This race was on fire. Literally.

It was an eventful race held in Bahrain, characterized by one of the most frightening accidents since Jules Bianchi’s deadly crash in Suzuka. Romain Grosjean shunned death by a hair’s breadth, being surrounded by charring flames while his car was split in half against the guardrail.

By Daphne Seberich

An angel was watching over Romain Grosjean in Bahrain. He escaped the fire evoked by crashing into Daniil Kvyat’s front left tire. Incredulous, the Russian looked over and over into his right mirror, realizing the consequences their contact had. A ball of fire, an explosion: a frightening sight that provoked chills and apprehension to the whole world watching the race. Firemen surrounded the car in flames, attempting to save the driver from a dreadful end. Soon after, the Frenchman’s hand was spotted in the fire, asking for help, fighting for his life. With a shoe missing and his hands burned, the Haas driver jumped out of the blaze, in pain but still alive. Romain was taken right away to the medical center to ascertain his conditions, which are now stable. 

Photo credits:

Motorsport is dangerous. That is clear for all the drivers. They are risking their lives every time they jump into the death machines that are Formula 1 cars. Last year Antoine Hubert lost his life in Belgium. It could’ve been Grosjean’s last breath if it wasn’t for the halo technology introduced in 2018. If the modern F1 cars weren’t as safe as they are now, this would’ve turned out to be a tragic day for motorsport. 

After a 45-minute red flag circumstance, the race restarted from the grid. Hamilton had a blazing start, securing the lead of the race. Meanwhile, at the back of the field, Stroll found himself upside down on the tarmac due to contact with- you guessed it- Daniil Kvyat. It surely wasn’t his best day. The image of the flipped pink car reminded me of the last race of 2018 in Abu Dhabi, when Nico Hulkenberg and his Renault were in the same conditions, hanging from the guardrail “like a cow”. After not even a lap racing, the safety car had to make its way onto the track, setting the pace for the drivers still competing while the marshals removed the Racing Point from the circuit. 

Photo credits: Eurosport

As the race kicked-off once again, many drivers had to fight hard to regain the positions lost due to Stroll’s accident. The one that was advantaged from it the most was Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, who found himself from P12 to P7 in the matter of one lap. His future teammate at the Italian Scuderia, Carlos Sainz, wasn’t too keen on surrendering his spot to the prancing horse driver. An exquisite fight evolved between the two youngsters, exciting the fans at home and fueling their enthusiasm for the 2021 season, where they’ll compete in the same car.

Even though Sainz was on the least performing tire, his brilliant driving ability granted him to run on the soft compound for over 20 laps, which no one else did. Leclerc’s inferior power unit allowed the Spaniard to overtake the Monegasque, permitting him to regain the position he had lost. Daniel Ricciardo took advantage of the technical inferiority of the Ferrari as well, chasing Leclerc until a DRS zone enabled him to breeze by the Italian car.

Sainz was literally “on fire”, overtaking everyone with such ease and class. He recovered from P15 al the way to P6, surprising everyone, especially since he was running on the most unusual tire strategy.

Another great fight between teammates was the one between Ricciardo and Ocon, battling it out for P8. The Aussie requested team orders to be set in place. His race pace was superior to the one of the French, which didn’t take it too well. 

A surprising turn of events saw P3 holder and fan-favorite Checo Perez retire on the 55th lap of the race due to an engine problem of his Mercedes power-unit. The race finished under the safety car, prohibiting the podium fight between Lewis Hamilton and the two Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Alex Albon, who subsequently completed the podium. 

Photo credits: Sky Sport Italy

Next week Formula 1 will be back in Bahrain, although racing on a new track layout, similar to an Indycar oval. God willing, Romain Grosjean will be back in his car racing for Haas. Hopefully, we won’t see any accident like this ever again. 

Photo credits: News24

The future Nr. 1?

Jannik Sinner has broken multiple records at a young age. He is the youngest Italian to reach the quarter-final of Roland Garros and the first ATP title win in Sofia awarded him the label as the 6th youngest player overall to win a tournament. Many see him as the future Nr.1 of tennis but does he meet the impressive stats of the three tennis legends at the same age? Data is shutting down rumors and bringing facts. This article is comparing Roger Federer’s numbers with those of the Italian prodigy. 

