Esponsorama could be one to watch with exciting Bastianini, Marini partnership

It is not often that a satellite team heads into a new MotoGP season with plenty of hype, but Avintia Esponsorama Racing could just be one to watch in 2021.

Plenty of that is due to their eye-catching new lineup of Enea Bastianini and Luca Marini.

The Ducati-affiliated outfit parted ways with Johann Zarco and Tito Rabat at the end of last year and opted for bringing in new rides. While there will always be an element of uncertainty with two rookies, there is no denying Esponsorama's lineup for 2021 is one brimming with raw talent.

In his second season in Moto2 last year, Bastianini claimed the riders' championship -- winning three races and achieving seven podium finishes in the process -- to announce himself as a rider to watch.

Unsurprisingly, Esponsorama have also put their faith in the man who came closest to challenging him for the Moto2 crown in Marini, who also has the added pedigree, and pressure, of being the half-brother of the legendary Valentino Rossi, a nine-time world champion.

Having never finished higher than 9th in the team standings since their premier class debut in 2012, it is unlikely that Esponsorama will emerge as challengers all of a sudden this year.

But they could just cause a stir along the way with Bastianini and Marini at their disposal.

What they said

Enea Bastianini: "2020 was fantastic for me, winning a world championship for the first time. I think this is a new adventure for me and my first year in Ducati, in MotoGP and also with Ducati Avintia.

"I have to learn a lot ... [when we get to] the middle of the championship, we will see what we can [achieve]."

Luca Marini: "It will be a great emotion to spend some time on the track with him [Rossi]. It will be great to have some battles with him. I don't know if I will be as fast as him from the beginning, but for sure I will try.

"I just want to improve, learn a lot of things as soon as possible, because it changes a lot from Moto2. I need to prepare myself for my debut but I'm ready. I think that is the correct moment to do this and I'm really motivated to start."

As the lights go out...

"Avintia Esponsorama Racing underwent something of a rebirth last year, going from a bit-part player in the world championship to suddenly a podium contender, in large part thanks to Johann Zarco," says Edward Russell, FOX Sports Asia's MotoGP presenter.

"Whilst Zarco is now moving up to Pramac, the change in Esponsorama's modus operandi continues, with the Spanish team now putting their faith in youth, and not just any young riders but the two best in Moto2 last year.

"Marini in particular, given his height, looks made for MotoGP, and with factory support for both riders and better spec machinery than the third-tier Ducati team have ever had before, both Bastianini and Marini could well spring some surprises this year.

"The fact that all three rookies this year -- Jorge Martin being the third -- are all on satellite Ducati machinery and will all be wanting to prove to the Bologna factory that they are the new leading light, just adds further intrigue to what will be a fascinating season."

2021 will be a success if: Either Bastianini or Marini -- or potentially both -- deliver on their hype and add to Esponsorama's solitary podium finish. An actual race win would be a dream come true and, as the 2020 MotoGP season showed, anything could happen.