MotoGP: World Championship Race Results From Valencia II (Updated)

MotoGP: World Championship Race Results From Valencia II (Updated)

© 2020, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

MotoGP Race

MotoGP points

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Morbidelli and Miller stage a last lap thriller, Mir crowned MotoGP™ World Champion

A stunning final lap scrap sees the Italian take his third win of the year after fending off Miller, with Mir taking seventh and with it the 2020 World Championship

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) put on a spectacular duel in the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana as a tense race-long chess match turned into a final lap scrap for glory. It was decided by less than a tenth but it’s Morbidelli who comes out on top, gloves off to take his third win of the year and move up to second in the standings. Miller was forced to settle for second in the end, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) once again completing the podium. Slightly further back, Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) made dreams a reality as he took seventh place and secured the 2020 MotoGP™ World Championship, with key rivals not able to do enough to stop the Majorcan’s history-making charge.

 

Franco Morbidelli (21) beats Jack Miller (43) to the checkered flag to win at Valencia II. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Franco Morbidelli (21) beats Jack Miller (43) to the checkered flag to win at Valencia II. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

As the lights went out, Miller put in a characteristically good start to take the holeshot before then heading wide out of Turn 1, leaving Morbidelli in the lead as the Yamaha man kept it clean to take over. Pol Espargaro pounced for third ahead of front-row starter Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), but then some shuffles just behind pulled immediate focus.

First, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) had sliced through from P14 on the grid to seventh after a storming start, but things didn’t go so well for fellow contender Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT). The Frenchman struggled to get it stopped into Turn 6 on Lap 1 and dropped back – right back – before it went from bad to worse. Sadly, his title hopes were over, ‘El Diablo’ sliding out of the race and contention.

Meanwhile at the front, Morbidelli had the hammer down and Rins was up to fifth – one place gained ‘thanks’ to a crash for Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) as the day sadly came to an early end for the Frenchman after a good start and a battle with the number 42. And Mir? Mir was in eighth, but was getting into the groove and past Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) to set off after Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) ahead of him.

Morbidelli rode on, Miller remained his shadow, and the two men kept edging away to make it a duel. It became a brief duel over third too as Nakagami homed in on Pol Espargaro, the Japanese rider once again showing some stunning pace. But the charge would end with disappointment as just as he struck, Nakagami slid out – leaving the KTM to take back third and now with a small cushion back to fourth.

The man in fourth by then was Rins, and with Suzuki’s late race pace of late, Pol Espargaro couldn’t afford to relax too much. But this weekend it seemed just off the podium was the maximum the Aragon GP winner could manage as he held station, two more KTMs on his tail. Initially the first was Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), but Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder was coming in hot. The South African was also keeping Mir at bay as the number 36 failed to make inroads into the gap, seemingly set to take the crown from seventh.

Back at the front, Morbidelli was steadfast but the Petronas Yamaha SRT rider wasn’t getting away as he had done for his previous wins. Miller was with him and gaining, gaining, until he was within touching distance with two to go. And over the line for the final lap, the Australian struck for the front.

Heading up the inside, the number 43 was past and it was game on – but he also headed wide. Morbidelli reacted to hug the apex and slice back through, the Yamaha back ahead and Miller reloading for another shot. That came not long after at Turn 4 as Miller chucked it up the inside, but Morbidelli snapped straight back to grab P1 again at Turn 5.

Down the back straight they went, the Ducati able to show a wheel but no way through. Miller then set himself up for a dive up the inside at Turn 11, but once again there was no way through as the duo got very close for comfort.

Attention then turned to the final corner, but Miller wasn’t close enough to lunge. Could the number 43 get the power down and use the extra grunt to scream past Morbidelli on the run to the line? It was his final chance at the win, but it wasn’t to be. Morbidelli emerged victorious for the third time this season after a magnificent boxing match, and the Italian now sits second in the Championship. Petronas Yamaha SRT are also the top Independent Team. The gap over the line was just 0.093 seconds, tantalisingly close, but it’s a great third podium of the season for Miller nevertheless. Pol Espargaro goes back-to-back in Valencia for his fifth podium of the year in third, another fantastic effort from the Spaniard in his penultimate race for KTM.

Rins’ comeback ride was impressive from P14, but the Suzuki man ran out of steam and eventually missed out on the podium by six tenths as he was forced to settle for fourth. The Spaniard did, however, help Team Suzuki Ecstar claim the Team Championship after a stunning year that’s seen both riders win and challenge for the crown, Mir ultimately taking it.

