2020 European MotoGP Results and News – Cycle News

Chess Engine

Rennie Scaysbrook | November 10, 2020

Sunday was Suzukis day. The Hamamatsu factory claimed its first premier class one-two since the end of 1982, when Marco Luchinelli and Randy Mamola finished first and second. Its riders now sit first and third overall, as well as taking a decisive step in the Constructors and Teams Championships. Suzuki leads the former by seven points, the latter by 82.

Here was definitive proof the GSX-RR is the grids standout machine. The bike has changed a lot, Rins said of how the GSX-RR has developed over the past four seasons. In 2017 we took a bad engine option. Then we changed the engine, we changed the chassis, we changed a lot of things like the fairing. They are really doing a good job, altogether with our comments, with our feedback to improve the bike.For Valentino Rossi, Suzukis success lies in its ability to successfully link the requests of its riders and test teams to the factory in Japan. For me, Suzuki work very well because I think (Davide) Brivio made a fantastic job because hes able to fuse the work from Japan with the very strong work in Italy. Especially, hes able to convince the Japanese to work together with the Europeans and the Italians, and he makes a very strong team.

Having sensationally announced his planned departure from Ducati at the Austrian Grand Prix, Andrea Dovizioso is set to shock onlookers once more by taking a sabbatical from the sport at the end of 2020.

The Italian has been worn down by the failings of the previous two seasons and has cut a dejected figure in recent months, as his championship challenge has stuttered while both he and Ducati have failed to adapt to Michelins 2020 rear tire.

Dovizioso had talks with Honda and Yamaha regarding taking the reins of their test teams for 2021. Aprilia was also keen to recruit him for the second seat in its squad should Andrea Iannones 18-month ban by the FIM be upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

But Dovizioso has signaled he is ready to turn down all of those offers in favour of taking a year off with the intention of returning in 2022. Dovizioso is a motocross fanatic and has intentions of racing competitively in that discipline.

Aprilias hunt has become more complicated as Cal Crutchlow sensationally decided against joining the Noale factory in 2021. Instead he will become Yamahas MotoGP test rider in a role that will see him develop the M1 alongside making a number of potential wildcard appearances.

Crutchlow joined MotoGP with Yamaha in 2011 and enjoyed two successful years with the Tech 3 team in 2012 and 13, a relationship that brought about six podiums and two pole positions. After learning of Hondas decision to replace him at LCR with Alex Marquez for 2021, the 35-year old had been tipped to join Aprilia.

But the uncompetitive nature of the RS-GP, its continued reliability issues and the Noale factorys poor treatment of other British riders Sam Lowes, Scott Redding and Bradley Smith in the past four years has seen him accept Yamahas offer.

Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) is now a MotoGP race winner. The Suzuki rider was perfect in the Gran Premio de Europa to make his first visit to the top step in the premier class, putting one hand on the crown in the process as he stretches his advantage in the Championship to 37 points. Mir is also the ninth different premier class winner of the year, seeing 2020 equal the record of most winners in a season, and the number 36 sets a new record as the fifth different maiden winner this year. With teammate Alex Rins following him home in second, the day also marked the first Suzuki 1-2 since 1982 and the Hamamatsu factory now leads in the fight for the riders, constructors and teams Championships. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) kept Rins honest as the number 44 took third though, back on the podium at the scene of both his and KTMs first premier class rostrum finish in 2018.

It was close as the premier class riders roared away from the line, with both Rins and Pol Espargaro getting away well from the front row but the KTM ultimately taking the holeshot. Mir got away well from fifth too and was up to P4, just behind Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu). But not long after that, eyes would turn to some serious Lap 1 Championship drama.

Heading into Turn 8 at the end of the back straight, Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was suddenly down and out of contention, the Frenchman reacting to Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) alongside him as the two both slid into the gravel. No contact was made and pure bad luck reigned, but it was monumental for the Championship. Luckily for Quartararo, he was able to pick the bike up and get running again but El Diablo re-joined behind Maverick Viales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), who had started from pitlane due to exceeding his engine allocation. Early doors, it was advantage Mir near the front as some of his key rivals scrabbled to make up lost ground.

