MotoGP 2020 Aragon I Results

© Bruce Allen

Screenshot (134)

Rins, Suzuki capture solid win; madness continues

Let’s just say this about the 2020 MotoGP season. Sensational Suzuki sophomore Joan Mir leads the championship chase with four rounds left. Yet Joan Mir has not won a race of any kind since 2017. There. 

Mir crushed Moto3 in 2017, winning 10 races, including Sepang late in the year, his last win, like, ever. He got promoted to Moto2 in 2018 and finished the year in P6, earning a sudden promotion to MotoGP. His rookie year in the premier class, he completed 14 out of 19 races and finished in P12. This year, other than two DNFs, one of which wasn’t his fault, he has finished no lower than P5, with podiums in his last three outings. I would be remiss if I failed to mention his similarity to Nicky Hayden in 2006, winning the MotoGP championship while recording only two (2) wins. In a year featuring eight winners in the first ten races, it is entirely possible for a Joan Mir to take the title without standing on the top step a single time. I’m sure he would take the trophy; not so sure he would want to live with the record.

Practice and Qualifying 

Friday 

Missed watching FP1 and 2 but got the gist. The big news, of course, was that Rossi contracted the ‘Rona and would miss the race and probably Aragon II. We presume that a man at his youngish age and in his physical condition will come through it unscathed, and wish him a speedy and thorough recovery. Otherwise, on the cold dusty plain of Spain it was all Yamahas all the time. The three remaining riders for Big Blue locked out the top three spots, a barometer of things to come, but not a thermometer. Same thing occurred in FP2—rare that you get two top-three lockouts in one day from the same brand. The erratic Maverick Vinales led both sessions comfortably. Of course he did—his fuel tank was light and no one was throwing elbows at him.

Saturday

FP3 took place Saturday morning in the cold and resulted in no substantive changes in the combined top ten from FP2. The big news was a heavy crash for series leader Quartararo, who was still sitting on a stretcher off-track, appearing to have a real problem in his left knee or hip. Alex Marquez flogged his Repsol Honda directly into Q2 for the first time, unlike big hitters including Andrea Dovizioso, Zarco, hell, the entire Ducati contingent, and three of the four KTMs, Pol Espargaro being the exception, the cream of the KTM crop heading for Repsol Honda after Portimao. So Aprilia had a rider, Aleix Espargaro, moving directly to Q2 while Ducati did not. Jack Miller had a top ten lap waved off due to a yellow flag violation, adding insult to the championship injury he sustained last week when his #2 bike gave up the ghost in France.

One gets the distinct impression that the track characteristics at Aragon favor the Yamaha and frown upon the Italian and Austrian entries. Too, one can imagine the suits screaming at each other while deciding which tracks to include on the 2020 calendar. Ducati wanting Mugello over Aragon, Yamaha wanting out of Austria, Honda not really giving a rip. Dorna Big Cheese Carmelo Ezpeleta gleefully giving all the non-Spanish parties a thorough screwing by having half the calendar running in Spain. Marc Marquez signed off on the thing in June and it was done. Rounds 10 and 11 in the premier class (which did not run at Qatar due to the virus) would take place at Aragon, and KTM and Ducati could just bugger off.

To the chagrin of Andrea Dovizioso, Jack Miller laid down a fast lap late in the session to snatch Q1 from the aging veteran, joining the woke Danilo Petrucci, winner only six days ago, in advancing to Q2. Dovizioso was shown later slamming his glove to the floor, a sight you don’t usually see with the Italian. P13 is nowhere to start of you intend to stay in the hunt at Aragon. With all six manufacturers again represented in Q2, the top of the leader board looked like this:

Rider            Time Remaining

Morbidelli               12:00

Miller                       9:15

Quartararo               8:30

Vinales                     2:00

Quartararo               0.00

The first four rows, then:         

1        Fabio QUARTARARO

2        Maverick VIÑALES

3        Cal CRUTCHLOW

         

4        Franco MORBIDELLI

5        Jack MILLER

6        Joan MIR

         

7        Takaaki NAKAGAMI

8        Danilo PETRUCCI

9        Aleix ESPARGARO

         

10      Alex RINS

11      Alex MARQUEZ

12      Pol ESPARGARO

 

As some of you know, events here in Indiana prevent me from making time to take in Moto3 and Moto2 practice and qualifying. I’ll be watching them on Sunday. Apologies to all.