By Daphne Seberich

After his achievements Jannik Sinner commonly gets compared to the three bigs of tennis: Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer, seemingly following their footsteps. However, is the South Tyrolean indeed the future of tennis?

Comparing the data between the 2000 ATP stats of Roger Federer and the 2020 data of Jannik Sinner is tricky. The Italian had to face the challenge of a pandemic, losing out on half of the season’s tournaments. Although he has played less than the Swiss at his current age, his numbers are impressive. Sinner is currently 34th in the ATP rankings, his best placement ever. The 2020 Sofia ATP tournament displayed the potential the Italian youngster has. The Canadian Pospisil as an opponent at the decisive match for the title complicated Sinner’s race to the top. Even though it was his first final, his nerves were of steel. Sealing the deal in three sets secured him a 100% success rate statistic playing a final. Roger Federer was more of a late bloomer. He did not win a title in the 2000 ATP season and lost both finals he reached.

An impressive stat for the South Tyrolean is the low loss percentage in Grand Slam tournaments as well as ATP Master 1000 matches in comparison to Federer. Sinner’s consistency seems to beat the 39-year old champion. 

Roger Federer is without a doubt the ace master. His talent, although raw, was already recognizable in his first years as a professional tennis player. At the same time, his double faults numbers are significantly higher than the ones from the Italian, proving that mistakes were frequent for the future 5-time-ATP champion.

An interesting fact about the Sinner-Federer comparison is the percentage of matches won and lost against Top-10 players. The youngster surprised everyone by beating multiple top-ranked athletes, as the Greek Tsitsipas in Rome and the German Zverev at the Roland Garros. He won three out of the seven matches played against the crème de la crème of tennis. The Swiss won three games as well but lost eight times.

Tournaments played on the clay are preferred by the Italian, whereas Roger Federer’s winning percentage displays his superior ability on the hard floors. This data is coherent with the achievements reached by Sinner in this crazy 2020. He became the youngest Italian tennis player to reach the quarter-final stage of the Roland Garros, only throwing the towel to the clay king Rafa Nadal. 

These statistics show the excellent path Jannik Sinner is following, proving indeed that he is the future of tennis. As for now, he seems to keep up with the big three’s numbers. Is it only a fluke? Only time will tell. Consistency will play a significant role in his climb to the top. Sinner is making Italy proud and already beating all of their records. Does he need anything else to prove that he can be the future nr.1?

Photo credits: JuinperSports & ATP Tour

Oliveira dominates and wins his home Grand Prix

Oliveira’s dominance at his home Grand Prix was remarkable, winning by over three seconds ahead of Jack Miller and 2020 vice-champion Franco Morbidelli. Ducati gets crowned as this season’s MotoGP constructors’ champions. Crutchlow and Dovizioso said goodbye to competing in the highest class of motorbike racing.   

Photo credits: Super7moto & El País

By Daphne Seberich

Oliveira’s brilliant weekend assured his supremacy at the Autodromo de Portimão. His home Grand Prix proved to be a challenge for all the other drivers, struggling to keep up with the race pace of the Portuguese. Mir and Quartararo had disappointing performances. The Mallorcan retired after suffering some issues with the electronics of his Suzuki. The Frenchman dropped back from P5 to P14, confirming his inconsistency during the Sunday events, a considerable difference from his first half of the championship. Crutchlow and Dovizioso attested their expertise and experience, providing for exceptional performances for the last race of their careers.

Right from the get-go, Oliveira pulls away from the rest of the pack, slowly building his gap to 4.5 seconds ahead of the second-place Yamaha driver Morbidelli. His race pace was impressive, setting consistent fastest laps in 1:39.8. No one managed to come close to that time. 

The Yamahas at the back of the field were struggling, especially Fabio Quartararo, battling it out with Zarco and Nakagami. His fight against the Japanese driver granted the audience some incredible action, racing against each other as if it was for the victory. 

