MotoGP: Joan Mir crowned 2020 MotoGP champion whilst Franco Morbidelli wins at Valencia

Joan Mir has been crowned 2020 MotoGP champion at Valencia, whilst Franco Morbidelli secured victory after a last lap duel with Jack Miller. 

Mir clinched Suzuki’s first Grand Prix title since Kenny Roberts Jnr won the 500cc crown in 2000. The Spaniard stayed out trouble and ended the race seventh, opening up a 29-point advantage with only 25 points available in Portimao. 

Sunday at Valencia

Mir becomes the first rider to win the Moto3 and MotoGP titles, becoming premier class champion in just his second season. Today’s race was his 30th MotoGP start. 

Meanwhile, Morbidelli claimed his third victory of the 2020 season on the Petronas Yamaha M1. The Italian looked comfortable throughout the race but was caught by Miller in the closing stages. 

Miller took the lead at turn one, only to run wide and allow Morbidelli back through at the following corner. Miller fought back at turn four, but again Morbidelli returned the favour at turn five. A slight error from Miller allowed Morbidelli to open up enough of a gap to avoid the vast power advantage of the Ducati across the line. 

Pol Espargaro completed the podium for the second consecutive weekend at Valencia. The Red Bull KTM rider was almost passed by Takaaki Nakagami at one stage, however the Japanese rider fell during the overtaking manoeuvre at turn 14. 

Alex Rins is still in the fight for second in the championship after finishing fourth ahead of Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira. Binder’s fifth place was his best result since the Austrian Grand Prix (fourth). 

Andrea Dovizioso finished just behind Mir in eighth, whilst Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales completed the top 10. Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow finished 12th and 13th respectively, behind Francesco Bagnaia. 

Fabio Quartararo crashed out of title contention at turn six after a difficult start to the race. The Frenchman ran in too deep heading into turn two on the opening lap, dropping to the rear of the field as a result. 

Johann Zarco was the only other faller in today’s race. Zarco fell at turn one after using the power of the Ducati to overtake Rins down the start/finish straight. 

MotoGP Valencia GP - Race Result

Moto2: Jorge Martin wins enthralling race at Valencia

First published: 15 November 2020 by Josh Close

Jorge Martin Moto2 Valencia Win

Jorge Martin came out on top in a thoroughly entertaining Moto2 race at Valencia to secure his second win of the season.

Fabio Di Giannantonio crashed out of the lead on the final lap, falling at turn six, allowing Marco Bezzecchi through. However, Martin was not going to let a possible victory escape him and put a strong move on Bezzecchi for the lead.

Martin crossed the line to take his first race win since the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring. Hector Garzo also forced himself past Bezzecchi to take his first podium in the intermediate class. 

Bezzecchi title hopes were dealt a blow after losing those two positions on the final lap. He’s now 23 points behind series leader Enea Bastianini, who finished seventh today. Luca Marini is 18 points behind the leader after ending the race in fifth.

Sam Lowes showcased his fighting spirit by battling through the pain and taking two points in 14th spot. Lowes’ right hand is heavily swollen following his big crash in FP3; however, the Brit still has a chance of the title. He’s 14 points behind Bastianini heading into the season finale. 

Back towards the front, Marcel Schrotter was fourth on the Liqui Moly Intact GP bike. Remy Gardner was seventh, whilst Bo Bendsnyeder, Nicolo Bulega and Lorenzo Baldassarri completed the top 10. 

Alongside Di Giannantonio’s unfortunate crash on the final lap, Marcos Ramirez went down at turn six on the seventh lap. Polesitter Stefano Manzi crashed out at turn two, whilst Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Jorge Navarro also went down. Other crashers include Edgar Pons and Andi Farid Izdihar.

Heading into the final race of the 2020 Moto2 season four riders have a mathematical chance of securing the title.

Moto3: Tony Arbolino brings himself into title contention with Valencia victory

First published: 15 November 2020 by Josh Close

Tony Arbolino Valencia Moto3 Win

Tony Arbolino moved to within 11 points of championship leader Albert Arenas after securing his first Moto3 win of 2020 at Valencia. 

At one stage it looked like the race was going to be a mirror image of the European Grand Prix at Valencia last weekend. Raul Fernandez was leading in the early stages when two riders collided behind him. That left him with a comfortable lead of over a second.

At one stage the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider had a lead of 1.8s, however the chasing duo of Arbolino and Sergio Garcia closed him down in the closing stages. 

Arbolino made his move at turn one on the penultimate lap. With Fernandez and Garcia battling hard behind him, Arbolino was able to pull away and cross the line first. In doing so, Arbolino became the 10th different winner in Moto3 this year – a new season record for the lightweight class.

Garcia got the better of Fernandez on the final lap to take his third consecutive podium at the Valencian circuit. 

Arenas crossed the line in fourth after withstanding immense pressure from Deniz Öncü and polesitter Darryn Binder. Binder finished fifth ahead of the Turkish rider. 