Race Day

Moto3 was its usual frantic self today. As late as Lap 16, there was an eight-bike lead group. Raul “Fast on Saturday” Fernandez started from pole and, when the smoke cleared, found himself on the third step of the podium, his first career grand prix podium at age 20. Darryn Binder, former Mad Bomber and now just a solid Moto3 contender, flirted with the lead numerous times only to end up on the second step. 19-year old Jauma Masia won today for the second time this year, the top seven bikes separated by less than 4/10ths of a second. Series leader Albert Arenas finished in P7, trailing the podium as well as my boy Romano Fenati, Everyone’s Favorite Scot John McPhee, and 18-year old Jeremy Alcoba. Arenas was fortunate today in that his close rivals had terrible outings—Ai Ogura P14, Italian teen heartthrob Celestino Vietti P9, and Tony Arbolino DNS with a COVID false alarm. As such, he stretched his series lead to 13 points over Ogura and 18 over Vietti. Arbolino, McPhee and Masia are still in the hunt for 2020, but everything needs to go right for them. Not likely.

Moto2 was all about people who have trouble dealing with success. Take former series leader Luca Marini, who laid his machine down on Lap 3, leaving the door wide open for a bevy of challengers. Or Fabio di Giannantonio, who crashed out of the lead on Lap 11. Or Marco Bezzecchi, leading the race and, at that moment, the championship, who crashed out on Lap 19. This made the dogged Sam Lowes, hanging around the backboard like Dennis Rodman, the winner, his second win in a row and third in four years. Runner-up Enea Bastianini took over the 2020 series lead by two points over Lowes, with Marini another three points back. Bezzecchi sits in P4, 25 points behind Bastianini. It’s still anybody’s title in Moto2.

Contrary to widely-held expectations, the MotoGP affair was not a Yamaha clambake. Despite dominating practice and qualifying (P1, P2 and P4), it was the Suzuki contingent of Rins and Mir, separated by the ascendent Alex Marquez in Repsol Honda colors, who hogged the podium today and shook up the 2020 standings. The chief protagonist was Suzuki pilot Alex Rins, a highly competent underachiever, who went through on frontrunner Maverick Vinales on Lap 8 and never relinquished the lead thereafter. A potential Suzuki 1-2, unseen in lifetimes, was interrupted by the startling performance of one Alex Marquez, the highly disrespected Tranche 4 Honda rider who captured his second silver medal in eight days, the first in the wet, today in the dry. Sure, it was a day on which three major competitors—Yamaha, Ducati and KTM—were experiencing purgatory on two wheels, Yamaha and Ducati collecting, collectively, 23 points each and KTM 11.

There were moments during the race when one thought it was definitely a Marquez on the Honda, but the similarity between #73 and #93 is, at times, fascinating. How hard must it be, being Alex Marquez. At one point in your young life, reputed to have been faster than Marc, if not quite as fast as Rins. But then Marc becomes Charles Atlas, the most powerful force ever in your chosen sport. You might have taken up soccer, say, in order to escape his engulfing shadow. But you chose instead to live in the shadow and work on your skills and, if there is a God, show the world one day that you are every bit as fast as Marc Marquez. That it runs in the family and he didn’t get it all. I suspect, if nothing else, young Alex has spit in the eye of the HRC suit who demoted him to the LCR team for 2021 before he had ever raced the bike. The official who made that decision screwed up on three counts. One, he surely pissed off Marc. Two, he wasted a terrific opportunity for the people in marketing to promote Marquez Brothers gear. Three, he may have missed out on a rider who is going to win a few races in his time. Boss Lucio at LCR is bound to be a happy camper these days.

Todays hijinks did little to shake up the top six, as follows:

Round 9

Rider

Points

Round 10

Rider

Points

 

QUARTARARO

115

 

MIR

121

 

MIR

105

 

QUARTARARO

115

 

DOVIZIOSO

97

 

VINALES

109

 

VINALES

96

 

DOVIZIOSO

106

 

NAKAGAMI

81

 

NAKAGAMI

92

 

MORBIDELLI

77

 

MORBIDELLI

87

Other than young Fabio’s tires turning to gruyère, things pretty much stayed the same. This is still anyone’s championship, but the guy with the fewest issues seems to be Joan Mir; he stays pretty calm and takes extremely good care of his tires. I was surprised to see him fade today, thought at around Lap 18 or so that he could win the race.

