MotoGP 2020 Catalunya Results

© Bruce Allen.         September 27, 2020

Fabulous Fabio fabulous at Montmelo 

All three races on Sunday offered clear examples of socially redeeming values. In Moto3, South Africa’s second-favorite son, little brother Darryn Binder, exhibiting perseverance, winning his first ever grand prix race, a virtual and joyful two-wheeled deflowering. In Moto2, Luca Marini, Valentino Rossi’s half-brother, won again, showing great intestinal fortitude in holding off a surprisingly upright Sam Lowes. Finally, in MotoGP, NKIT Fabio Quartararo, his good sense and team mentality on clear display, politely took the lead from teammate Franco Morbidelli on Lap 9, held off a late rush by the Suzuki contingent, and seized the lead in the 2020 MotoGP European Championship.

Practice and Qualifying 

Friday

Left on the outside looking in after FP2: Rins, Miller, Dovizioso, Oliveira, Bagnaia. All four Yams in top ten.

Moto2 Friday combined

1 S. Lowes

2 L. Marini   

3 M. Schrotter

4 F. Di Gianntonio

Moto3 Friday combined

1 R. Fernandez

2 J. Masia

3 R. Fenati

4 T. Arbolino

Saturday 

FP3, every rider’s worst nightmare, unfolded with relatively few surprises in the premier class. Four Yamahas and 3 KTMs advanced directly, led by Quartararo. Danilo Petrucci surprised in P6 as did fellow Ducati pilot Johann Zarco in P4. Sneaking into Q2 (P10) in front of Pecco Bagnaia was Suzuki New Kid In Town #36, Joan Mir. The poor souls having to endure Q1 would include Jack Miller and series leader Dovi, Rins, the LCR contingent, both of whom ended up in the kitty litter, and the usual suspects. Cal Crutchlow has cemented his reputation as the Black Knight of MotoGP. As he left the track medical center, having moments earlier been cleared to return to racing post-surgically for arm pump, he lost his footing and ruptured a tendon or two in his ankle. Cal soldiered on in FP3 but could only manage P16, one of more than a few riders caught out at Turns 2 and 5, which seem especially treacherous when it’s windy.

Just to be clear. If you’re an Andrea Dovizioso, say, contending for a world championship and you have to go through Q1, you must proceed directly from a full FP4 to Q1, then finish that 15-minute session in P1 or P2 in order to earn the right to proceed directly to Q2, take a leak in there somewhere, where you must finish in the top three to just be on the front row on Sunday, from where you desperately hope to fight for a win, or at least a podium, and you’re six-tenths slower than Quartararo in the time attack. That is what we used to call a long row to hoe. Especially when the margins are so thin. It appeared reasonable, on Saturday, to expect a new series leader heading into the off week.

This competition, by the way, is what we were hoping for back in the dark, dreary days of 2014, when it was The Big Three and a bunch of world class junk. From the sounds of it, one gets the sense that, after all this time, perennial back markers—Tito Rabat, Bradley Smith, perhaps Aleix—will be having to tell their sponsors that Ducati and Aprilia no longer want their money. Lots of young talent in Moto2; management wants results in the premier class and is less interested in the sponsor money you bring if you can’t compete for a top six on a regular basis.

Over in Moto2, Sam Lowes is doing his FP3 impression of one of my favorite riders from back in the day, Frenchman Randy de Puniet who, in 2013, finished each race that season (when he did not DNF) from a lower position than he qualified, thus earning the sobriquet Fast on Saturday. Joe Roberts and Jake Dixon, the token Anglo-Saxons, would be working in Q1. Again, it appeared reasonable to believe Sam, or someone, would set a new all-time track record during Q2, being only a tenth or two down in FP3.

FP3 in Moto3, I’m told, found an unusual variety of overachievers and underachievers. All three series leaders– Albert Arenas, John McPhee as per usual, and Ai Ogura–would have to fight their way through Q1.

MotoGP Q2 on Saturday afternoon was your basic Yamaha clambake. One by one, Quartararo, Rossi (!), Vinales and, finally, Morbidelli took aim at pole, attempting to dislodge either a teammate or a brand-mate. Late in the session Frankie got it all going at one time and posted the only sub-1:39 lap of the weekend, a tenth off Lorenzo’s lap record set in 2018. On Michelins.

Morbidelli, Quartararo and Rossi would make up Row 1 on Sunday, with Vinales starting from the middle of Row 2. Jack Miller lunged into P4 on his last set of qualifying tires. Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder would rep KTM in the top 10, while Miller, Zarco and Petrucci would do the same for Ducati. Joan Mir, on the Suzuki, hovered in P8. And, lest we forget, series leader Andrea Dovizioso would be starting Sunday’s race from the middle of Row 6.

