An Italian rider overperforming on outdated machinery, where have we heard that before?
Enea Bastianini has been hugely impressive in 2021, unfortunately however much like Ai Ogura and Izan Guevara in Moto2 and Moto3 his performances are being glossed over thanks to an even faster rookie in Jorge Martin. Now, without trying to downplay Jorge Martin’s outstanding achievements this year, he is very much being aided by his current GP21 machinery which gives him an extra boost in terms of being level with the competition.
There are three riders on the grid who are or have been riding outdated bikes, funnily enough said riders are also Italian, these riders are namely Franco Morbidelli who has been riding a 2019 Yamaha but will make the move to a 2021 machine this weekend at Misano when he makes his factory debut, Luca Marini, Enea Bastianini and Andrea Dovizioso who will be stepping in to replace Morbidelli.
A rider who has been exemplary this year quietly going about his business is Enea Bastianini who was the 2020 Moto2 World Champion, it seems absurd to reward a World Champion with a two year old bike, but that’s a story for another time. Race by race Bastianini has been making strong progress narrowly missing out on Q2 at Silverstone by just 0.044 seconds before finally getting what he deserved at Aragon going straight into Q2 thanks to his strong combined Free Practice time putting him within the top 10.
This automatic Q2 promotion allowed the young Italian to relax a little more without the pressure of going via Q1, qualifying in a strong P9 position to be able to line up on the third row which in turn handed him a strong chance to be able to battle for his second ever MotoGP top 10 finish. As we saw during the race he was able to stick it to both Fabio Quartararo and Takaaki Nakagami without too many issues and would go beyond that passing the pair and eventually Brad Binder who was a few seconds up the road to take a seriously impressive P6 finish.
This level of speed, aggression and talent has been lurking all year but sadly due to his outdated machinery hindering him he hasn’t been able to fight for the positions he desires and deserves, moving to the Gresini team next year will allow him to upgrade to a GP21 but there’s no doubt he deserves more.
Featured image – MotoGP.com