MotoGP: Fabio Quartararo returns to winning ways at the Catalan Grand Prix

Fabio Quartararo is back at the top of the MotoGP championship standings after securing his third win of the season in Barcelona. 

The Frenchman pull the pin after taking the lead away from teammate Franco Morbidelli at turn one on the ninth lap. He’d timed his getaway to perfection and crossed the line with a narrow 0.928s advantage over Joan Mir. Another lap or two and Mir may have been able to steal victory away from Quartararo, who was clearly struggling for grip in the closing stages. 

The story so far

Quartararo now leads the championship and has an eight-point advantage over Mir in the title fight. Andrea Dovizioso, who led the series heading into the weekend, loses his grasp on top spot after being taken out by Johann Zarco at turn two on the opening lap. Zarco reacted to Danilo Petrucci almost losing the front but ended up falling himself and wiping out the helpless Dovizioso. 

Alex Rins finished third to secure a double podium for Suzuki. Rins, like his teammate, had great late race pace and was able to get the better of Jack Miller and Morbidelli at turn 10 in the final few laps. It’s the first double podium for Suzuki since the San Marino GP in 2007, when Chris Vermeulen and John Hopkins finished second and third respectively. 

Miller held on to fourth spot after getting the better of teammate Francesco Bagnaia and Takaaki Nakagami. Petrucci, Maverick Vinales and Cal Crutchlow completed the top 10. Vinales’ challenge was realistically over after a poor start which saw him fall to 16th on the opening lap. 

Brad Binder (11th, Aleix Espargaro (12th), Alex Marquez (13th), Iker Lecuona (14th) and Tito Rabat (15th) secured the remaining points on offer this weekend.

Valentino Rossi crashed out of the race whilst chasing down Quartararo in second spot. The 41-year-old hit the deck at turn two and was clearly downbeat afterwards. Rossi was competing in his 350th GP this weekend. 

Miguel Oliveira crashed out at the same corner a few laps after Rossi, whilst Pol Espargaro fell at turn one whilst battling with Petrucci for seventh.

MotoGP Catalan GP Race Result

Moto2: Luca Marini defeats Sam Lowes to secure victory in Barcelona

First published: 27 September 2020 by Josh Close

Luca Marini wins Moto2 in Barcelona

Luca Marini overcame the challenge of Sam Lowes to take victory in the Moto2 class in Barcelona. 

Marini launched off the line and led comfortably for the opening 15 laps of the race. Behind him, Lowes was battling back from another slow start and had strong race pace was he was in clear air.

The Brit caught and passed Marini at turn one on the 16th lap and began to pull away immediately. However, the championship leader didn’t panic and was able to match the pace now being set by Lowes ahead of him. 

Having to fight back from a slow start led to Lowes beginning to struggle for grip as the race entered the final few laps. Marini was back on Lowes’ tail and would retake the lead at turn one on the penultimate lap. A mistake from Lowes a few corners later allowed Marini to pull away and secure his third victory of 2020.

Marini’s victory sees him extend his championship lead over Enea Bastianini to 20 points. Lowes crossed the line in second to secure back-to-back podiums and his third overall this season. 

Fabio Di Giannantonio completed the podium on the MB Conveyors Speed Up bike. It’s the Italian’s first podium since the San Marino GP at Misano last year. 

Jorge Navarro came out on top in a race-long fight with Joe Roberts to finish fourth ahead of the American. Bastianini finished sixth after fighting back from a poor qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.

Marco Bezzecchi finished seventh ahead of Aron Canet, with the latter fighting his way through the order from 19th on the grid. Marcos Ramirez and Marcel Schrotter completed the top 10.

Jake Dixon’s positive weekend came to a premature end when he retired from sixth position on the sixth lap. The Brit suffered from a technical problem.

Stefano Manzi and Lorenzo Dalla Porta clashed with each other at turn 10 on lap three, with Nicolo Bulega retiring on the following lap. Xavi Vierge fell heavily at turn nine on lap seven, whilst former title contender Jorge Martin returned to the pits with a problem on lap 14.

Somkiat Chantra crashed out of the race on the penultimate lap, with Augusto Fernandez falling out at turn seven from sixth spot. Lorenzo Baldassarri fell at the final corner on the last lap. 

