MotoGP 2020 Misano II Results

© Bruce Allen

Vinales prevails; championship tighter than wallpaper 

Maverick Vinales, on Sunday, had every right to finish second. Starting from pole, he took the lead early and held it until Lap 6 when Pramac Ducati fast mover Pecco Bagnaia ate his lunch. Young Bagnaia managed the gap for the next 15 laps, until he unaccountably slid out of the lead on Lap 21 while leading by 1.4 seconds. Vinales inherited a 4-second lead and won easily, trailed by a rampaging Joan Mir and a happy-to-be-back-on-the-podium Fabio Quartararo. Young Fabio, however, was assessed a three-second post-race penalty for getting into the green, elevating a delighted Pol Espargaro to the podium. The 2020 championship is so up for grabs. 

Saturday 

Right, so I missed all of Friday and most of Saturday due to My Life having intruded upon the usual race weekend routine. Despite my devil-may-care persona I have managed to stay married to the same ornery, but saintly, woman for 45 years this month. She has a disorder which causes her to forget a joke almost immediately upon hearing it, which is a huge advantage for me, in that it allows me to recycle my limited inventory of material almost endlessly. Not that I ever received guffaws from her, or anything close to ROTFLMAO. But I still get that smile and the occasional laugh. As she often reminds me, my motto should be, “Funny to me.” In truth, she gives me as many laughs as I give her.

What I did see on Saturday was MotoGP Q2. I know the Yamahas had been having a good weekend again and that Pecco Bagnaia was riding the wheels off his 2019 Desmo. I knew that he and all four Yams passed directly to Q2, along with Takaa Nakagami, HRC’s Great Japanese Hope, Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder on their suddenly formidable KTMs, future KTMer Danilo Petrucci, and Joan Mir on the Suzuki. The fast movers would later be joined in Q2 by Jack Miller and Andrea Dovizioso on their big bad GP20s, Dovi, with his new sponsor, “Unemployed,” stitched on his leathers, slid under the tag at home plate to sneak into Q2, as it were, while Miller smoked the field early. Left on the outside looking in were, among others, Alex Rins, KTM pilots Oliveira and Lecuona, Aleix and the usual back markers.

Q2 was, as usual, fascinating, as if where a rider qualifies on the first three rows makes any real difference. First two rows, anyway. On Saturday, Vinales and Bagnaia took turns on the provisional pole, with Maverick again breaking the all-time track record, something he’s getting good at with Marquez sidelined. Bagnaia, late in the session, recorded the first ever sub-1:31 lap at Misano, and we have pictures to prove it. Bagnaia sub 1_31 nonrecord

However, he was discovered with both wheels in the green midway through the lap and it got taken away, putting him in the #5 spot, from where he would challenge for the win on Sunday. He was, by far, the fastest rider in the field this weekend, with Vinales again fast in practice and qualifying. The question with him is, always, can he get out of his own way during the first six laps of the race and fight for the win? Not yet this year, anyway. Rossi would start at the top of the third row, with Mir and Nakagami sucking canal water, the LCR rider going through probably a quarter million euros’ worth of motorcycles on Saturday alone, with formidable crashes coming in QP4 and again at the same turn in Q2. Dude.

All I can do for you folks as regards the goings-on in the lighter classes is refer you to the PDFs on the website. I could, I suppose, publish my login and password and let any of you who wish to watch all the practice and qualifying you want. Not gonna do it. Let’s do this. The front row on Sunday in Moto2 was comprised of Luca Marini, Marco Bezzecchi and Xavi Vierge. Moto3 featured Raul Fernandez on pole, joined by Tony Arbolino and Andre Migno.

Race Day

Sunday’s Moto3 race was the usual fire drill. A lead group of Arenas, Arbolino, Fernandez, Celestino Vietti and our old friend Romano Fenati formed up and took turns in the lead or getting knocked back into 6th place. Brad Binder, on one of his typical charges from the rear, made it as far as P4 before highsiding out on Lap 19. Young Vietti, another Rossi protégé, held the lead most of the day. With five guys looking for an opening heading into the last three turns, Vietti tried to go inside on Ogura, sending both of them wide and opening the door for the apparently lucid Fenati, who has not always appeared so. The podium, then, was Fenati, Vietti and Ogura, with series leader Arenas, Jaume Masia and Fernandez taking P4-P6.