Like last week’s race, Morbidelli and Miller turned up the party for the fans at home, providing an exciting final lap for the runner-up position of the podium. This time, the Pramac Ducati biker came out on top, securing for Ducati their first MotoGP Constructor’s Championship after 2007, when they triumphed thanks to the efforts of Casey Stoner.

Now the fans have to wait until March 2021 to get all revved up for a new season of MotoGP. Will Marc Marquez be back? Has Joan Mir the chance of winning his second driver’s title? Only time will tell. 

Photo credits: Motosan

Still We Rise.

Lewis Hamilton equals Michael Schumacher’s record for most Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship wins, thanks to a brilliant drive during an arduous but full of action Turkish GP. 

Photo credits: & MOTORLAT

By Daphne Seberich

After an atypical result during the Saturday session, LH44 assured his dominance in the top-class of motorsport, winning an incredibly challenging race where the chances didn’t see him as favorite. His brilliant class allowed him to nurture his intermediate tires to extend his stint to 51 laps, proving that his talent is superior to that of many other drivers on the grid. Will he beat the Ferrari legend’s record next season? The odds are in his favor. 

Starting from P6, Hamilton had the task of driving up the field as quickly as possible. He needed to catch up the Racing Point drivers, which already had built an eleven-second-gap between them and the rest of the pack. Sebastian Vettel’s miraculous start didn’t make it easy for Lewis, overtaking his W11 and giving him a hard time to succeed passing him. Eventually, Hamilton beat the Ferrari driver to secure the last position on the podium. The mutating track conditions forced most of the drivers to switch to Pirelli’s intermediate compound option. The provisional leader of the race, Lance Stroll, was done wrong by a disputable strategy call of his team, pitting for a second stint of inters, which underperformed. Lewis suddenly found himself in P2, catching up to a struggling Checo Perez in first position. The enablement of the DRS played into Hamilton’s hands, allowing him to overtake the Racing Point driver. 

From there on, the Brit showcased his brilliant driving abilities, proving to deserve the race win.

A last-lap mishap done by Charles Leclerc in P2 allowed Perez and his teammate Sebastian Vettel to step on the podium instead. 

Lewis Hamilton’s masterclass is undisputed, but is he the greatest of all time? 

Photo credits: Clive Mason (Getty Images)

Morbidelli show is not enough: Joan Mir is the new MotoGP 2020 World Champion

Despite securing a brilliant win for Yamaha, Morbidelli’s efforts were not enough to stop Joan Mir’s championship celebrations in Valencia. Quartararo’s nightmare start paved the way for an easy title win.

By Daphne Seberich

The MotoGP 2020 championship fight is over. Despite being this a season without title defender Marc Marquez, due to the injury he suffered at the beginning of the season restart, the race to the top was full of action and unpredictable. No one thought at the start of the 2020 campaign that a second-year rookie would even be a title contender. Even though the French youngster Quartararo was on top of the rankings for the first half of the season, thanks to winning three Grand Prix, consistency proved to be the key to success. That is what characterized Mir’s efforts: being able to snatch the title, despite only winning his first race ever in MotoGP during last week’s European GP.

Starting from P12, the Spaniard had the challenge to make his way up the grid, needing a 12-point lead to teammate Rins and Quartararo to win the championship during the event held in his country. 

Although both contenders were starting the race in the same conditions as him, which is at the back of the pack, Morbidelli’s pole and a potential win could have ruined the celebrations. Mir needed to secure at least P10 to have a one-point margin to automatically take the crown. 

At lights-out, Morbidelli gets challenged by Miller, proving the superiority of the Ducati’s engine in straight-line speed. The Yamaha Petronas rider leans tighter into the corner forcing the Pramac Ducati racer to go wide, keeping therefore the lead of the race. His teammate at the end of the pack takes a too wide approach to the first turn of the race, dropping back to P21. The championship-winning hopes for the “Diablo” were gone right and there. 

