Moto2 Feature Article: 2021 rookies to look out for

2021 welcomes an unbelievably high level of talent into Moto2.

2021 will arguably be one of the toughest seasons in Moto2 history for the rookies and current riders, the level of talent stepping into the class for 2021 is at an all time high with multiple champions moving into the class plus some incredibly fast Moto3 riders who are following their natural progression as a Grand Prix rider.

Yari Montella

Yari Montella, there’s not much we can say about him that isn’t positive, what a talent this Italian is! After riding in the ranks of the SIC58 Moto3 squad, he moved to the CEV Moto2 class for 2019 and 2020 on Speed Up machinery, riding in their B team over in the European Championship and adapted instantly to the chassis and Moto2 machine, he took 2 podiums in his rookie CEV Moto2 season on the green machine before completely wiping the floor with his opposition in 2020, nobody saw it coming, we all knew he had talent but bloody hell he was fast! (pardon the language).

He took a staggering 8 wins in 11 races with 2 P2’s to match this, suffering a DNF in Aragon race 2 before winning race three, what else did he do? Oh yeah, he won the first 6 races of the season back to back, no questions asked just dominance, annoying Niki Tuuli who was taking P2 every time bar one race when Alessandro Zaccone broke the P2 streak, Montella took the title by a huge 44 points by the season end, he remains on Speed Up chassis for 2021 replacing Fabio Di Giannantonio in the Speed Up A team and you better watch out because he is FAST!

Cameron Beaubier

Cameron Beaubier… I mean c’mon, what a signing by the American Racing Team, Cameron flippin’ Beaubier, the one and only 5 x MotoAmerica champion, the rider who has completely dominated the championship for years moves to Moto2 in 2021 after some time away over in the USA. Beaubier has been described by many as being far too fast for MotoAmerica, a MotoGP rider in a national championship if you like. No disrespect to the huge amount of talent in the MotoAmerica series but Beaubier is leagues above anyone, 5 titles is no easy feat that’s a fact.

Beaubier moves to the incredibly competitive American Racing Team and is under the watchful eye of John Hopkins who has already proven to be an excellent rider coach when you look at how far Joe Roberts has come, it’s not a question of if Beaubier will do well but rather when.

Celestino Vietti

Celestino Vietti is just ridiculously fast there’s no point sugarcoating it is there, the 19-year-old moves to Moto2 for 2021, he is already a bit too tall for a Moto3 bike therefore the Moto2 bike will be a perfect fit, moving to the Sky VR46 Moto2 Team which are one of the top 3 teams on the Moto2 grid he is in very good hands. He only did two full Moto3 seasons but impressed many in both, taking a podium in just his second race as a replacement rider in 2018, like what the hell?! It was a stunning ride at Phillip Island which caught the attention of many.

In 2019 he was incredibly impressive and took rookie of the year with a crazy P6 overall which is unheard of for a Moto3 rookie, maybe a MotoGP rookie but Moto3? No chance. He was able to rack up 2 wins and 4 podiums in Moto3 for 2020 and with the Sky VR46 Moto3 team pulling out of the class, moving him to Luca Marini’s vacant seat seems like the perfect choice.

Tony Arbolino

Tony Arbolino, this guy is a nut case but you don’t need me to tell you that. Arbolino is one of the most passionate riders we’ve ever seen, you only have to watch his Parc Ferme interviews to see why, whether it’s yelling ‘GOOD FEELINGS’ to his team or swearing down the microphone, you cannot doubt his sheer passion and adoration for what he does, absolutely over the moon whenever he does a great job compared to other riders who are fairly chilled out.

He is another huge talent, taking P2 overall in the Moto3 standings in 2020 with 1 x win and 5 x podiums he missed out on the title by just 4 points, a tough pill to swallow given he missed the AragonGP due to COVID-19. Arbolino is moving to the IntactGP team who are an incredibly good team for a rider like Arbolino to develop his skills and with his energy, he will suit a Moto2 bike very well.

Raul Fernandez

Raul Fernandez is one of those riders who has ‘it’, now you may be thinking “what the hell is ‘it'” and that’s a very good question because it’s also incredibly hard to describe but I’ll do my best. Fernandez is one of the most naturally talented riders you will ever see, he can pick up and bike and just go fast on it, he didn’t even do too badly when he was lumped onto a Mahindra in the CEV, struggling but did better than riders on better bikes before rebounding the year after on KTM machinery and taking the 2018 Moto3 Junior World Championship title.

He is the 2020 Moto3 qualifying king taking 6 pole positions and had an incredibly consistent season but was missing that 5% to take the podium but once he did, that was it, he finished the season with 2 x wins and 4 x podiums and will remain with the Red Bull KTM Ajo team for 2021, moving up due to his height.

Barry Baltus

Barry Baltus is a rider we rate incredibly highly, so much so that we aren’t going to write too much about him here as we have written a 600+ word article on how fast he actually is. The 16-year-old moves to Moto2 with RW Racing, standing at a huge 5″10, clearly too big for a Moto3 bike given he is only 16 meaning he will carry on growing for some time now.

At 14 years old he was a CEV Moto3 race winner taking some more podiums on the way and has bags of talent, you can read about him in-depth here.

Ai Ogura

If you watch the CEV Moto3 championship, especially in 2018, you knew Ogura was coming and he was coming fast! The Japanese rider took P3 overall in the Moto3 standings in 2020, pushing title contender Albert Arenas all the way to the last race of the season where Ogura would lose the title by just 4 points. Ogura is one of Japan’s best future stars, in 2018 in the CEV he finished in P5 overall with 2020 teammate Yuki Kunii just behind him in P6, Ogura took 5 podiums and was a pain in the backside for other riders due to how fast he was.

He very nearly took the Moto3 title without a single race win in 2020 which would’ve been an outstanding achievement, however, took a huge 7 podiums which is even more than champion Albert Arenas, Ogura is a force not to be reckoned with and moves to Moto2 in 2021 remaining with the Honda Team Asia which has had success in the past with Japanese riders, namely Takaaki Nakagami.

Albert Arenas

Albert Arenas, Moto3’s own superman, the 2020 Moto3 World Champion, Arenas had an outstanding Moto3 championship season with 3 wins and 5 podiums his consistency was unbelievable, finishing in the top 10 for every race bar the last race at Portimao when he was running out of fuel in the last laps and very nearly lost the title due to this. Arenas was also able to take the title after racing injured for most of the season, damaging his ankle at the Andalucian GP it didn’t stop him from standing on the podium in the races which followed.

Arenas joins the class as a champion and has already majorly impressed on a Moto2 bike in his first rides on the competitive Speed Up machinery, he looks to be a force in 2021 and we cannot wait.

Featured images – 

CEV Repsol (Montella)

https://brianjnelson.com/ (Beaubier)

www.motogp.com