Ai Ogura was also involved in a race-long battle, taking on Andrea Migno and Jaume Masia. The Japanese title contender lost out to Migno coming out of the final corner but managed to hold off Masia to the line and take eighth. Ogura is now eight points behind Arenas with one race remaining. 

Jeremy Alcoba completed the top 10 on the Kömmerling Gresini machine. John McPhee has a quiet race after starting the race down in 17th, eventually crossing the line in 11th. Ayumu Sasaki was given a long lap penalty for irresponsible riding and ended the race 19th. 

Celestino Vietti’s title hopes are over after the SKY Racing Team VR46 rider crashed out of the race at turn 11. Tatsuki Suzuki and Kaito Toba collided at turn two on the second lap when the former lost control of his bike in front of Suzuki. 

Maximilian Kofler fell out of the race on the opening lap, whilst Gabriel Rodrigo and Alonso Lopez crashed together at the final corner on lap eight. That incident will be reviewed by race control. Khairul Idham Pawi was the final crasher in today’s race, falling at turn two on the penultimate lap. 

Going into the final race of the season at Portimao next weekend three riders have the chance to be crowned 2020 Moto3 champion.

Moto3 Valencia GP - Race Result

Moto2: Stefano Manzi claims MV Agusta’s first pole since 1976

First published: 14 November 2020 by Josh Close

Stefano Manzi Moto2 Valencia

It was an historic day in Moto2 at Valencia as Stefano Manzi secured MV Agusta’s first pole position since 1976.

It’s also the MV Agusta Forward Racing rider’s first-ever Grand Prix pole position. Manzi edged out Hector Garzo by 0.013s with a lap-time of 1:34.418. MV Agusta’s last pole position came at Le Mans in 1976, courtesy of Giacomo Agostini. 

Saturday at Valencia

It’s also Garzo’s first front row start and the surprising duo will be joined on the front row by last weekend’s race winner Marco Bezzecchi. 

The Moto2 title fight took another turn today due to a massive FP3 crash for Sam Lowes. The EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider was struck by his bike in the incident and landed awkwardly on his right wrist. Thankfully, an x-ray revealed no broken bones, but Lowes’s wrist was heavily bandaged for qualifying. 

Lowes fought through the pain barrier as best he could but will start tomorrow’s race from 18th on the grid. It was a valiant effort from Lowes, who was still less than a second slower than Manzi’s pole time. 

Championship leader Enea Bastianini is only six places better off than Lowes, in 12th spot. Meanwhile, fellow title contender Luca Marini was 10th on the SKY Racing Team VR46 machine. 

Back towards the front, Fabio Di Giannantonio was fourth on his Speed Up machine and will be joined on row two by Jorge Martin and Marcos Ramirez. Marcel Schrotter and Lorenzo Baldassarri were seventh and eighth respectively, whilst Bo Bendsneyder was ninth ahead of Marini. 

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

Moto2 Valencia - Qualifying Times

MotoGP: Franco Morbidelli takes pole whilst title contenders struggle at Valencia

First published: 11 November 2020 by Josh Close

Franco Morbidelli Valencia Pole

Franco Morbidelli mastered the tricky conditions at Valencia to clinch his second MotoGP pole position of 2020.

The Petronas Yamaha rider, who was quick during this morning’s FP3 session, went to the top of the timesheets late in the day with a 1:30.191. 

Morbidelli will be joined on the front row by Jack Miller, who will be confident of leading into turn one tomorrow given his Ducati’s notoriously fast launch from the line. Takaaki Nakagami completes row one on the LCR Honda. 

Johann Zarco leads the second row and will be joined by Pol Espargaro and Maverick Vinales. Both Spanish riders had led the session at one stage. 

Aleix Espargaro impressed once more around the Valencia circuit, putting the Aprilia seventh on the grid. He’s joined by Francesco Bagnaia and Brad Binder on the third row. Binder, like his KTM teammate Pol Espargaro, also led Q2 at one stage. The South African opted to only complete one run. 

Miguel Oliveira ensured that all three KTM riders qualified inside the top 10, qualifying 10th. Title rivals Fabio Quartararo, and Joan Mir both struggled for pace this afternoon and will start tomorrow’s race from 11th and 12th respectively. 

Fellow title contender Alex Rins missed out on a spot in Q2 and will start the race, on a track which is notably hard to overtake on, from 14th on the grid. He’s in the middle of the fifth row, with Cal Crutchlow and Danilo Petrucci either side of the Suzuki rider. 

Valentino Rossi’s struggles continued, and he could only manage 16th today, ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Stefan Bradl.

Alex Marquez suffered a massive highside at turn 11 during Q1 and landed on his coccyx bone. The Spaniard was able to walk away from the accident but looked to be in some discomfort. The Repsol Honda rider will start the race from 20th on the grid. 

Tomorrow’s MotoGP race is scheduled to begin at 13:00 (UK Time).

