The transfer market is on track this year, with most of the top riders already signed for 2022, which means it might seem like this is a low-key season, but that's not exactly the case. Ducati was quick to confirm Miller and Zarco, asserting their option in favour, and did the same with Bastianini. As for Marini, there is a place for him in the new-born VR46 team, while his teammate will most likely be Marco Bezzecchi.
While Borgo Panigale, as well as Honda and Suzuki, has all its places filled up, there are still manufacturers and teams that have to sort out their line-ups for next year. KTM has armour-plated the factory team with a three-year contract for Brad Binder, while Oliveira had already signed for 2022. Tech3, on the other hand, has promoted Remy Gardner to MotoGP and wanted to do the same with Raul Fernandez.
The Madrid rider was the real prized piece of this underground market. In the first races of his first season in Moto2 he literally exploded and attracted the attention of more or less all the teams. This put KTM on the alert, after it had already seen Jorge Martin take the high road last year, with the Spaniard putting his hand in his wallet to pay the penalty and abandon the Austrian company.
Tempting Raul were Yamaha and Aprilia, both with a free seat and the need for young talents. KTM however is safe, Fernandez said 'no thanks' to both of them, but also to the chance of going to MotoGP next year. Which means that in Tech3 one of the two current riders will remain. The runoff will be between Petrucci and Lecuona, with the Italian currently favourite for the reconfirmation.
So while in Austria the problem has been brilliantly solved in-house, the same cannot be said for Petronas and Noale. With Valentino Rossi probably retiring at the end of the year, or deciding to continue with his team (as the Saudi prince financier wishes) an M1 is free. The problem is who to give it to. The Malaysian team said the Doctor was an exception to the youth development program, but there are not many young talents on the scene. Since last year the name of Joe Roberts has been bandied about as being destined for MotoGP but the American (whose passport is ‘attractive’) has not made the leap forward that many expected when he joined the reigning world champion Italtrans team. Perhaps also for this reason, they have called on Garrett Gerloff, also from the US, to Assen as a sort of test in case things should go pear-shaped.
Also in Aprilia the puzzle is not easy to solve. Aleix Espargarò is a guarantee for 2022, Andrea Dovizioso (involved in testing in the last few days in Misano on the RS-GP) a hope, but nothing more. The fact that the rider from Forlì decides to return to MotoGP full time cannot be taken for granted and, in these cases, a plan B and even a C is needed, because last year's lesson must be learned. There was some talk with Bastianini, but Ducati exercised its option on Enea and did not go beyond the more classic ‘pour parler’. If Dovi said yes, everything would go in the best possible way, otherwise there would be the risk of Roberts or the reconfirmation of Savadori.
Summer holidays are upon us, but for some managers it is not yet time for a vacation...