Riders to watch in 2021: Marco Bezzecchi
Marco Bezzecchi is one of the strongest 2021 Moto2 title contenders.
Marco Bezzecchi is fast, unbelievably fast and has proven time and time again that he can be rapid when on competitive machinery and has even impressed on underwhelming machines adding another string to his bow. 2021 will be only his fifth season racing full time in the world championship after making some wildcard/replacement appearances in 2015 and 2016 not scoring any points with Mahindra machinery.
He would make his full-time debut in the CIP squad in 2017 running Mahindra machinery which were by far the slowest things to ever be classed as ‘prototype’ racing bikes, you could not buy these bikes for street use and are only manufactured to be raced, yet they were last in nearly every session with a major power disadvantage and just a disadvantage in all areas. Thankfully to the happiness of many, these career stopping bikes were removed from Moto3 at the end of 2017 which forced the class to use either Honda or KTM.
If you were to do well on a Mahindra it was down to sheer talent, some riders were able to score podiums and even win on this machinery, these riders include but are not limited to Jorge Martin, Francesco Bagnaia and John McPhee. Bezzecchi got to ride one of these Mahindra’s for 2017 and bagged a podium in his rookie season at Motegi, it was a pretty tough season for him and aside from the podium he only scored points in three other races, his talent very clearly going to waste, so when he stepped onto a KTM for 2018 he shocked everyone.
The unexpected title challenger in 2018
Bezzecchi moved to KTM with the Prustel GP team and won his first Moto3 race in only his second race for the team which stunned absolutely everyone, where had this talent come from? It was there all along, he continued to impress in 2018 and was locked in a championship battle with Jorge Martin all season long before some tough luck being involved in other riders’ crashes meant some non-point-scoring rounds saw him drop to third overall in the standings, still unbelievably impressive for just his second season in the class. He decided to move to Moto2 for 2019 after just two Moto3 seasons.
In 2019 he rode for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team, he was happy to remain on a KTM until everyone realised that the Moto2 KTM was completely uncompetitive for most of the season with even Brad Binder struggling to ride the bike, thankfully for Binder, he was able to receive some upgrades and fight for the championship but sadly said upgrades did not filter down too far into the customer teams with Bezzecchi left to struggle on the KTM taking just 4 point scoring finishes in 2019 with a best result of P10, fairly disappointing to see him once again sat in P23 in the standings, matching his rookie Moto3 season.
Tough times at Tech3
He was in a very fortunate position for 2020 after Tech3 withdrew from Moto2 to run a Moto3 team. Bezzecchi is a VR46 Riders Academy rider and has been with the academy for a long time during his career, therefore when a spot on the Sky VR46 Moto2 Team became available he jumped at the chance to ride for a team who won the 2018 Moto2 World Championship being paired with Luca Marini who had also won races for the team. He was signed to the team and would ride the ever-popular Kalex chassis which is favoured across the class with nearly every team running Kalex chassis.
Almost instantly Bezzecchi would take his first Moto2 class podium in just his third race on a Kalex, scoring a P3 finish at the Andalucian Grand Prix before taking his first Moto2 race win in round 6 of the season in the Styrian Grand Prix. It was clear to see that the talent was there but was not being utilised by the machinery he was previously riding, as soon as he is given a competitive bike he is able to win races and be extremely competitive. He was able to back his win up with 2 podiums at Misano and would go on to finish the season in P4 overall with 2 wins and 7 podiums to his name, an outstanding tally for a rider in just his second season in the class.
He has a resemblance of Marco Simoncelli with his long hair
Battling for a World Championship in his second season in a class seems to be a common theme with Bezzecchi and we have yet to see what he can do with a third season in a World Championship, with the departure of Luca Marini to MotoGP Bezzechi will be joined by the stupidly fast Celestino Vietti who will keep ‘Bez’ on his toes all season long, you can expect to see a championship charge from Bezzecchi in 2021 that is almost certain.
Featured images – www.motogp.com