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

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?