MotoGP 2022: Five burning questions ahead of Qatar Grand Prix season opener

The fastest show on two wheels is back on BT Sport this weekend with live coverage of the Qatar GP

By Callum Davis Published: 3 March 2022 - 3.17pm

The greatest show on two wheels is back this month as a brand-new MotoGP season gets under way with back-to-back races in March. 

2022 is set to be the biggest ever in MotoGP history, with 21 dates pencilled into the championship calendar - and you can watch every Grand Prix live on BT Sport.

As usual, every session from all three classes will be available to watch on TV or to live stream online, with our expert team keeping you across all the action.

Here, btsport.com poses five key questions ahead of the hotly-anticipated season opener.

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Can Marc Marquez get back to his best?

After two injury-plagued years, Marc Marquez has announced his return to full fitness as he bids to join the great Valentino Rossi on nine MotoGP titles.

Marquez’s injury hell has been well documented. An arm fracture sustained in a 2020 Jerez crash ruled out of action for 12 months, before a training incident towards the tail end of 2021 saw him diagnosed with diplopia (severe double vision) once again. 

After 265 days out of action due to the arm fracture, Marquez returned to race action in April 2021, and the Spaniard has since revealed he came close to hanging up his helmet at the end of last year. 

"I hit rock bottom," Marquez told Spanish media. "With double vision, I couldn't do anything because I got dizzy. In fact, the doctor, after the operation, told me that it was a miracle I recovered my sight.

 "I thought about not racing again. The doctor gave me options and the third one was: 'My eyesight will probably be fine to live a normal life, but you won't be able to go 250 kilometres per hour on a motorbike'."

Now the Repsol Honda rider is coming off the back of successful pre-season testing and fully focused on the season opener in Qatar.

But with the MotoGP field as competitive as it's ever been, it remains to be seen whether a record-equalling ninth world title is beyond Marquez.

"Right now there are 12 bikes that can win the World Championship," said Marquez. "But the favourites are the current champion and the runner-up, Fabio Quartararo and Pecco Bagnaia.

"Unless your name is Rafa Nadal, you can't be the favourite to win after being injured for two years!"

Can Fabio Quartararo go back-to-back?

Yamaha's Quartararo is out to retain the world championship after he became the first Frenchman to win the MotoGP title last season. 

If Quartararo can defend his crown, he will become the second-youngest rider after Marquez to win consecutive world championships - and the Spaniard could be the biggest stumbling block to achieving that feat. 

The 22-year-old has voiced his displeasure with the top speed of his Yamaha bike in pre-season testing, but the world champion is adamant he will fight tooth and nail to defend his crown.

"I fulfilled my dream of becoming world champion, but now I want more," said Quartararo on the eve of this weekend's season opener in Qatar. "I don't feel any additional pressure... if anything I feel more motivated than ever."

The prospect of a mouthwatering title duel with the returning Marquez provides added spice to what is shaping up to be an unforgettable season. 

Quartararo added: "The pleasure of going up against Marc is different to what you feel going up against other riders... and winning against him is another thing.

"I will give my maximum, that's the most important thing. I will train day and night to fight with Marc."

What about the other title challengers?

Constructors' champions Ducati are once again the bike to beat, with Bagnaia and Jack Miller both hoping to de-throne Yamaha's Quartararo in the riders' championship.

Indeed, Bagnaia will be looking to go one better this season after claiming nine podiums and four wins to finish 2021 as runner-up.

His Ducati teammate Miller comes into 2022 with a point to prove, with his contract set to expire at the end of the season.

If the Australian wants to stay with the team, he must finish better than his fourth place in 2021.

Elsewhere, Quartararo's Yamaha teammate Franco Morbidelli is fully recovered from the injury problems that disrupted his campaign last year.

Now, after a few months off to recover, the Italian will be champing at the bit and hoping to be back in contention for podiums and race wins.

Meanwhile, 2020 champion Joan Mir finished third last season, but should be in contention to challenge for the title again this season with the new engine developments that Suzuki have bought to the table.

Watch out for Pramac Racing's Jorge Martin as he looks to build on an impressive debut season in MotoGP.

Injury forced "The Martinator" to miss four successive Grands Prix last year, but he scored three podiums and a race win on his return to make him the rider to look out for going into this campaign.  

Can Sam Lowes put Brits back on top? 

There may be no British rider in MotoGP for a second consecutive season, but Sam Lowes is once again gunning for glory in Moto2.

A veritable veteran in Moto2 terms, Lowes resumes his latest bid to secure an elusive maiden intermediate-class title eight years after making his debut in 2014.

Since then, eight wins and 23 podiums have followed, but the ultimate prize has remained out of reach, with a third-placed finish in 2020 and fourth in 2021.

After an injury late on in the 2020 season, Lowes - in his third season with Marc VDS Racing - is aiming to pull everything together to make 2022 his own.

“The target last year was to fight for the World Championship and some things didn’t go our way," said Lowes ahead of this weekend's season opener.

"We gained a lot of experience and understand where we can be stronger in 2022. 

“I need to be more consistent over the whole season, because last year we started off strongly, but lost some momentum before I came back strong at the end. Putting my best form together for a longer period is something I’m definitely concentrating on. 

“My goal once again is to fight for the World Championship, and when you ride for the Elf Marc VDS Racing Team, that has to be something you strive for.”

Can he banish memories of recent near-misses and go one better this year?

What else is new?

To mark the start of one of the most hotly anticipated seasons in recent memory, BT Sport is giving MotoGP fans more ways to enjoy the action than ever before.

As part of the brilliant Raceday Experience on the BT Sport app, petrolheads can use our interactive timeline to go back and rewatch all the key moments, overtakes and crashes.

What's more, you can get even closer to the action with Rider 360, giving fans a unique on-board view from the bike of a different rider each week - with Andrea Dovizioso your host for the Qatar GP.

Plus, you can enjoy the coverage along with your friends by choosing the Watch Together option.

For all this and so much more, download the app to your mobile or tablet.

On the track, MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi may have retired, but there are a number of new faces hoping to make their mark this season.

Five riders have been promoted to MotoGP, including Moto2 world champion Remy Gardner and his 2021 title rival and teammate Raul Fernandez.

Both riders will don the Tech3 KTM colours in their rookie season.

Last but not least Darryn Binder, becomes just the second-ever rider, after Jack Miller, to move directly from Moto3 to MotoGP.

So strap yourselves in for another rollercoaster ride in 2022 as BT Sport brings you all the thrills and spills from another MotoGP season.