemic. It seems the Speedway is allowing a limited number of fans at the race, too.
The race is scheduled to run on NBC Sports Gold this weekend, starting at 1 PM Eastern Standard Time. If you can figure out how to watch that from Canada, please let us know how the race goes!