Binder got the better of Oliveira to return to the top five for the first time since the Austrian GP, and the South African also strengthened his grip on the Rookie of the Year title as he heads for the finale 20 points clear of Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). Oliveira in sixth make it three KTMs in the top six too, and the Portuguese rider arrives on home turf in form.

Just behind the KTM duo, Mir took the chequered flag. Pandemonium raged on the pit wall as Suzuki witnessed their rider come across the line to win the 2020 FIM MotoGP™ World Championship, the young Spaniard joining Barry Sheene, Marco Lucchinelli, Franco Uncini, Kevin Schwantz and Kenny Roberts Jr. as a Suzuki Champion. An incredible achievement from the sophomore, and the entire Hamamatsu factory, after a stunning season.

Dovizioso almost sprung a late surprise as he crossed the line just 0.026 behind Mir and could have possibly gone for a lunge, but he was the second Ducati home and took some solid points. Aleix Espargaro crossed the line in a solid P9 to grab his second top 10 of the season, the Aprilia man taking the flag one place ahead of Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) after a tougher one for the number 12.

Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) finished P11 and three tenths ahead of Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), as Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) and Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) completed the points.

And so, Valencia plays host to yet another Championship-deciding MotoGP™ race – and an amazing last lap duel. Suzuki now head to Portimao with the triple crown in sight, although the Japanese marque are equal on points with Ducati in the fight to become Constructor Champions. Whichever bike crosses the line first will win the Championship. See you in less than a week’s time for another stunning MotoGP™ showdown!

MotoGP™ podium

1 Franco Morbidelli* – Petronas Yamaha SRT – Yamaha 41:22.478

2 Jack Miller* -Pramac Racing – Ducati +0.093

3 Pol Espargaro -Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – KTM +3.006

*Independent Team riders

Franco Morbidelli: “It was an unbelievable win, I gave everything all race long and finally I had to dig deeper to find something else at the last lap because Jack was there and was able to catch up at the end and fight at the end. I had to find something extra and luckily I was able to pull it out! It was a wonderful fight against Jack. It’s always nice to fight with him, win or lose, so I enjoyed the battle and congrats to him, he was just as good as me. I have a great feeling about this year, we did great and I’m looking forward to party tonight and then go to Portimao!”

 

 

 

More, from another press release issued by Dorna:

Joan Mir is the 2020 MotoGP™ World Champion

Sunday, 15 November 2020

 

Joan Mir. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Joan Mir. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) is the 2020 FIM MotoGP™ World Champion. After six podiums and a victory in the Europe GP, the Majorcan was 37 points clear coming into take two at Valencia and nothing could shake the Suzuki rider. A seventh-place finish defended to the final corner assures him the crown, with Mir becoming the first Moto3™ Champion to win the premier class title and the first to win it for Suzuki in 20 years.

Mir’s path to glory began in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup in 2013, where he took a podium as a rookie, before 2014 saw the Majorcan end the year second overall after a number of wins. In 2015 a full season in the FIM Moto3™ Junior World Championship awaited, where he came fourth overall but took four wins and a further three podiums as he fought for the title to the end. Late that same year, Mir also made his debut in the Moto3™ World Championship – qualifying fifteenth and then fighting for sixth as an injury replacement at Phillip Island. The Majorcan crashed out, but had already made an impression.

He joined Moto3™ full time for 2016 and immediately began to impress. Points first time out, a top five in his third ever Moto3™ race and then a first victory in Austria – from a first pole – saw Mir end the year fifth overall and as Rookie of the Year. That made the Spaniard a firm favourite for the title the following year and he didn’t disappoint, coming out guns blazing in 2017 to take the first two victories of the season.

More wins at Le Mans and Catalunya prefaced three victories in a row in Germany, Czechia and Austria, before another in Aragon set up the Majorcan’s first shot at the crown at Motegi. It wasn’t to be as Mir failed to score for the first time all season, but at Phillip Island he bounced back in style.

Upon his return to the venue where he made his debut only two years earlier, Mir was untouchable as he took his ninth win of the year and wrapped up the crown, becoming the 2017 Moto3™ World Champion.

Mir then moved to Moto2™ with the EG 0,0 Marc VDS team. As a rookie in the intermediate class, the Spaniard continued to impress as he took four podiums and ended the season in sixth, his trajectory and success having already called the attention of Suzuki. The Hamamatsu factory offered him a seat in MotoGP™ for the following year, and Mir accepted to join the premier class in 2019.