Moto3: Darryn Binder clinches his maiden victory in a controversial Catalan GP

First published: 27 September 2020 by Josh Close

Darryn Binder wins Moto3 Barcelona

Darryn Binder secured his first-ever victory in the Moto3 class in a controversial race in Barcelona which saw John McPhee take out championship leader Albert Arenas. 

Binder made yet another fantastic start from ninth on the grid and was quickly fighting for the victory. The South African managed to keep himself out of trouble, exchanging the lead with Gabriel Rodrigo and Dennis Foggia in the closing stages. 

A clever final lap saw Binder dive down the inside of Foggia at turn five. He then defended brilliantly for the remaining corners to clinch his maiden race win. It took 93 race starts, but Binder is now a Grand Prix winner. 

The win caps off a brilliant week for Binder after it was revealed that he’ll be joining the Petronas Sprinta Racing team next season. 

Tony Arbolino, who started from pole, took full advantage of Binder’s move on Foggia to take second spot. Remarkably, it’s the first time that Arbolino has scored points in Barcelona. 

Foggia completed the podium for the Leopard Racing team. It’s the Italian’s first podium since the Czech GP at Brno, a race which he won. 

The big controversy came on the fifth lap of the race when McPhee dived to dive down the inside of Arenas at turn four. The Scot looked to have the move done, however he had to grab his brakes in order to avoid any contact with Arbolino ahead of him. McPhee tucked the front and hit the deck, taking Arenas out with him. 

Arenas was understandably frustrated with what had happened to him. In a show of respect and sportsmanship, McPhee headed down to visit Arenas in his garage afterwards and apologised. 

Ai Agura now leads the championship as a result of the incident between Arenas and McPhee. However, the Japanese rider failed to take too much of an advantage in today’s race, finishing 11th. That gives him a three-point lead over Arenas. 

Sergio Garcia finished fourth on the Estrella Galicia 0,0 bike ahead of Alonso Lopez and Romano Fenati. Jaume Masia was seventh ahead of Celestino Vietti, with both riders being demoted one position for exceeding track limits on the final lap. Niccolo Antonelli and Rodrigo completed the top 10. 

Jeremy Alcoba finished 19th after been given a double long-lap penalty for cutting the circuit between turn one and two. 

Andrea Migno retired with a bike issue with a few laps remaining, whilst Davide Pizzoli crashed at turn five. Deniz Oncu and Jose Julian Garcia went down at turn four on the ninth lap. Carlos Tatay also failed to finish today’s race. 


Moto2: Luca Marini sets a new lap record in Barcelona to secure pole position

First published: 26 September 2020 by Josh Close

Luca Marini Barcelona Pole

Luca Marini secured his third successive Moto2 pole position of the 2020 Moto2 season after smashing the all-time lap record in Barcelona.

The Italian was untouchable throughout today’s Q2 session and broke the lap record on his third flying lap. His lap-time of 1:43.355 replaces Fabio Quartararo’s record time from the 2018 season (1:43.474). 

The story so far

Jorge Navarro qualified second on the MB Conveyors Speed Up machine, clinching his first front row start since the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez (July). Sam Lowes completes the front row in third spot, qualifying on the front row for the first time since Brno last month. 

Fabio Di Giannantonio was fourth ahead of Jake Dixon on the Petronas Sprinta bike. It’s Dixon’s best qualifying result in the intermediate class and the first time that he’s qualified inside the top six. Today’s performance comes just six days after the Brit secured his best-ever Moto2 finish – sixth in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Misano

Marco Bezzecchi was sixth on the second SKY Racing Team VR46 bike, ahead of Tennor American Racing duo Joe Roberts and Marcos Ramirez. Xavi Vierge qualified in ninth spot.

Remy Gardner completed the top 10 on the timesheets, however he will start tomorrow’s race from 16th after being handed a six-place grid penalty. The Australian was given this penalty after crashing under yellow flags during FP2, being deemed to have crashed whilst “not respecting the yellow flag that was displayed due to a crash at turn two.”