Mir found himself, thanks to the Frenchman dropping back, in tenth place, which would assure him the title win. From there on, the Spaniard’s goal was to manage the race and take the needed point home. 

Meanwhile, at the front, Morbidelli proves to have a great race pace, setting the fastest lap in 1:31.428. His teammate at the back of the field unbelievably crashes, leaving what for him was a Valencia nightmare behind.

Not many overtakes happened at the Ricardo Tormo circuit, but the most significant were the ones done by Rins to secure P4 and Mir’s for P7. The points advantage was enough assuring the championship win for the #36 driver. 

Miller’s final laps were as if he was on fire. Even though his motorbike was on a softer compound, that should have dropped significantly in performance, especially compared to the hard tires chosen by Morbidelli, the Aussie started closing the gap to the Italian, giving us viewers an exciting last lap of the race. The Ducati engine allowed the Pramac driver to overtake the Yamaha, but a very smart switch-a-roo done by “Franky” put him back ahead.  At every turn there was, Miller attempted to fight back, but only at the last straight he got his opportunity, leading to a photo-finish. 

What an exciting last lap. Morbidelli wins ahead of Miller and Pol Espargaro. The real rider in the spotlight is Joan Mir, winning his first MotoGP drivers’ championship. Will he defend the title against the indisputable king of motorbikes Marc Marquez next season? 

Photo credits: Ultima Hora & Motociclismo

Lance Stroll incredibly secures pole position after a tough qualifying session in Turkey

After a complicated and nerve-wracking wet qualifying at the Istanbul Park, Lance Stroll astonishingly sets the fastest lap for what will be his first start on pole position. Will Mercedes’s winning streak after the Turkish GP end?

By Daphne Seberich

Who could have imagined such a crazy qualifying session? The conditions of the track for the three free practice sessions were already challenging. The new tarmac, that the organizers of the Grand Prix prepared, turned out to be an ice rink for Pirelli tires. Even in regular weather conditions. Rain just turned the dial to the max, providing for an exciting, but tough race to set the fastest lap. 

All drivers were struggling to keep their cars on track. No one excluded. Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc proved to be the ones coping the best with the slippery tarmac, securing the two top spots respectively in all of the free practice sessions. Choosing the right tire strategy was key. Many drivers stuck to the full wet tire, although some brave racers tried to use Pirelli’s intermediate option, to earn some advantage in speed. The grip was inexistent for everyone, even for those that chose the blue-striped compound. 

Q1 turned out to be madness, with multiple drivers going off the track, looking like they were driving on ice with no snow chains on. Gaps between drivers were huge, separating the top spot of the ranking and the 15th place, the Q1 cut-off spot, by over 11 seconds. The two clear favorites for pole, Verstappen and Leclerc, were fighting against their car trying to do what it wants, turning out to be very time costly, both struggling to make it into Q2. Six minutes before the end of Q1 the FIA decided to red-flag the session, due to the weather conditions that made the track undriveable. The Red Bull and Ferrari drivers found themselves at the bottom of the cut-off line, securing respectively the 15th and 16th spot. They only had two last chances after the restart to set a good enough time to enter the next qualifying stage of the Turkish GP.

After a long, but detailed analysis of the track, done by safety car driver Bernd Mayländer, the session restarted, although the conditions were still not optimal. Many drivers were seen spinning off-track and one, in particular, Romain Grosjean, got stuck in the gravel at the edges of the track, forcing the FIA to red-flag Q1 again. Only being three minutes remaining, everyone just had one last shot to set their flying lap. Verstappen secured the top spot of the ranking, Hamilton barely made it into the next round, qualifying in 14th place. 

At the start of Q2, it finally stopped raining, slightly improving conditions. The “Flying Dutchman” seemed to have what it takes to get on pole, setting the fastest lap at every attempt. Others were struggling to warm up their tires properly, especially the two Ferrari drivers, which didn’t make the cut for Q3. Leclerc, the big favorite to take the crown, suddenly didn’t have any pace and dropped down to P14.

Surprisingly, both Alfa Romeo drivers made it for the first time this season to the last round of qualifying.

Going into the round that matters, Perez and Ocon took a risk mounting on their cars the intermediate tire, while everyone else was lapping the circuit with the full wet compound. The strategy paid off for the Racing Point driver, securing provisional pole with an astonishing time of 1:52.037. “Inters” were the right choice for the track conditions, which made most of the teams change their drivers’ tires, allowing them just one attempt to get the top spot.

Verstappen beat Perez’s time, but Lance Stroll, Checo’s teammate, secures out of nowhere an incredible pole position, his first in his Formula 1 career. 

A disappointing qualifying session for Lewis Hamilton, which will start the Turkish GP from the third row. His worst qualifying of the season. 

If he can pull the rabbit out of a hat, now’s the time. Winning in Turkey would end the championship fight while making history by equalling the most championship titles won by the legend Michael Schumacher. 

Photo credits: 20 Minutos & Planet F1

Spagna sfata il mito Amsterdam pareggiando contro l’Olanda nell’amichevole di Nations League

Termina 1:1 alla Johan Cruijff Arena la sfida tra le due nazioni protagoniste della finale di Coppa del Mondo del 2010. La Spagna non aveva mai pareggiato prima ad Amsterdam.

Di Daphne Seberich

Quanti ricordi vengono a mente guardando queste due squadre giocare. Dieci anni fa, Olanda e Spagna si sfidarono in un’accesissima gara in Sudafrica per potersi aggiudicare la vittoria e portare il trofeo di Coppa del Mondo, che nessuna delle due aveva mai vinto prima, nella propria patria. Le squadre saranno anche cambiate in quest’ultima decade, ma la rivalità rimane sempre accesa. Pur avendo delle grandi assenze in entrambi team (Ansu Fati a causa di un infortunio al menisco per gli iberici e Van Dijk e De Ligt per gli olandesi), l’amichevole tra Spagna e Olanda si rivelò essere una gara interessante, tenutasi alla Johan Cruijff Arena di Amsterdam, ove la Spagna non aveva mai vinto o pareggiato contro la squadra di casa.

Già dal calcio d’inizio si dimostra esserci un evidente dominio spagnolo, con molteplici tentativi nello specchio della porta olandese e un gran possesso palla, caratteristica dello stile di gioco iberico. 

Nel diciannovesimo minuto del primo tempo si sblocca la partita: il giocatore del Betis Canales segna un gran gol nella porta difesa da Bizot, portando la Spagna in vantaggio. L’alta tensione delle due squadre porta ad un pericoloso scontro di testa tra Hateboer e Gaya, tra cui l’ultimo degli elencati in necessità di cure mediche. A sostituirlo entra Reguilón per la Spagna. 

L’Olanda mostra a sprazzi di essere pericolosa, tentando con una conclusione del giocatore del Barcellona De Jong al 31’ di mettere la squadra avversaria in difficoltà, ma gli spagnoli non cedono. Morata dimostra di trovarsi in una ottima fase di rendimento centrando al 34’ minuto lo specchio della porta olandese, venendogli negato il gol solamente a causa di una grande parata di Bizot. La storia cambia per gli “Oranje” durante il secondo minuto di recupero del primo tempo: una rete incredibile e di gran classe segnata da Van de Beek pareggia i conti tra le due squadre avversarie. 

Durante il secondo tempo si nota un evidente miglioramento del team allenato da Frank de Boer. Il gioco viene impostato dagli olandesi, dimostrando un calo di intensità da parte degli iberici. In un’azione tre contro due, gli “Oranje” mettono a dura prova Unai Simón, che per miracolo salva il risultato della partita della sua squadra. Solamente all’ 81’ si rivede un po’ di Spagna, mandando per un soffio, grazie ad un colpo di testa di Rodri, la palla sopra la rete di Bizot. Le ultime occasioni della partita sono merito dell’Olanda, con Babel che sbaglia incredibilmente due tiri all’ 88’ e 90’ minuto di gioco. 

Entrambe le squadre hanno molto da migliorare, ma lo sfatare del mito Amsterdam fa sperar bene i tifosi spagnoli. Chi vincerà i prossimi europei?