First time out in Qatar, the number 36 impressed on his debut and took eighth before some tougher races followed. By Mugello he was back in the points in 12th, and at Catalunya he took sixth to begin a run of solid top eight finishes. That ended at Brno with a crash before the Majorcan also crashed at the post-race test in the Czech Republic, subsequently side-lining him from the Austrian and British Grands Prix through injury.

Upon his return at Misano, Mir started scoring again and ended the year without a further DNF, taking a best result in his rookie year of fifth in Phillip Island and setting himself up for a sophomore year at the front – right at the front, as it would turn out.

In 2020 pre-season testing, Mir – and Suzuki – had many talking as the Hamamatsu factory put in some impressive performances, but fast forward a few months to Jerez as competition re-started and the duo had a tough first outing as Mir crashed out in the Spanish GP. Next time out the Majorcan took fifth to get some points on the board, before Brno saw another DNF dent his title hopes – but not for long.

From Austria onwards, everything came together. A first MotoGP™ podium in second place prefaced an impressive performance in the Styrian GP where the race was Red-Flagged with Mir in the lead, that seeing him ultimately take fourth. The Majorcan bounced back with three podiums in a row in the San Marino, Emilia Romagna and Catalan GPs, gaining traction in the Championship, before another tough race in Le Mans briefly halted his momentum as Mir took 11th, lacking experience of the conditions. With key rivals Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) also fighting in the fringes of the top ten though, all was far from lost.

MotorLand Aragon was up next and Mir was immediately back on the podium, taking two third places. With the first he also took the Championship lead and arrived into the Gran Premio de Europa as now the clear favourite for the crown, but there was something missing.

That something was a first MotoGP™ win which, despite getting close, the Majorcan had not yet taken. That changed when the premier class headed out to race in Valencia for the first time in 2020 as Mir put in a sublime charge to the flag; cool, calm and collected to take a valuable 25 points and a MotoGP™ winner’s trophy – putting him 37 points clear heading into the penultimate race weekend of the season.

It was a tough Saturday in the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana as he qualified 12th, but as the lights went out for his first match point, the Majorcan soon got to work to move into the top ten. Next it was the top eight, and he only needed a handful of points as his closest challengers ended up off the podium. Mir kept it pitch perfect to assure himself the crown, taking seventh place and crowning himself the 2020 MotoGP™ World Champion.

 

Joan Mir (1) on his lap of honor. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Joan Mir (1) on his lap of honor. Photo courtesy Dorna.

#M1R IN STATS:

Mir has stood on the MotoGP™ podium more than any other rider this season (seven times), including a win at the European GP. This is this first time that a Suzuki rider took seven (or more) premier class podiums since Kenny Roberts Jr. in 2000 (nine).

He’s the first rider to clinch the premier class world title riding a Suzuki since Kenny Roberts Jr. in 2000 (and the first ever in the MotoGP™ era). This is the seventh title for a Suzuki rider in the premier class.

Mir became the 10th different rider in the history of Grand Prix racing to win a Championship with Suzuki, along with: Kenny Roberts Jr. (500cc: 2000), Kevin Schwantz (500cc: 1993), Franco Uncini (500cc: 1982), Marco Lucchinelli (500cc: 1981), Barry Sheene (500cc: 1976, 1977), Dieter Braun (125cc: 1970), Hans-Georg Anscheidt (50cc: 1966, 1967, 1968), Hugh Anderson (125cc: 1963, 1965; 50cc: 1963, 1964) and Ernst Degner (50cc: 1962).

Mir became the first rider to clinch the premier class world title having previously taken the Moto3™ Championship, and the first former Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup rider to win the premier class crown.

He is only the fourth different Spanish rider to take the premier class Championship, along with Alex Criville (1 title), Jorge Lorenzo (3) and Marc Marquez (6).

Mir is the seventh-youngest rider to clinch a premier class World Championship, aged 23 years and 75 days old on race day of the Valencia GP, between Valentino Rossi (22 years and 240 days old) and Jorge Lorenzo (23 years and 159 days old).

At the French GP, Mir took his third podium in three successive premier class races, becoming the first Suzuki rider to do so since Kenny Roberts Jr. in 2000 (from Malaysia to Spain).

At the European GP, Joan Mir took his only win of the season so far, becoming the first premier class World Champion with the lowest number of wins during the season. Prior to Mir, the premier class Champions with the smaller number of wins were Leslie Graham (1949), Umberto Masetti (1950, 1952) and Nicky Hayden (2006), all of them with two wins.

Joan Mir is the first premier class World Champion without a single pole position during the season since Wayne Rainey back in 1992.