This elevates title contender Enea Bastianini to 10th spot, ahead of Thomas Luthi (11th), Augusto Fernandez (12th) and Jorge Martin in 13th. Martin is returning to action after missing both races at Misano due to a positive Covid-19 test. Marcel Schrotter (14th) and Nicolo Bulega (15th) also move ahead of Gardner. 

Tetsuta Nagashima and Lorenzo Baldassarri, podium finishers at the beginning of the season, qualified 18th and 24th respectively. 

Moto2 Catalan GP - Qualifying Times

MotoGP: Franco Morbidelli storms to his maiden pole at the Catalan Grand Prix

First published: 26 September 2020 by Josh Close

Franco Morbidelli pole Barcelona

Franco Morbidelli secured a sensational maiden pole position in MotoGP in Barcelona with Yamaha locking out the front row. 

Morbidelli went toe-to-toe with teammate Fabio Quartararo and snatched pole away from the Frenchman in the closing seconds of Q2. His time of 1:38.798 was 0.210s quicker than Quartararo, who remains in second to lock-in a Petronas Yamaha one-two. Morbidelli was the only rider to dip into the 1:38s.

Valentino Rossi joined the Petronas duo on the front row, just hours after the nine-time champion confirmed his move to Yamaha’s satellite team for the 2021 season. It’s the first time that Rossi has qualified on the front row since the British Grand Prix last year. 

Jack Miller prevented Yamaha from taking each of the top four spots. The Pramac Ducati rider, who topped Q1, posted a lap-time of 1:39.225 on his only remaining set of soft tyres. 

Maverick Vinales was fifth on the second Monster Energy Yamaha M1, with Johann Zarco completing the second row. Being sandwiched between two Ducati riders is far from ideal for Vinales given how quickly they launch off of the line. 

Pol Espargaro is the leading KTM rider in seventh, ahead of Joan Mir on the Suzuki. Danilo Petrucci and Brad Binder completed the top 10. Takaaki Nakagami was 11th on the LCR Honda, with Miguel Oliveira in 12th. Oliveira crashed at turn 10 early in the session, costing him any chance of a higher grid position. 

Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso had another day to forget on the factory Ducati. The Italian will start tomorrow’s race from 17th on the grid. It’s the third time this year that Dovizioso has failed to qualify inside the top 10. 

Alex Rins qualified 13th, ahead of Francesco Bagnaia (14th), Aleix Espargaro (15th) and Cal Crutchlow (16th). The Brit is riding hurt yet again after rupturing his left ankle ligaments as he stepped out of the PCR Testing Booth at the circuit. He’s also still recovering from arm pump surgery on his right arm.

Tomorrow’s MotoGP race will start an hour later than usual. The race begins at 14:00 (UK time).

MotoGP Catalan GP - Qualifying Times

Moto3: Tony Arbolino breaks lap record to take pole position at the Catalan GP

First published: 26 September 2020 by Josh Close

Tony Arbolino - Barcelona Moto3 Pole

Tony Arbolino smashed the lap record in Barcelona to take pole position in the Moto3 class for the Catalan Grand Prix.

Arbolino, who announced this morning that he’ll be moving up to Moto2 with the Liqui Moly Intact GP team, snatched pole from Raul Fernandez in the dying seconds. His record breaking lap-time of 1:47.762 was 0.618s quicker than Fernandez. It’s Arbolino’s sixth pole in the Moto3 class and his first of 2020. 

Fernandez crashed at turn 14 in the closing seconds and has been taken to the medical centre for a check-up. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider will start tomorrow’s race from second if he’s passed fit to continue. Gabriel Rodrigo completes the front row for the Kömmerling Gresini team. 

Championship leader Albert Arenas qualified fourth after being forced to go through Q1 this afternoon. Jaume Masia and Niccolo Antonelli join Arenas on the second row. 

Filip Salac, Kaito Toba and Darryn Binder will start the race from row three, with Sergio Garcia completing the top 10. 

John McPhee will start from 12th on the grid, with fellow championship contender Ai Agura down in 24th after failing to make it out of Q1. Romano Fenati, race winner at Misano last weekend, qualified in 15th spot. 

Moto3 Catalan GP Qualifying Times