Source: SuperNews

Hat Covid-19 eine ausgeglichenere Serie A verursacht?

Seit der 2011-2012 Saison, dominiert Juventus die italienische Fußballliga, jedoch scheint es als hätten die zahlreichen Covid-Fälle, die Mannschaften auf eine Ebene gebracht.

Von Daphne Seberich 

Nach einer von politischen Ereignissen geprägten 2019/2020 Fußballsaison, hätte niemand von einer spannenden Serie A geahnt. Viele Mannschaften befinden sich unter finanziellem Druck: Stadions bleiben zu, Merchandising wird weniger verkauft und die Businessmodelle der Fußballorganisationen zeigen ihre Schwächen. Dies führte zu einer enttäuschenden Transfermarkt-Session einiger Vereine, dennoch kam es bis jetzt zwischen den Teilnehmern zu einem ausgewogeneren und spannenderen Kampf. 

Die langjährige Dominanz der “Juventini’’ verdarb vielen den Spaß an der italienischen Liga. Juve wurde neun Jahre lang, mit mehreren Spieltagen im Voraus, als Sieger des besten italienischen Fußballturniers ernannt. Nie gab es ein Team in Italien das so oft hintereinander die Serie A gewonnen hatte. Doch diese Saison scheint anders zu laufen: Milan befindet sich dank eines ausgezeichneten Zlatan Ibrahimović an erster Stelle der Rangliste, vor Sassuolo und Ex-Milan-Spieler-und-Trainer Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli.

Die Sieger der vergangenen neun Spielzeiten sind nur auf Platz fünf, vier Punkte von den Erstplatzierten getrennt. Gründe dafür gibt es mehrere. Andrea Pirlo übernahm ohne Erfahrung an der Leitung eines großen Fußballvereins Maurizio Sarri’s Trainerposition. Einige Spieler wurden positiv für Covid-19 getestet und mussten deswegen mehrere Wochen aussetzen und in Quarantäne bleiben. Ein negatives Testergebnis des Sportlers war erforderlich um diesen wieder auf dem Fußballfeld sehen zu dürfen. Jedoch ist jede Mannschaft davon betroffen worden, nicht nur die juventinische. Unersetzbare Spieler wurden wochenlang gesperrt, darunter Ibrahimović, CR7 und Immobile.

Dies führte andererseits zu weniger vorhersagbaren Spielergebnissen und wesentlich spannungsreicheren Matches. Ist die 2020/2021 Serie A Saison endlich diejenige, in der man eine neue Siegermannschaft feiern darf?

Glas halb voll oder halb leer? Hängt davon ab, wie man verschiedene Ereignisse betrachtet. In diesem Falle auch passend, denn in der schwierigen und voller Unsicherheit geprägten Zeit, wäre es besser, negativen Gedanken aus dem Weg zu gehen. Sport bietet genau dies, eine Ablenkung von unserem Alltag, weshalb man auch positive Eigenschaften dieser Pandemie erkennen lernen könnte, denn im Leben soll nicht alles als negativ betrachtet werden. Das führe, zu Unrecht, zu Unmut.


Is the MotoGP championship fight over? Mir’s exquisite win in Valencia would indicate so

An outstanding first win in the highest class of motorbike racing for Suzuki rider Joan Mir, who now has a 37 points lead ahead of teammate Alex Rins before the upcoming last two races of the 2020 MotoGP season. 

By Daphne Seberich

Who would’ve thought before the start of the 2020 MotoGP campaign that a guy, who never won a race in the sport, would be at the top of the drivers’ championship list? 

Joan Mir proved the odds wrong, coming into the European GP, held at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, in first place with a 17 points lead. It turned out to be a magical weekend for the Spaniard: achieving his first win in the elite racing class and consolidating the top spot of the championship. Now it gets tough for the other contenders to bounce back and fight for the trophy.

After a complicated wet qualifying session, everyone was hoping for better conditions ahead of the race. Drivers and teams were concerned about their tire strategy. Most bikers chose the safe bet of the medium compound at the front and the soft at the back, just Franco Morbidelli took a risk mounting hard tires onto his Yamaha. 