 

Joan Mir (36). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Joan Mir (36). Photo courtesy Dorna.

JOAN MIR: “I will probably need a shower to understand the situation! It’s something I’ve been fighting all my life, since I was ten years old I had this dream and I never stopped until I got this title. So what can I say? I can start saying thanks to a lot of people who’ve stayed with me, not only this year but also in the past, to make me who I am and achieve this result. I want to thank first my family, and then Suzuki and the opportunity they gave me in 2018, and now in 2020 two years later I’m the World Champion! I didn’t expect it honestly, I expected it further in the future! But we’ve got the title and now it’s ours, so I’m happy!”

How did he feel before lights out?

“The important thing is that I was looking calm, and looked without pressure, but I wasn’t calm and without pressure I was just super nervous, which is not a bad thing! The truth is that this year was especially difficult because we didn’t just have pressure on track but also at home to not get the virus. It was especially difficult to manage, and thanks to all my crew who managed it in the perfect way.”

When did he start to believe he could win the Championship?

“Styria was the first race where I was really competitive, fighting for the victory. Probably after Misano and Barcelona, then I thought, ‘wait, maybe I’m not only fast in Styria and I’m able to maintain this feeling with the bike!’ For me that was the moment I realised I could do it.”

And how does it feel to become the first Champion for Suzuki in 20 years, joining an incredible history?

“For me, this was the reason to sign with Suzuki. For me, to win a title with any manufacturer is unbelievable and the main target, but I was quite brave in that moment to go with Suzuki because I didn’t expect this potential with the bike in the second year, I expected it further forward. For me to win with Suzuki has something extra, not just this year, but to get a title with Suzuki means something more than normal.”

And what if, in his Moto3™ rookie year, he’d been told he’d be MotoGP™ World Champion just four years later?

“I would have said you were crazy! Race by race, year by year I was getting faster and getting used to the bike quickly and it made my progression so fast, and that was the key to take the MotoGP title in my second year. We probably sacrificed a year in Moto2, I would have liked to spend two years there but that wasn’t ideal so we took the correct decision to come up to MotoGP after my first year in Moto2.”

BIOGRAPHY

First Grand Prix: Australia 2015, Moto3™

First pole position: Austria 2016, Moto3™

First podium: Austria 2016, Moto3™

First win: Austria 2016, Moto3™

Grands Prix: 85 (30 in MotoGP™)

Wins: 12 (1 in MotoGP™)

Podiums: 27 (7 in MotoGP™)

Pole positions: 2 (0 in MotoGP™)

Fastest laps: 6 (0 in MotoGP™)

World Championships: Moto3™ (2017), MotoGP™ (2020)

World Championship career:

2015: Moto3™ – Honda – 1 race – 0 points

2016: Moto3™ – KTM – 18 races, 144 points – 5th

2017: Moto3™ – Honda – 18 races – 341 points – WORLD CHAMPION

2018: Moto2™ – Kalex – 18 races – 155 points – 6th

2019: MotoGP™ – Suzuki – 17 races – 92 points – 12th

2020: MotoGP™ – Suzuki – 13 races – 171 points – WORLD CHAMPION

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:

CLEVER APPROACH SEES MIR CROWNED CHAMPION AS RINS GOES 4TH

 

Joan Mir. Photo courtesy Team Suzuki ECSTAR.
Joan Mir. Photo courtesy Team Suzuki ECSTAR.

 

GRAN PREMIO MOTUL DE LA COMUNITAT VALENCIANA

RACE RESULTS:

Alex Rins: 4th (+ 3.697)

Joan Mir: 7th (+ 8.703)

The penultimate race of the year, the Valencia GP, was a tense affair for Team Suzuki Ecstar as Joan Mir faced the first match point of the season. However, the young Mallorcan rode an extremely measured and intelligent race, doing enough to take the 2020 MotoGP World Championship crown in style with a round to spare.

Starting the 27 lap race from 12th and 14th on the grid, Mir and Alex Rins knew it would be tough to repeat the 1-2 result they achieved a week earlier at Ricardo Tormo. However, both riders made solid starts to gain useful places in the early laps.
While Rins began to chase down the lead group, Mir played it safe and ensured he had enough heat into his hard front tyre before lining up those ahead of him.
Rins worked his way into a decent fifth place by Lap 11, and Mir moved up into eighth one lap later.

With just a handful of laps left, Rins had settled into a strong rhythm and he was keeping his rivals at bay. He took a strong fourth place finish to keep himself in the hunt for second in the Championship, simultaneously helping Team Suzuki Ecstar to secure the 2020 Teams’ Championship.

Aware of what needed to be done to take the much coveted crown, Mir took a calm and clever approach to the race, keeping his cool in the high pressure situation and avoiding unnecessary risk. He finished the Valencia GP in seventh place, but crucially has a gap of 29 points in the standings, meaning he is confirmed as the 2020 MotoGP World Champion, an incredible achievement in only his second season in the class, and a momentous day for Suzuki who win their first title for 20 years whilst also celebrating their centenary year and 60 years in racing.

Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:

“First of all, I have to say a big congratulations to Joan! This season has been very difficult, not only because of the strength of all the competitors but also because of the global situation with Covid-19. Alex has also had a good day and helped us to get the Teams’ Championship, another great achievement! Thank you to everyone who has been fighting with us to make this season a special one, especially to all our staff, sponsors, and fans. I’m very happy, finally we’ve achieved our biggest dream.”

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“It’s an unbelievable feeling, we could not have hoped for more! To win the title this year, when it’s Suzuki’s 100th anniversary and the 60th year in racing, and also 20 years since the last title – in my wildest dreams I couldn’t imagine something as good as this, it’s truly great. Huge congratulations must go to Joan, he was so consistent and professional throughout. Alex also did a really good job today to get decent points and 4th place. Finally I must thank all the staff – whether at home, in Japan, or here at the circuit – they’ve all worked incredibly hard for this. Thank you so much for everything.”

Joan Mir:

“World Champion? It sounds amazing! It’s really hard to find the words at the moment, but I must say thank you to so many people; to Suzuki for this opportunity, I’m so happy to give them a title! To be the person who brings them another crown after 20 years is an unbelievable feeling and a true honour. The entire team did an incredible job, and I’m just so overjoyed with this championship win. I’ve come a long way since being a child with hardly any money to go racing, and my family are to thank for this. I worked very hard to get to the top and this reward is amazing. Today’s race wasn’t easy, but I got the result I needed and I hope to have a great end in Portimao. It’s time to celebrate but we must do it responsibly.”

Alex Rins:

“In the end, I wasn’t able to get the title, but I’m so happy for Joan and all of Team Suzuki! It’s incredible that he won the championship in only his second year, and the entire team have worked so hard to achieve this. So the feeling is amazing, even for me. Today Franco had a very strong pace and the best I could do was 4th, but I’m still fighting to get second place in the standings, so I’m happy with the result. I’m hoping to finish the season on a high when we go to Portimao!”

 

 

 

More, from another press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:

A HISTORY OF SUZUKI WORLD CHAMPIONS

Suzuki’s World Champions from 1962 to 2020.

Ernst Degner – 1962:

Degner designed Suzuki’s new 50cc and 125cc racing machines in 1961, and remarkably the following year, in 1962, he became Suzuki’s first World Champion taking the crown in the 50 cc class.

Hugh Anderson – 1963, 1964, 1965:

After winning a host of titles in his native New Zealand, and three British titles, Hugh went on to claim four World Championships with Suzuki. He won the 125cc World Championship in 1963 and 1965 and the 50cc in 1963 and 1964.

Hans-Georg Anscheidt – 1966, 1967,1968:

Hans-Georg Anscheidt was a German Grand Prix motorcycle racer who won three consecutive FIM 50cc World Championships from 1966 to 1968 as a member of the Suzuki Racing Team.

Dieter Braun – 1970:

The 1970 World GP 125cc Championship was won by Dieter Braun on a bike on loan from Suzuki.

 

Barry Sheene (7). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki Press Office.
Barry Sheene (7). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki Press Office.

 

Barry Sheene – 1976, 1977:

The British legend took the Championship for Suzuki in 1976 with five superb victories, and again in the 1977 season with six. He remains the last British rider to become World Champion in the reigning class.

Marco Lucchinelli – 1981:

Fighting with Kenny Roberts and Randy Mamola, the Italian was crowned the 1981 World Champion to take his place in MotoGP history.

Franco Uncini – 1982:

In a year that saw the grid full of further legendary names including Freddie Spencer, Kenny Roberts and Barry Sheene, Uncini took the title on his Suzuki with 5 victories and 7 podiums.

 

Kevin Schwantz (34). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki Press Office.
Kevin Schwantz (34). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki Press Office.

 

Kevin Schwantz – 1993:

The Texan was crowned World Champion after epic battles with Wayne Rainey, in a year full of well-known names, including Mick Doohan, Luca Caladora, Alex Barros and Alex Crivillé.

 

 

Kenny Lee Roberts (10). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki Press Office.
Kenny Lee Roberts (10). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki Press Office.

Kenny Roberts Jr. – 2000:

After winning the title in 2000, Kenny Roberts Jr. made history when the Roberts family became the first Father/Son World Champions.

 

Joan Mir (36). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki ECSTAR.
Joan Mir (36). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki ECSTAR.

 

Joan Mir – 2020:

In an extraordinary year, with a shortened and condensed calendar, the Mallorcan’s incredible consistency and impressive focus paid off at the end of the 14 races and he took the Riders’ World Championship in style for Suzuki after a 20 year wait for the factory. This achievement was made even more special as 2020 marks the 100th anniversary since the Suzuki company was founded, and the 60th anniversary of their start in racing.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha SRT:

Dominant ride from Morbidelli to take third win of 2020

Franco Morbidelli wins Valencia GP, Fabio Quartararo crashes out and PETRONAS Yamaha SRT proclaimed best 2020 Independent Team

After a faultless performance and an exceptional last lap, Franco Morbidelli took his third victory of 2020 at the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana. Unfortunately team-mate Fabio Quartararo’s Valencia race was brought to an early end, due to a Turn 6 crash on lap nine. PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team have secured the Independent Teams title for the second year running.

It was a perfect start for Morbidelli, who maintained his lead from pole position on the opening lap and started setting fastest laps early on. Holding station at the front of the field, the Italian was able to extend the gap to over a second ahead of the closest rider at the mid-point of the race. Managing the lead until the final lap Franco put in an exceptional last effort to hold off Jack Miller and take his third victory of 2020. Morbidelli is now second in the world standings with 142 points.

Team-mate Quartararo was forced wide in Turn 2 on the opening lap, when riders bunched together on track, dropping him down to last place. The Frenchman was quick to start making a few places back, but he had his work cut out to make his way through the field. Unfortunately, Fabio’s race came to an early end with a Turn 6 crash on lap nine. With 125 points to his name, Quartararo is now fifth in the riders’ standings with one race to go.

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT will go into the Grande Prémio de Portugal next weekend (20-22 November), the final MotoGP round of the year, as 2020 Independent Team champions.

Razlan Razali

Team Principal

It was really good to see Franco take his third win of the MotoGP season, especially in a race where he was strong until the end and we had a very nerve-wracking final lap. It has given us a real boost today. On the other side of the garage, it was unfortunate that Fabio crashed out. Hopefully he will be able to finish the year with a good result in the final race next weekend.

As a team, we are really happy to celebrate our second Independent Team title in only our second year in the Championship. Congratulations to all the team members, partners and fans.

It has been a tough MotoGP championship this year and we tried to take it all the way to the final race, but unfortunately we weren’t able to do so. I want to congratulate Suzuki and Joan Mir on winning the championship today; they have done a fantastic job together this year.

Unfortunately we weren’t able to make the most of today’s Moto2 and Moto3 races, or achieve the target that we had set for ourselves. We have the last race of the season next weekend in Portugal, so our aim will be to turn our fortunes around and have a good final event of 2020.

Franco Morbidelli

1st (41’22.478)

It was the best victory of the year, maybe even the best one of my life! It was a complicated race: I felt that we had good potential all weekend, but then we opted for the hard front tyre in the race and I had to change my riding style slightly. I couldn’t pull away from Jack [Miller] like I wanted to, despite trying so hard, and I knew that he would be a strong competitor if he got close to me. It was all about giving more than you have on the last lap and that’s what both of us did. We had a really nice, clean fight. I’ve always liked battling Jack because he is tough but clean in his battles, and he was strong today so congratulations to him. I am so happy with the win today so thank you to the team as well. I also want to say congratulations to Joan [Mir] for winning the title this year; he has been a really strong competitor this year.

Fabio Quartararo

DNF (+19 laps)

Unfortunately I couldn’t do anything today to take the championship fight to the final race. We just didn’t have the pace. I was pushing with more than what I had today and that was why I made some mistakes. P10 might have been possible today, but I wanted more than that and instead I made those mistakes. We have had some good points this year and we have positives going into the future, but right now it’s tough to accept that we haven’t won this year. It’s true that we could have done better, but it’s easy to say that now. Also Joan [Mir] has been very strong and very consistent, so he deserves this championship and my congratulations go to him. I hope that we can finish this season in a good way at the final race in Portimäo.

 

 

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