This is the 2021 MotoGP grid so far (and other rumours…)

The first riders have been confirmed to the 2021 MotoGP grid... we look at the other rumours swirling around the likes of Ducati and Suzuki

Marc Marquez, Maverick Vinales

The 2020 MotoGP World Championship season hasn’t even begun yet but the pieces of the puzzle for 2021 – and in Marc Marquez’s case, well beyond… - have started falling into place as rider managers earn their keep by getting their deals in early.

Indeed, even by traditional silly season standards in MotoGP, this one has started remarkably early primarily because the vultures that are Ducati were circling around Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales, forcing its rivals to act.

Of course, we know the outcome here as Yamaha – faced with the prospect of losing its young, talented riders while Valentino Rossi stuttered on a decision for his future – made the difficult decision to nudge the Italian legend aside in favour of building for the future.

As it stands, Yamaha is the only factory team to have a confirmed rider line-up for 2021, while Rossi has the option of a Petronas SRT Yamaha for next season if he chooses to continue.

Elsewhere, Marquez surprised no-one by committing his future to Repsol Honda but did cause a stir by eschewing the traditional two-year cycle by going all the way to four years – right to the end of 2024. Taking him right into the next cycle of MotoGP regulations, it means he is well poised to break Giacomo Agostini’s eight premier titles as a Honda rider. Maybe then we’ll see the Spaniard glance around at his other options…

There is one more rider nailed down for 2021 right now with the well-backed Tito Rabat signing for two more years last season with Avintia Ducati, taking him right to the end of 2021.

Who could go where for the 2021 MotoGP season?


With Marc Marquez re-signing for Honda, there will be a number of riders that may think twice at getting up alongside him in the Repsol team… unless you’re Alex Marquez of course. Barring any disaster, expect to see him on the RC213V next year.

Even so, Honda will need to look at investing in some new talent with Cal Crutchlow expected to retire at the end of 2020. The improving Takaaki Nakagami will likely take up a team lead role, leaving a year-old spot for one of Moto2’s up-and-comers like Augusto Fernandez or maybe even someone like Jake Dixon as MotoGP’s much desired British entrant.


Beyond the factory team, Franco Morbidelli should keep his ride alongside Rossi if he chooses to continue. Failing that, Jorge Lorenzo might be enticed to return too if Rossi doesn’t want the seat, though the team that brought Fabio Quartararo to the sport may be spurred on to strike lightning twice as Yamaha’s youthful proving ground.


Suzuki has intimated that both Alex Rins and Joan Mir are their priority to sign for 2021 and 2022, which is no surprise. Both riders have reportedly been approached by Ducati – while the team has hinted it also had a look at Quartararo and Vinales – so there could be some flex in those talks, but the team’s strong show during pre-season testing suggests neither party will be keen to rock the boat at this moment.


Ducati may have the most riders on the grid but they have been the manufacturer shopping the hardest for 2021… which isn’t exactly a vote of confidence for the likes of Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci. The latter is expected to land a factory ride next season at the expense of one or the current riders, with Pecco Bagnaia on standby if both exit the team.


Having put their faith in youth – thanks in part to Johann Zarco’s surprise exit – the four going into 2020 are the four expected to stay in 2021. There could be an internal reshuffle depending on how Miguel Oliveira fares on the satellite machine versus Brad Binder though.


Arguably the most enticing option on the grid right now is Aprilia after its remarkably strong showing in pre-season testing in Sepang, which showed a huge step forward. Potentially a more attractive to top riders, while Aleix Espargaro is unlikely to be going anywhere if the bike his quick – recompense for his time on a slow machine – there is probably a prime spot next to him even if Andrea Iannone is cleared from his drugs suspension. There are all manner of exciting riders that could be linked, but perhaps the most logical are Dovizioso – who appears out of favour with Dall’Igna right now – and Petrucci, particularly in light of Ducati’s long shopping list right now.