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?