Sunday 

Moto3: Series leader Albert Arenas gets skittled on Lap 6 by a morose John McPhee, who hurt his own championship aspirations as well. With too many lead changes to count, the frontrunners, at various points in the day, included Gabriel Rodrigo, Tony Arbolino, Dennis Foggia, Jaume Masia. The last lap provided a showdown between leader Arbolino and challenger Binder, who went through on the Italian at Turn 5 and held him off, nervous as Sean Connery in a spelling bee, for the rest of the lap. Ai Ogura, in P2 for the year heading into the race, was curiously unable to gain any real ground on the grounded Arenas, delivering a P11 and a series of confused, stunned looks. Arbolino sits in P4 for the year, a point ahead of Celestino Vietti. Heading into the second half of this strange year, it’s still anyone’s championship. Just as a point of reference, Ogura’s 122 points at this time compares to Marc Marquez’s point total for the entire 2019 season—420. A compressed season and serious competition at every round. At one point today there was a 20-bike lead group. Gotta love it.

Moto2:  Italian heartthrob Luca Marini, he of the Rossi family, did nothing on Sunday to discourage those people considering him for a satellite Ducati seat in MotoGP next season, winning today’s race and adding to his series lead with a very grown-up performance. He fought off a surprisingly strong challenge from Brit Sam Lowes, who was leading late but whose tires were in tatters with three laps to go. Marini, with his half-brother’s sense of the moment, chose the last lap of the race to go back through on Lowes for the win. Fabio de Giannantonio came in a lonely third, Jorge Navarro in P4 and the American guy, Joe Roberts, managed a highly respectable P5. Enea Bastiannini, in second place for the year and also moving to MotoGP next season, recovered from a poor start to finish in P6.

MotoGP:  Despite young Fabio Quartararo claiming the win in today’s race, even with three bikes in the top nine, it felt kind of like a loss for Team Yamaha today, when Valentino Rossi, the legend himself, crashed out of P2 on Lap 16, an unforced error, for a second consecutive DNF. Franco’s P4 could have been a win but for tires. Lord only knows how Vinales worked his way up from P5 at the start to P15 at the end of the first lap, then took all day and several crashers in front of him to manage a top ten, this the guy with expectations of fighting for a title.

In his 350th start, with a chance to claim his 200th premier class podium, Vale let it get away from him. Though his tires may have contributed to his fall, the rider is, first and foremost, responsible for managing his rubber. Yesterday he signed his contract to ride for the Petronas Yamaha SRT team next year on a one year deal. This, one suspects, will allow for his well-deserved 2021 victory lap, as well as opening up vast new marketing opportunities, putting #46 in teal and black. It will set the stage for the entry of a VR46 racing team in the MotoGP grid for 2022.

The team that must have felt like the real winners today was Suzuki factory racing, fronted by Joan Mir and Alex Rins. In finishing in P2 and P3 respectively, they broke a string of 20 years without a Suzuki on a Montmelo podium, and put two riders on a podium of any kind for the first time since 2007. Rins started in P13 and had plenty of tire left at the end. Mir, out of P8, might have had a chance to reel in Fabio were there two or three more laps. The standings at the top of the heap got a little scrambled today:

Screenshot (89)

Looking Ahead

Two weeks to Le Mans, followed directly by two rounds in Aragon, which has the ring of the old joke in which the contest featured a first prize of a week in Philadelphia and a second prize of two weeks in Philadelphia. Whatever. Plenty of history lying around in that part of the world. The Ducs and Yamahas have done well at Le Mans of late, and there’s always the chance for rain. A good flag-to-flag race would be just the thing to separate the men from the boys.

The suits at Yamaha must be impressed by the performance their engineers have coaxed out of the 2020 YZR-M1, after a couple of years being the dogs of the big three. With three promising riders, a living legend, and a competitive package for next year all but assured, these guys all need Foster Grants. One hopes the success Suzuki has experienced on track of late translates into increased sales. This is an industry that deserves to survive the pandemic. I have heard it referred to as “the yachting class,” but there’s plenty of everyday people cheering their lungs out when it’s not the plague out there.

We welcome your comments.

For your enjoyment:

Screenshot (76)Screenshot (82)

Fabio leaning

From the top: Rossi stoppie; Jack Miller on it; Fabio shoulder down.