From Aragon to Aragon

Next week we do it all over again, but with different expectations. The main difference could be the weather, should it turn. That, and the unlikely but not entirely impossible return of Marc Marquez to the grid. That would amp things up.

I’ve prepared a look at the teams and will post it in a few days.

Ciao.

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9 Responses to “MotoGP 2020 Aragon I Results”

  1. Starmag Says:

    Well, it only took a week for Ant Brother to prove me wrong. A 2nd in the wet backed by a 2nd in the dry. I didn’t think he had it in him. Way to go Alex.

    In the absence of Antman, Mir is Mr. Consistent, El Diablo is Mr. Rollercoaster, and Dovi is Mr. Lucky. Pop gun is what, Mr. Moody?

    If Mir bags the championship without a win, it would would be an ironic turn on the old adage of ” winning isn’t everything”. I’d like to see it, but as you say, Mir likely wouldn’t.

    My long shot fav for the championship would be Nakagami. Not too likely though. After all the hard work and money the Japanese have put into Motogp, they haven’t had an open class champ, when even Rhodesia had Gary Hocking in 1961. Who knew?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Old MOron Says:

    Just watched all the races. Fun!
    Moto3 was the knife fight in a phone booth we all love so much.
    Moto2 was the knife fight and the suicides we all love so much.
    MotoGP was the knife fight between unexpected protagonists that we love so much.
    I think Yamaha will be looking at their data all week, trying to figure out what the heck happened.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Allison Sullivan Says:

    Every race this season gets better and better. It’s a good race when I’m yelling at the television …

    Do you think anyone’s noticed that aliens stole Alex Marquez and left a doppelganger in his place? I thought he was going to swallow Rins with four laps to go, but obviously decided after his little trip sideways that points were the better part of valor. For a bike that supposedly only Marc can ride, both Alex and Taka have taken the Honda by the scruff of the neck over the last few races and have the results to prove it. Another solid race from Joan Mir too … who would have picked him as the points leader with four races left? #icanteven.

    I thought Frankie would have had a stronger race, especially after getting such a good start, but he put solid points on the board – as did Nakagami. So tight at the top now. One bad race can completely change your fortunes … “cough” Fabio “cough”. I think #20 will be a sore and unhappy boy tonigjht.

    Marco Bezzecchi in Moto 2 – “bangs head on table”. And Jorge Martin getting punked right on the line, ugh.

    Tatsu had a decent race in Moto3, apparently he had a track limits warning in place for the last couple of laps, which might have been why he didn’t join in the dogfight in that lead group. That last couple of laps of Moto3 was good watching too. Plenty of paint trading going on in there.

    Bring on next weekend. I’m going to be sad when this season is done, it’s been so good!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dale Mensch Says:

    I think a world champion with no wins in three years could be the perfect cap to this bizarre season. :-\
    Super excited for AMarquez, although Oliviera and Binder had a spectacular flash followed by anonymity. Maybe two consecutive seconds in radically different conditions is a sign of a more consistent end of season?
    What was with FQ pulling a Vinales? I haven’t read anything yet that explains that one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Old MOron Says:

      According to crash.net his front tire pressure went through the roof after the third lap. No one knows why.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Dale Mensch Says:

        This serves me right for not reading everything on the internets before writing here 😉
        Right at the start, I saw that Vinales had soft/soft tires while Quartararo and Morbidelli had medium/soft, and I was expecting another Vinales catastrophe where he plans to run out a big lead at the start only to run out of tire before everyone else.
        Saw one site claim that FQ hadn’t tried the medium front all weekend, so without data they guessed wrong on starting tire pressure.
        All in all, one of the more fun races I’ve watched in a long time.

        Like

  5. Bryan Townsend Says:

    I have to admit I underestimated Alex Marquez thinking his second place last week was due to wet conditions. Nakagami keeps over achieving, and meanwhile Miller has to be unhappy with 9th, nothing going his way.

    Like

  6. Dale Mensch Says:

    My vote for most fun tweet of the weekend was Marc Marquez’s: “Hi, everyone! I’m Alex Marquez’s brother”

    Like

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