Moto3 Top 5 after 8 Rounds:

  1. Arenas 119
  2. Ogura 117
  3. McPhee 98
  4. Vietti 86
  5. Arbolino 75

Moto2 was a bit of a parade as the weather gods decided to have a little sport with the intermediate class. They delivered, in rapid order, sunshine rain breeze sunshine sunshine cloudburst sunshine, giving the guys in Race Direction whiplash, calling a red flag, followed by a delayed re-start, which was held as a 10-lap club race. Enea Bastianini, who led when the first race was stopped, charged past original polesitter Luca Marini on Lap 1 and never really looked back, although sophomore Marco Bezzecchi gave valiant chase at the end. Sam Lowes found the third step of the podium, followed by the frustrated Marini. Brit Jake Dixon fell from P6 to P9 on the last lap. At the top of the Moto2 standings, one will find:

  1. Marini 125
  2. Bastianini 120
  3. Bezzecchi 105
  4. Lowes 83

The MotoGP race was, if you’re willing to play along here, a snapshot of the 2020 season in microcosm. 21 bikes started the race, 13 finished. Six different winners in seven races. Riders crashing out of the lead; Bagnaia today, Quartararo for the season. Four of the top seven qualifiers left the party early today, including Pecco, Miller (mechanical), Brad Binder and Rossi, who both crashed and retired. Franco Morbidelli had intestinal issues all weekend and could only manage P9. Thus, today’s top seven finishers were what I think of as ‘young guys’—Vinales, Mir, Pol, Quartararo, Oliveira, Nakagami and, of all people, Alex Marquez.

So, let’s see. The field was truncated today the way the entire season has been. Things have been unpredictable, to the extreme. With Marc Marquez sidelined, effectively, for the season, all of a sudden it’s anybody’s ball game. Six winners in seven races. Today, Vinales got his first win since last year. Suzuki prodigy Joan Mir keeps getting closer; all he needs to do is to sort out qualifying and he’ll be right there on a regular basis. Dude can ball. There was some question, back in the spring, whether there would be a MotoGP season at all. That question has been answered with an emphatic YES.

Another thing. The competition for seats is heating up, too. From the rumors floating about over the past few days, placeholders like Smith and Rabat will be giving way to young guns like Bastianini and Marini. The competition is just so close that teams and manufacturers can’t afford not to have two competitive riders on their teams, any of which could actually win a race. At least this year. And once Marquez hangs up his leathers. Just saying. One more example of how this season will be remembered as an outlier for a long time.

The top ten standings for 2020 are simply ridiculous:

  1. Dovizioso 84
  2. Quartararo 83
  3. Vinales 83
  4. Mir 80
  5. Morbidelli 64
  6. Miller 64
  7. Nakagami 63
  8. Oliveira 59
  9. Rossi 58
  10. Espargaro 57

Top four riders separated by four points; next six separated by 7. Everyone in the top ten has a puncher’s chance of winning the title in this slightly out-of-round year. With lots of crashing going on, both in practice and during races, standings can change quickly. Had Bagnaia not kicked away his win, he would be just outside the top ten for the year. He’s young and coming back from a serious injury, so we’re going to cut him some slack and look forward to great things from him in the foreseeable future.

For awhile there, during the MotoGP race, it looked like we would get to hear the Italian national anthem four times today, the excruciatingly long version to open the festivities and the short instrumental version at the conclusion of all three races. Italians stood on the top two steps of the podium in Moto3 and Moto2; Pecco could have and should have made it a hat trick. Regardless, it was a good day to be Italian in Rimini.

Next week it’s Catalunya, where the natives are restless and most of the Spanish riders in MotoGP call home. No question this is a fun season for the fans, especially those of us who don’t have a dog in these fights but are in it to see the paint-trading. We will try to put something on paper mid-week to keep your short attention spans focused.

Rimini local color aerial

                                       A little local color from Rimini.

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17 Responses to “MotoGP 2020 Misano II Results”

  1. Starmag Says:

    Kudos on 45 years. Here I though my wife and I were showing some real patience and understanding with 28 years under our belts. The average marriage lasts 8 years in the US.
    https://www.thebalance.com/how-long-do-average-u-s-marriages-last-4590261

    As for the race, Mir going from back in the pack to the front again was impressive. As for the championship at this point, I hope Mir pulls it off for the underdog Suzuki. He’s definitely got a shot at it.