And some local color for those of you into such things:

Screenshot (81)Screenshot (85)Screenshot (86)Screenshot (87)Screenshot (88)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

23 Responses to “MotoGP 2020 Catalunya Results”

  1. Buzz Says:

    Shame that Rossi had to lose the front again. Winning in MM’s hometown would have been sweet.

    Happy to hear the Petronas contract. If the Wu Fly has finally subsided I will be a small part of his final tour. Once the schedule is released for next year, I’ll start planning.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Starmag Says:

    Mir has been consistent, El Diablo has not despite winning three times. I like Mir’s odds for the championship. Nicky Hayden only won two races the year he was champion.

    When Methuselah crashed, I felt a great disturbance (anguish) in the Force.

    Pol crashes Again. Good luck Honda. Even Ant Brother at the back finished ahead of him. Again.

    How anyone can be a Top Gun fan escapes me. Masochists possibly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Old MOron Says:

      Wifey and I were part of that great disturbance in the Force. Things sure were awesome until then.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce Allen Says:

      Happy to have been jocking Joan Mir on these pages since he was in Moto3. Imagine how he will do once he figures qualifying out. As with the other manufacturers, other than those of #93 Honda, the Zukes will do well at some tracks and not so well at others. Other than his two crashes (one not his fault? Can’t recall.) and Red Bull II (started P3, finished P4) he has started/finished HIGHER than where he qualified: 10-5 6-2 3-4 8-3 11-2 8-2. He, Fabio and Marquez are my Designated Aliens for next year.

      Like

    • Bruce Allen Says:

      Great question! If Pol can’t stay on the KTM, how on earth will he handle the RC? I tell you who could wrestle the RC–Mir.

      Like

  3. Mad4TheCrest Says:

    Is there a bigger disappointment this year than Vinales’ crazy ups and downs? I hear the anguish of MM’s fans for his injury-ruined season, and of Rossi’s legions as he tumbled through the gravel once again while at the sharp end of a race. But MM will heal and at least it’s clear Rossi is still trying hard and not just phoning it in. No such excuse for Pop Gun.

    Suzuki’s riders are doing great, as are the young Yamaha and Ducati satellite boys. I was impressed by Nakagami today on the tough-to-ride Honda, and Crutchy (has anyone lived their nickname more closely) deserved kudus for hanging in there despite all his wounds.

    Zarco and Dovi may need strong drinks to ease their psychic pain after their chain reaction crashes triggered by Petrucci’s rear slip and slide early in the race.

    Joe Roberts did great in Moto2. His battles with Navarro were fun to watch when the camera turned their way, but kept them both from gaining on DiGi for a chance at the podium.

    A great GP weekend and another fine preview and review, Bruce!

    Like

  4. Old MOron Says:

    Goddamnit, Valley has me living the old ABC’s Wild World of Sports introduction. https://youtu.be/x7frGJf77AA

    Like

  5. Allison Sullivan Says:

    I didn’t see as much of the action this weekend as I usually would, being that I was (gasp) riding my bikes all weekend. Summer is rapidly running out in Canuckistan. And Friday night I went racing for the first time. On a CBR125. On a kart track. I now have a new appreciation for this whole thing.

    My main Moto3 man is still out of action, but a Binder win was all right by me. I was hoping that Jorge Martin might come back with a fire under his backside in Moto 2, but alas, that honor went to Augusto Fernandez, quite literally! That was some funny video … “look around, look around, why is my bike stopping … AH, my butt is on fire!” At least Marco Bezzecchi soldiered away and put some points on the board.

    I was cheering for Frankie this weekend and was happy he got a good result, but I was most impressed with Mir. KId never seems to get the best starts, but his composure and tire management skills have been impressive all season, and now the results are coming his confidence is sky high and it shows. This season may all come down to who managed to stay upright the most, and if that’s the case Mr Mir will be in the thick of it.

    If Maverick Vinales was your boyfriend, you’d have broken up with him for being a flake by now. Lin Jarvis may be contemplating the same thing, and Valentino Rossi might be contemplating putting young Marini’s ass on Mav’s seat.

    And to your ppint above, Bruce, I actually think it would be a shame for Aleix to get punted for next year. He’s ridden the Aprilia really well this season, it’s a slow bike and he’s actually done very well on it. But results are results, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Vrooom Says:

    It was surreal seeing all the Yamaha’s up there but Maverick. No idea what’s up with him. So sorry to see Vale go down, he had second locked up, and that would have left him in great shape in the championship. Fabio was a joy to watch, though I was kind of hoping Morbidelli could hang on. Alas.,

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: