MotoGP: Joan Mir becomes 2020's ninth different winner and extends championship lead

Joan Mir finally clinched his maiden MotoGP victory in Valencia and now has a healthy 37-point advantage in the championship. 

The Suzuki rider, who has been the most consistent rider all season, pounced on teammate Alex Rins’ mistake at turn eight to take the lead on the 17th lap. From that moment onwards there was no catching the Spaniard and he clinched his first victory since the 2017 Moto3 Malaysian GP. 

Race day in Valencia

Rins crossed the line in second to secure Suzuki’s first one-two since the 1982 German GP at Hockenheim. In fact, Suzuki locked out the podium that year with Randy Mamola, Virginio Ferrari and Loris Reggiani. 

Suzuki’s one-two in the race also sees Rins move up to joint-second in the title fight. He’s 37 points behind his teammate with 50 points still up for grabs. With that stat, it looks like Mir has one hand on the 2020 MotoGP crown. 

Pol Espargaro hung on to the back of the Suzuki duo throughout the race to secure his fourth podium of the season. 

Takaaki Nakagami was the top Honda rider in fifth spot and with a few more laps he may have been able to catch Espargaro. Miguel Oliveira and Jack Miller were fifth and sixth respectively.

Despite having to complete a long lap penalty after hitting Miller in Aragon, Brad Binder fought through to seventh spot ahead of Andrea Dovizioso. Johann Zarco and Danilo Petrucci completed the top 10. 

Aragon race winner Franco Morbidelli struggled on the harder tyres and limped home in 11th ahead of Stefan Bradl. Maverick Vinales finished 13th after being forced to start from pit lane for exceeding his engine allocation for the season.

It was a disastrous race for Fabio Quartararo. The Frenchman crashed on the opening lap, appearing to be put off by Aleix Espargaro’s crash in front of him. The Petronas Yamaha remounted but the damage had already been done. He finished 14th to take two points but he’s now 37 points behind Mir. 

Elsewhere, Francesco Bagnaia and Cal Crutchlow both crashed out of contention on the sixth lap. Bagnaia fell at turn two, whilst Crutchlow hit the deck at turn eight. Lorenzo Savadori fell at the final corner on the second lap of his MotoGP debut, whilst Tito Rabat retired from the race. 

MotoGP returns to Valencia next weekend for the penultimate round of the season. 

MotoGP European GP - Race Result

Moto2: Marco Bezzecchi wins in Valencia as Sam Lowes crashes out

First published: 08 November 2020 by Josh Close

Marco Bezzecchi wins Moto2

Marco Bezzecchi claimed victory in the Moto2 class in Valencia whilst former championship leader Sam Lowes crashed out of second place.

Bezzecchi took control of the race on the second lap when Joe Roberts crashed out of the lead at turn two. From that point onwards the SKY Racing Team VR46 rider controlled proceedings and secured his second victory in the intermediate class. 

Lowes crashed out whilst chasing the Italian. He lost the front heading into turn six, the same corner which he crashed at during this morning’s warmup session. Enea Bastianini finished fourth and takes the championship lead away from Lowes, holding a six-point advantage with two races remaining. 

Jorge Martin and Remy Gardner joined Bezzecchi on the podium. It’s Martin’s fourth podium of the 2020 season, whilst Gardner steps onto the rostrum for the third time. 

Lorenzo Baldassari was fifth after an entertaining battle with Bastianini in the closing stages of the race. Luca Marini was in sixth spot and remains in title contention (+19 points) after getting the better of Hector Garzo. Nicolo Bulega, Xavi Vierge and Jorge Navarro completed the top 10. 

Hafizh Syahrin also fell on the opening lap of the race, crashing out at the final corner. Fabio Di Giannantonio crashed at turn three on the following lap. Simone Corsi and Somkiat Chantra also crashed out of the race. 


Moto3: Raul Fernandez cruises to his maiden victory in Valencia

First published: 08 November 2020 by Josh Close

Raul Fernandez wins Moto3

Raul Fernandez secured his maiden Moto3 victory in Valencia after avoiding the chaos around him in the early stages of the race.

The 20-year-old, starting his 40th GP, gained a 2.5s advantage over the field on the second lap after a collision between Celestino Vietti and Alonso Lopez. Vietti highsided, taking Lopez out of the race with him. 

Fernandez was left out front by himself and he kept a cool head to take the victory for the Red Bull KTM Ajo team. 

The title fight was turned on its head following Vietti’s crash. Championship leader Albert Arenas was also caught up in the accident and his exhaust was badly damaged. He would return to the pits but would re-join three laps down on the field. 

Arenas began battling with the podium contenders, including main title rival Ai Ogura and Darryn Binder, and was consequently black flagged. It’s unknown whether Arenas face further punishment for his actions today. 

Ogura would finish the race in third spot, behind Sergio Garcia, and the 19-year-old is now only three points behind Arenas. For Garcia it’s his second consecutive podium in Valencia following his victory there last year. 

Tony Arbolino was fourth after losing out to Garcia and Ogura in the final two laps of the race. Arbolino is 23 points behind Arenas in the standings. 

Binder was the best of the rest in fifth spot after narrowly beating Carlos Tatay to the line. Stefano Nepa was seventh, with Jeremy Alcoba, Filip Salac and Ayumu Sasaki completing the top 10. 

Polesitter John McPhee crashed out of the race at turn one on lap five. The Scot hit a damp patch heading into the corner and was thrown from his bike. 

Jaume Masia, winner of the last two races, suffered a big crash at turn four. The Leopard Racing rider looked to be in some discomfort afterwards. A few laps later Tatsuki Suzuki went down at turn two after clipping Gabriel Rodrigo. The former was given a long lap penalty as a result of the collision. 

Dennis Foggia, who received a double long lap penalty for exceeding track limits, crashed out on the same lap as Suzuki, falling at turn eight. Niccolo Antonelli also crashed out of the race, falling at turn six.

Romano Fenati ended the race in 13th spot after receiving two separate long lap penalties for exceeding track limits.

Moto2: Xavi Vierge steals pole position away from Joe Roberts in Valencia

First published: 07 November 2020 by Josh Close

Xavi Vierge Moto2 Pole

Xavi Vierge clinched pole position for the European GP in Moto2 with the final flying lap of the session in Valencia. 

The Petronas Sprinta Racing rider secured his first pole position since Argentina last year with a 1:38.936, snatching pole away from Joe Roberts in the process. The duo had just knocked the dominant Sam Lowes off of top spot within a few seconds of each other. 

Saturday in Valencia

Lowes looked set to clinch his third consecutive pole position in the intermediate class after a string of consistent lap-times, but ultimately had to settle for third. The Brit will still be happy with that result given that his main title rival Enea Bastianini could only manage 15th on the grid. 

Remy Gardner heads row two in fourth spot, alongside Marco Bezzecchi and Jorge Martin. Former championship leader, and newly-signed MotoGP rider for 2021, Luca Marini qualified in seventh. Lorenzo Baldassari, Hector Garzo and Nicolo Bulega completed the top 10.

Jorge Navarro and Aron Canet both missed out on a spot in Q2 and will start tomorrow’s race from 19th and 20th respectively. Tetsuta Nagashima also failed to make it through after a crash in Q1 and will line-up 22nd on the grid. Jake Dixon’s weekend came to a premature end yesterday after breaking his wrist in FP2.

Tomorrow’s Moto2 race at Valencia is scheduled to begin at 11:20am (UK Time).

Moto2 European GP - Qualifying Result

MotoGP: Pol Espargaro clinches a sensational pole position in Valencia

First published: 07 November 2020 by Josh Close

Pol Espargaro Valencia Pole

An enthralling MotoGP qualifying session in Valencia ended with Pol Espargaro securing his second MotoGP pole position of the season for Red Bull KTM. 

The Spaniard went quickest with just a few moments remaining in Q2, posting a lap-time of 1:40.434. That was enough to beat Suzuki’s Alex Rins by 0.041s. Rins came agonisingly close to securing Suzuki’s first MotoGP pole in five years.

Takaaki Nakagami clinched back-to-back front row starts in third spot and also led proceedings at one stage. The Japanese rider crashed out at the final corner with a few minutes remaining.

It looked like Johann Zarco would steal pole position away from Pol Espargaro as the flag came out, however the Frenchman lost a chunk of time in the final sector and could only manage fourth. 

Championship leader is Joan Mir will start tomorrow’s race from fifth. That’s the Suzuki rider’s best qualifying result since the Grand Prix of Styria, where he qualified third.

More importantly though, Mir’s nearest title challenger Fabio Quartararo qualified 11th and has been struggling all weekend in the mixed conditions. Fellow title contender Andrea Dovizioso starts alongside the Frenchman in 12th after aborting a fast lap during his opening stint. 

Aleix Espargaro starts alongside Mir on the second row, with Jack Miller heading row three on the Pramac Ducati. Miguel Oliveira (who dominated Q1), Franco Morbidelli and Brad Binder complete the top 10. Binder will have to take a long lap penalty in tomorrow’s race after taking Miller out of the race in Aragon. 

The Repsol Honda duo of Stefan Bradl and Alex Marquez qualified 13th and 14th respectively. Maverick Vinales qualified 15th but will start the race from the pit lane after exceeding his engine allocation yesterday. His removal from the grid elevates Cal Crutchlow to 15th. 

Valentino Rossi returned to action today after being cleared of Covid-19 but could only manage 18th on the timesheets (moving up to 17th on the grid following Vinales’ penalty). French GP winner Danilo Petrucci lines up alongside Rossi on the grid. 

Tomorrow’s European GP is scheduled to begin at 1pm (UK Time).

Moto3: John McPhee masters the wet conditions to take European GP pole

First published: 07 November 2020 by Josh Close

John McPhee Moto3 pole

John McPhee secured his first Moto3 pole of the season after mastering the wet conditions at Valencia this afternoon.

The Petronas Sprinta Racing rider went to the top of the timesheets with a 1:52.514, before improving to a lap-time of 1:52.252 with a couple of minutes remaining. 

Raul Fernandez ended the session in second spot, but his fastest lap-time was later cancelled, promoting Celestino Vietti to second. Championship leader Albert Arenas, who had to come through Q1, completed the front row in third. 

Despite crashing at turns two and four, Alonso Lopez qualified at the front of the second row in fourth spot. Riccardo Rossi was fifth, ahead of last year’s race winner Sergio Garcia in sixth. Garcia had a big crash at turn nine during the session. 

Darryn Binder, Fernandez and Kaito Toba will line-up on the third row, with Andrea Migno completing the top 10. Championship contender Ai Ogura will start tomorrow’s race from 11th, just ahead of Gabriel Rodrigo, who crashed twice on the same lap in Q1. 

Jaume Masia, winner of the last two races, endured a tough afternoon after not setting a fast lap-time before the rain fell in Q1. The Leopard Racing rider starts tomorrow’s race from 28th on the grid. 

Moto3 European GP - Qualifying Times

Moto2: Enea Bastianini leads Sam Lowes on the opening day in Valencia

First published: 06 November 2020 by Josh Close

Enea Bastianini Moto2 Valencia

Enea Bastianini holds a slim advantage over Sam Lowes on the combined Moto2 timesheets heading into Saturday after topping FP2 in Valencia.

The two title contenders finished first and second in this afternoon’s dry session, with Bastianini beating the Brit by 0.057s. It wasn’t all plain sailing for Lowes today though, with the EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider hitting the deck at turn eight whilst leading the session. 

Friday in Valencia

Tennor American Racing’s Joe Roberts completed the top three and was only 0.152s off Bastianini’s time of 1:36.804. Lorenzo Baldassarri was a further 0.009s behind in fourth spot on the Flexbox HP 40 machine. 

Fabio Di Giannantonio was fifth, ahead of Remy Gardner and Jorge Martin. Gardner and Martin were separated by just 0.001s. Simone Corsi, Hector Garzo and Marco Bezzecchi completed the top 10 today. Luca Marini’s tough run of form continued, with the SKY Racing Team VR46 rider finishing down in 15th spot.

Unfortunately, Jake Dixon’s weekend has come to a premature end. The Petronas Sprinta Racing rider suffered a huge highside at turn four. Dixon was taken to the medical centre and has now been declared unfit after breaking his right wrist. 

Moto2’s FP3 session is scheduled to begin at 10:55 (UK Time) tomorrow morning (November 7).

Moto2 Valencia - Friday Times

MotoGP: Jack Miller ends day one on top in Valencia

First published: 06 November 2020 by Josh Close

Jack Miller FP2 Valencia

Jack Miller went from 17th to first in the closing stages of FP2 to end the opening day in Valencia on top.

The Australian, who was fastest in the wet conditions this morning, posted a lap-time of 1:32.528. That was fast enough to beat Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia by 0.092s. Franco Morbidelli, who had a trip through the gravel at turn one this afternoon, completed the top three on his Petronas Yamaha M1. 

Takaaki Nakagami was the fastest Honda in fourth spot, ahead of Pol Espargaro and Alex Rins. All six manufacturers were represented inside the top six this afternoon. 

Brad Binder ensured that there two KTMs inside the top seven, with Andrea Dovizioso, Fabio Quartararo and Joan Mir completing the top 10. 

Maverick Vinales was 11th overall but he’ll have to start Sunday’s race from pit-lane after being forced to use a sixth engine. Riders are given an allocation of five engines for the season, with Vinales having to withdraw one engine at Jerez due to reliability issues. The two engines he brought into this race weekend have reportedly already covered 1500 miles each. 

The Ricardo Tormo circuit is a difficult track for riders to overtake on, meaning that Vinales’ title hopes are now hanging in the balance. He’s 19 points behind Mir heading into this weekend’s race, with 75 points still up for grabs. Valentino Rossi finished fourth in 2015 after being forced to start from the back of the grid, however starting from pit-lane puts Vinales at even more of a disadvantage than his teammate.

This news follows a difficult few days for Yamaha when it comes to their engines, having been docked points in the constructors’ and teams’ championship for breaking homologation rules at Jerez.

Cal Crutchlow was 12th on the second of the LCR Honda bikes, with Repsol Honda’s Alex Marquez and Stefan Bradl ending the day in 16th and 14th respectively. Danilo Petrucci crashed at the final corner and finished 18th.

MotoGP rookies Garrett Gerloff and Lorenzo Savadori end the day 19th and 20th. Gerloff is standing in for Rossi, who is awaiting the result of his Covid-19 test, today. If Rossi’s test comes back negative, he’ll take over from the American tomorrow morning. 

MotoGP European GP - FP2 Times

MotoGP: Jack Miller tops a damp FP1 session at Valencia

First published: 06 November 2020 by Josh Close

Jack Miller Valencia FP1

Jack Miller came out on top in a difficult opening free practice session for the European Grand Prix at Valencia.

The Australian managed to master the tricky, damp conditions to top the timesheets with a 1:42.063. That gave the Pramac Racing Ducati rider a 0.467s advantage over Franco Morbidelli. 

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Stefan Bradl had an excellent morning in the wet and completed the top three on the Repsol Honda – making it three different manufacturers inside the top three. 

Johann Zarco was fourth, ahead of Alex Marquez on the second Repsol Honda machine. Marquez crashed at turn six but was fortunately unharmed in the accident. Danilo Petrucci ended FP1 in sixth, ahead of Pol Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira on their respective KTMs. Andrea Dovizioso and Maverick Vinales completed the top 10. 

Alex Rins was the top Suzuki in 13th spot with teammate, and championship leader, Joan Mir struggling down in 17th. His main title rival Fabio Quartararo also struggled this morning and ended the session 21st and last. 

Both of the title contenders were beaten by MotoGP newcomer Garrett Gerloff. The American, standing in for Valentino Rossi at Yamaha today, finished 16th and was only 1.5s off Miller’s time. 

Francesco Bagnaia crashed at turn two on his way to 14th in the standings. Cal Crutchlow was 18th, whilst Aprilia newcomer Lorenzo Savadori – who replaces Bradley Smith – was 20th. 

FP2 is scheduled to begin at 13:30 (UK Time) this afternoon. 

MotoGP European GP - FP1 Result