Loris Reggiani has always kept a close eye on the world championship and its dynamics. Having competed in all classes between 1980 and 1995, the former rider is also a long-time TV commentator and never holds back when it comes to voicing his opinion. He adopts the same philosophy during this exclusive chat with Motosprint.
"Morbidelli is consistent, unlike Quartararo"
The 2021 championship will see two young Italians, Marini and Bastianini, make their MotoGP debut.
"Luca and Enea will be fast, but not right away. I expect big things from Franco Morbidelli rather than the rookies. I see him fighting for the title. Looking at last year’s races, he was the fastest Yamaha rider. Considering what he did in Moto2, he reaches a certain level and then stays there. He’s consistent, unlike Quartararo who gets a little lost".
And, remaining in the Yamaha camp, at least this year Maverick Vinales won’t have the pressure of sharing the garage with someone like Rossi.
"Vinales has shown to be psychologically weak. Rossi caused him some problems, but I think it’ll be worse with Quartararo. Because he knew what to expect with Rossi, while it will be a surprise with Quartararo. Fabio is younger and sometimes quicker. He could suffer even more”.
"Rossi? Not a title contender"
Meanwhile, Valentino will spend what might be his last season with the privateer Petronas Sepang Racing Team.
"I don’t think Valentino will do better than he did in 2020, though if he’s more motivated early on then he might be more competitive. I don’t see him fighting for the title. If everything goes to plan, he might win one race”.
And world champion Joan Mir will have to do without Davide Brivio.
"I’ve never believed that a team manager can make the difference. It’s the riders who go out on track. The decision has been made anyway and Davide leaves, but Rins and Mir remain. Brivio created the team, but that’s done and I don’t think it can be easily broken up. Mir might do it again, but it will be tough. He was consistent and competitive in 2020, but I think Morbidelli will be the man to beat this season”.
"I think they’re hiding something re Marquez"
Talk turns to Marc Marquez. The rider continues to recover but the fact he returned to race at Jerez a few days after his accident remains a talking point.
"Responsibility lies with the rider. Passing the responsibility to others is something I’d understand if he were a child. But a world champion who’s 27, 28 years old should be an adult about it. It’s a bit like Valentino’s tax debacle when they tried to shift the blame to his manager. A rider should take responsibility for his actions. You can’t pretend that a doctor forced you to ride, especially when you have a personality like Marquez. Valentino and Marc are not conditioned by others, they do what they want”.
"A bit like 2015, when Marquez did all he could - in my opinion - to ensure Rossi lost the championship. Honda couldn’t say anything, throwing away a couple of double wins in the final races of that season”.
There’s a lot of talk about him breaking his plate while opening a window.
"He didn’t break the plate trying to ride at Jerez or opening a window. They’re hiding something and we’ll probably never know. I think he hurt himself in training. I don’t know if it was while cycling or riding MX, but the responsibility is his. I’m sorry not to see him on track because he’s a sight to behold, and he’s missed, but it’s also true that the championship continued regardless”.
A situation that perhaps could have been handled differently.
"If a doctor tells you that you can do what you want with a metal plate, then sure, the blame may also lie with the doctor. In my experience, if Doctor Costa told me ‘if you don’t have any issues, you can race’, I would understand whether I could do it or not, as your body tells you”.
"Honda-Dovizioso, it depends on the offer"
Andrea Dovizioso has been cited as a possible replacement for Marquez.
"It all depends on Honda. If I were Dovizioso and Honda offered me a one-off ride, I’d say ‘thanks and goodbye’. If they offered me a couple of years, it would be a different story. I think Honda is overly dependent on Marquez".
Translated by Heather Watson