What a crazy first lap. Poleman Pol Espargaro has a good start, keeping the lead of the race ahead of Rins. Championship contender Quartararo, who had a disappointing weekend overall, incredibly falls at the race start, together with Aleix Espargaro. There was no contact between the two, but the championship suddenly slipped away from the Frenchman’s hands. 

Alex Rins showed to have great pace right from the get-go and overtakes a struggling Espargaro in the second lap of the race for the lead. His teammate soon followed to surpass the KTM, securing a one-two lead for Suzuki. The gaps between the drivers soon became too substantial for overtakes, leading to an underwhelming race. 

Rossi’s zero-points-streak continued in Valencia too, having to abandon the track due to an engine issue of his Yamaha, after having to miss two races by being tested positive for Covid-19, and crashing at the two previous races in Barcelona and Le Mans. Many drivers had to retire, either for motorbike-related issues or crashes. 

Lap 11 defined the race: Rins incredibly goes wide at turn 11, providing an easy overtake for Mir. The Spaniard immediately showed to have great pace and formed a significant gap between him and his teammate. Lap times were abnormally quick for the race leader, flying over the tarmac to set 1:31.9 at every round. 

Mir, Rins and Espargaro: three Spaniards on the podium at the European GP. Yamahas now have the task to prove their underachieving weekend wrong (Morbidelli 11th, Viñales 14th and Quartararo 15th) for there to be a challenge against the Suzukis next week in Ricardo Tormo. Is the championship already over?


Pol Espargaro secures pole position at a wet qualifying in Valencia

An incredible fast lap awards the Spaniard Pol Espargaro the pole position of the European GP held in Valencia. Yamahas far off the top.

By Daphne Seberich

A wet Ricardo Tormo circuit defined the polesitter of the 2020 MotoGP European Grand Prix. Difficult conditions challenged the drivers to be brave on the brakes and gentle with the throttle to maximize lap times and squeeze everything out of their motorcycles for one flying lap that would assure them the front grid spot. Many frontrunners were outlined from the previous free practice sessions, in particular Miller, Oliveira and Zarco.

Viñales, due to an engine swap, will start from the pit lane tomorrow, 5 seconds after the last driver crossing the line. Nevertheless, Maverick crashed in FP4 and proved not to be at the peak of his shape, falling far behind the top two drivers and his teammate Valentino Rossi, who’s finally back after testing positive for Covid-19. 

Oliveira proved right away to have a great qualifying pace on the Ricardo Tormo circuit. Lap after lap he would better his time by half a second during his five attempts. Zarco, Bagnaia and Alex Marquez all tried to steal the top spot from the KTM biker, but their attempts couldn’t push the Portuguese off the throne. The battle to second got messy with Bradl securing his place to access the next qualifying round for most of Q1, but crashing on the last attempt, permitting Avintia driver, Johann Zarco, to beat the German’s time, after a brilliant last sector, where he regained one-tenth of a second on his opponent, to enter Q2. 

Morbidelli, Rins and Quartararo challenged each other right away at the start of the second qualifying round, but a surprising Nakagami swept provisional pole. Pramac biker Miller chose to get on track just at the last minutes available, to try and have a drier tarmac for his attempts. His strategy paid off as he secured second place behind the Japanese, even though he almost fell off his Ducati. Unexpectedly, an outstanding lap by KTM driver Pol Espargaro settled the fight for the grid and assured him the front spot for the race. Rins and Nakagami follow in the qualifying ranking to complete the top three. 

Who will win the race? Only time will tell, but Suzuki and KTM drivers, including Johann Zarco to the list with his Avintia, are the favorites to take the crown. Yamahas see a tough race ahead with all their drivers at the back of the grid.

This is a crucial race for the championship contenders Mir, Quartararo and Viñales. 

Will the Suzuki driver further his lead or can the Yamahas catch up with the Spaniard? 

We’ll find out…

Source: Motociclismo