There is no getting around it: we are in the face of a generational change, something that in itself is inevitable. This is how it works in all sports, where one cycle comes to an end and another opens at the same time, bringing with it a mixture of emotions, nostalgia and regrets. Sport is full of those who leave and at the same time a new generation of those who arrive on the battlefield, ambitious to assert themselves and show their potential.
This is what has been happening in MotoGP in recent years. Two seasons ago we said goodbye to Dani Pedrosa, last year it was Jorge Lorenzo, while in two weekends’ time we will be saying goodbye to Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso. The former will join Yamaha as a tester, while the latter will take a year off.
Valentino Rossi raises the average age, without him it’s younger by a year
In the midst of all these farewells and arrivals, however, there are those riders who remain. This is the case of Valentino Rossi. Despite him being repositioned in Petronas, also in 2021 we will find the Doctor at the starting blocks at the ripe old age of 42. The age of the rider from Tavullia obviously has an important impact, since he is twice as old as someone like Quartararo, who could almost be considered his son. In this regard, the 2021 MotoGP season without Rossi would see the average age drop from 27.18 to 26.47, gaining almost a year.
With all these changes in mind, we decided to have a look at how much the premier class grid will age next season compared to the last one. To do this, we compared the entry list of last year with that of next year, obviously considering the age of each individual rider.
According to our calculations, in 2019 the average age of each rider was 27.59 years, while for 2021 it will be 27.18. A figure that all in all seems to remain fairly in line, despite Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow being absent. However, there is one aspect that affects this number and that is the age of the rookies. In 2019 Francesco Bagnaia and Joan Mir made their debut in the premier class at the age of only 22, while Fabio Quartararo was 20.
In 2021, however, we will find ourselves with riders like Bastianini and Martin who will come to the grid at the age of 23, as well as Luca Marini with 24. In short, compared to last season, the rookies will have a few more ‘spring chickens’ to deal with.
The factory teams become 'baby' and are rejuvenated by two years
One intriguing aspect is the age comparison for the factory teams. In this case, the analysis provides some particularly interesting data. In 2019 the average age of the factory teams was close to 29, in fact it was 28.91 years. In 2021 it will instead go down to 26.83, thus dropping below the 27 mark.
Above all thanks to the promotion of Bagnaia and Miller, accompanied by Fabio Quartararo, who together with Vinales will make up the youngest factory team in the paddock, while the youngest team outright will be made up of Bastianini and Marini.