    Despite his crash, kudos to Baggy Eyes as well, who’s a real charger for a rookie that may need to fine tune his enthusiasm a bit. When he does, look out.

    None of these guys have the consistency of Antman, but he will be facing the heat from all directions when he returns. The burner seems as though it’s been turned up a notch.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Old MOron Says:

    Congrats to you and the missus on your 45th, Brucey. I’m happy for both of you. Valley crashed out today, so I might as well spend my good vibes on you lot. 🙂

    Actually I had plenty to be happy about in Moto3 with Romano Fenati taking the win. Pretty cool. It was interesting to compare his comments with those of his team manager after the race.

    Simon interviewed the team manager and he said something like, “We’re really happy because Romano showed us that he can change.” Later on when he was interviewed, Romano said something like, “Today I made passes on the INSIDE.”

    Of course he’s famous for those beautiful and daring outside lines, but today he gained positions on the inside. I guess he’s been working on his racecraft, and today he put it all together.

    I was worried during the final few laps in MotoGP, when Pol was defending against Quarty and Mir. Pol is kind of hothead, and I was expecting him to take somebody out. As things worked out, he inherited a deserved 3rd place.

    Moto2 was drama overdose, thanks to the weather. It was fun. I like that kind of stuff.

    And I like MotoGP for Dummies kind of stuff. Keep it up, Brucey!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mad4TheCrest Says:

    Such a great season. It’s a small but welcome silver lining to this dark dark COVID cloud. Happy (but surprised) that Vinny managed a win; bummed for the Doctor and his VR46 academy crew to leave on a downer after last weeks celebrations, and feeling really good that I have Mir as part of my fantasy team (Vinales, Mir, and Binder).

    But hey, nothing has me jazzed this weekend as much as that an American rider made a podium in WSBK. Long, dry, spell – broken!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Allison Sullivan Says:

    Ugh, Pecco! That’s gotta be soul destroying … Ducati didn’t have a good day at all, Pecco in the weeds, MIller covered in grease, and Dovi way down the rankings. At least there was a good stoush for the minor placings. Mir has no respect for anybody – FQ spent laps crawling all over the back of Pol Espargaro, and Mir just bowled up to the party and went “Thanks bros, I’ll have that second place …” LOL. That he’s third in the overall just goes to show that staying upright goes a long way this season.

    Ups and downs in the minors for me … Tatsuki Suzuki out injured in Moto3, but Marco Bezzecchi with another good result in Moto2. Hoping JM88 is back on track for Cataluyna.

    I think Frankie got all but taken out by Aleix Espargaro in the crush at the start, as well as having to contend with delhi belly all weekend. That he ended up 9th was a pretty good result with all that going on.

    No racing next weekend? I”m getting kind of used to the double header formats, it’s good watching for sure. I don’t think anyone had high hopes for this season, but it’s turning out to be banger.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bruce Allen Says:

    Morbidelli belly.

    Like

  6. Vrooom Says:

    The Bag man and Mir are the two guys I’m watching. Mir appears fast and Pecco will get faster as he heals. What a season, maybe Marquez should retire, I’ve never seen a top 4 that close this late in a season, at least not for decades.

    Like

  7. Bruce Allen Says:

    Ban Marquez for conduct unbecoming.

    Like

  8. Buzz Says:

    I wonder if the new track surface didn’t have enough rubber laid down causing all the low sides?

    Bruce mused earlier that Formula 1 may have caused ripples but F1 doesn’t race at Misano. F1 raced at Mugello a few weeks ago and I don’t believe they’ve run there in a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Old MOron Says:

    Great qualifying session for Yamaha today. Great job by Miller, too, to have come through Q1 then put it at the top of the second row.

    Several pilots have good race pace. Looking forward to tomorrow’s race. We should get a new championship leader, considering how badly Dovi flubbed qualifying.

    Like

    • Bruce Allen Says:

      Yeah, I got all this stuff covered. This year, the bike/track dynamic, i.e., Yamaha loving Jerez and Catalunya, KTM loving Red Bull Ring, etc., is more pronounced than any year I can remember.

      Like

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