Moto3: Darryn Binder secures his maiden pole position at Valencia

First published: 11 November 2020 by Josh Close

Darryn Binder Moto3 Pole

Darryn Binder enjoyed his best qualifying of the season to put his CIP Green Power machine on pole at Valencia.

The South African broke the lap record with his 1:38.286. Binder isn’t known for being a top qualifier, with his previous best grid position of 2020 being fourth at the season opener in Qatar. 

Kaito Toba will line-up alongside Binder, with teammate Raul Fernandez making ensuring that both Red Bull KTM Ajo bikes are front row in third. 

Jaume Masia qualified fourth ahead of Andrea Migno and championship leader Albert Arenas, who edged out his main title rival, Ai Ogura, by just 0.001s. The two title fighters were following each other closely on their final runs. 

Tatsuki Suzuki was eighth, with Celestino Vietti and Niccolo Antonelli completing the top 10. John McPhee will start tomorrow’s race from 16th on the grid after a difficult day which saw the Scot having to go through Q1. 

Carlos Tatay didn’t make it through from Q1 after crashing out on two occasions. Tatay first went down on his opening lap, before hitting the deck at turn five later in the session. As a result of his second crash, Tatay was taken to the medical centre for a check-up.

Dennis Foggia also missed the cut after going down at turn five after a big highside. Gabriel Rodrigo also failed to qualify for Q2 after being taken out by Riccardo Rossi – who made it through and qualified 18th – on his opening lap. Jason Dupasquier crashed out at turn 11.

Tomorrow’s race is scheduled to begin at 10am (UK Time).

MotoGP: Jack Miller tops FP2 to end day one fastest overall in Valencia

First published: 10 November 2020 by Josh Close

Jack Miller tops FP2 Valencia

It was a case of Déjà vu for Jack Miller today as he ended the opening day of action in Valencia fastest overall for the second consecutive week

The Australian posted a fast time of 1:30.622, which was enough to edge out FP1 pacesetter Takaaki Nakagami by 0.091s. Francesco Bagnaia improved drastically this afternoon, leaping up from 19th in FP1 to third, and fastest Ducati rider overall, in FP2.

Pol Espargaro was fourth, ahead of Johan Zarco and Andrea Dovizioso. New 2021 Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow was seventh ahead of his penultimate MotoGP race with Honda. 

Despite not improving this afternoon, Franco Morbidelli’s FP1 time was enough to keep him eighth overall. The Petronas Yamaha rider ended FP2 in 13th. Title contender Alex Rins was eighth this afternoon and sits in ninth overall on the timesheets. 

Maverick Vinales also did not improve his lap-time this afternoon but ends Friday 10th overall. The factory Yamaha rider also finished 10th in the FP2 session. Aleix Espargaro was ninth in FP2 but misses out on a top 10 spot as things stand overall (11th). 

Crutchlow and Vinales’ fast laps late on pushed championship leader Joan Mir out of the all-important Q2 spots. The Suzuki rider, who crashed at turn four during the session, ended the day 12th overall and has work to do tomorrow morning if he’s to avoid Q1. 

Fabio Quartararo endured another tough day in Valencia, finishing both practice sessions (and the day) in 16th. Valentino Rossi, still behind on track time compared to the others, ends the day 18th overall. 

Alex Marquez crashed at turn four, and also at turn two, before ending the day 19th overall on the Repsol Honda. 

FP3 is scheduled to take place at 09:55 (UK Time) tomorrow morning (November 14) and will be followed by FP4 at 13:10, Q1 at 13:50 and Q2 at 14:15.

MotoGP Valencia GP - FP2 Times

MotoGP: Takaaki Nakagami fastest in opening practice session at Valencia

First published: 13 November 2020 by Josh Close

Takaaki Nakagami Valencia FP1

Takaaki Nakagami topped a highly competitive opening free practice session at Valencia which saw 19 of the 21 riders covered by less than a second. 

The LCR Honda rider, who ended last weekend’s race at Valencia in fourth, posted the fastest lap-time of 1:30.829. This was enough to beat closest challenger Franco Morbidelli by 0.115s. 

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Maverick Vinales completed the top three on his factory Yamaha M1, posting his fastest lap of the session on his final attempt. Pol Espargaro and Aleix Espargaro were fourth and fifth for KTM and Aprilia respectively. 

Johann Zarco was the fastest Ducati rider in sixth, ahead of Andrea Dovizioso, who confirmed this week that he will not be on the 2021 grid. 

Championship leader Joan Mir, who can clinch the premier class crown this weekend if results go his way, was eighth on the Suzuki. Miguel Oliveira and Stefan Bradl completed the top 10.

Mir’s nearest title rivals, teammate Alex Rins and Petronas Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo, were 11th and 16th respectively. Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi was 13th on the second Monster Energy Yamaha M1.

Cal Crutchlow, fresh from signing his 2021 test rider deal with Yamaha, ended this morning’s session in 14th. Francesco Bagnaia, who finished 19th this morning, was only 0.999s off Nakagami’s fastest time.

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