Pol Espargaro led the first one and a half laps but it didnt take long for Rins to pounce at Turn 11, the Suzuki slotting through to take the lead and a couple of laps later, Mir who had passed Nakagami on the opening lap copy and pasted his teammates move on KTM as the Hamamatsu factory made it formation flying at the front. Oliveira was now also past Nakagami as two KTMs chased the Suzukis, before more drama hit further back once again for Yamaha.

On Lap 5, the returning Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was shown stopped on track at Turn 5, the Doctors comeback from Covid-19 sadly over after just a handful of laps. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) then crashed unhurt not long after, bumping Viales up to 15th and Quartararo on the verge of the points. How much more progress could they make?

Meanwhile, the front group remained in a tense as-you-were. An intriguing game of chess was beginning as Rins led teammate Mir, with Pol Espargaro and Oliveira not far off, and Nakagami and Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) still in fairly close pursuit to boot. After a slow start, Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) was regrouping and chasing Zarco down as well, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) going the opposite way as the Italian was shuffled back.

With 15 to go, there remained nothing to choose between the two Suzukis in the lead. Lap after lap, Rins and Mir were exchanging 1:32.1s. A few laps later, Mir was visibly closer and homing in, but a move wasnt coming yet as the gameplan seemed to hint towards patience. But that was assuming it would all come down to tactics, and instead, it was about to come down to a small but costly mistake for the man in the lead.

Rins, heading through Turn 11 with 11 to go, was ever-so-slightly wide and a door ajar will soon become a door opened in MotoGP. Mir needed no second invitation, sweeping through to take over at the front and face down 10 laps with a lot at stake. Next time around, the Mayorcan set the fastest lap. By seven to go, his lead had crept to over half a second.

Two laps later, Mir was over a second clear it that made it clear: a mistake was likely the only thing that was going to stop the Mayorcan finally taking to that top step. Rins was still getting hounded by an impressive Pol Espargaro, and Nakagami was lurking just behind with some great late-race pace as well. Suzuki Team Manager Davide Brivio could barely watch, but it all came down to this: one more lap.

With 1.4 seconds in his pocket, just 4km stood between Mir and a historic maiden MotoGP win, as well as a whole load of Championship advantage. And the number 36 held firm, keeping everything calm and collected to the line to finally make it a reality: his first premier class win, taken in some style. Monkey off back, one hand on crown and debate silenced, all he needs next time out is a podium regardless of anyone elses results.

Rins held off Espargaro by six tenths in the end, enough to create that milestone Suzuki 1-2 and moving into third overall equal on points with Quartararo. Another impressive podium for KTM was also Pol Espargaros fourth rostrum of 2020, putting him just nine points down on Dovizioso in the Championship.

Nakagami banished the Aragon demons with a great ride to P4, less than a second away from a first premier class podium and top Independent Team rider to earn a trip to parc ferme. Oliveira slipped back into the grasp of Miller but the Portuguese rider just got the better of the Australian for P5, relegating the Queenslander to sixth.

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), meanwhile, took a superb P7 despite a long-lap penalty served for his Aragon mistake, and the South African regains a points advantage in the battle for Rookie of the Year after Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) crashed out. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) lost more ground in the title race after a P8 finish, but the Italian beat fellow Ducati rider Zarco by 0.7 seconds after the Frenchmans pace dropped off in the latter stages. Ducati Teams Danilo Petrucci completed the top ten, the Italian gaining an impressive eight places.

Morbidellis Sunday was a contrasting one to Teruel. A difficult day and P11 for the Italian sees him drop to 45 points behind Mir in the title race after a tough weekend on the whole for Yamaha. Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) crossed the line 12th after another good ride from the HRC test rider, just ahead of Viales who, despite his pitlane start, was just over a second behind the German.

Quartararo took the flag in P14, his opening lap crash putting a serious dent in his title chances. He remains second overall, however, and looking to hit back against Rins too. There are still 50 points in play

Tito Rabat (Esponsorama Racing), Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) crashed out, riders ok.

And so the curtains come down for another week, with another chapter safely filed in the annals of history. Valencia will host again as the paddock returns to action next weekend, and everything will now be on the line as the first match point appears on the horizon. Nine winners, five first-timers, and one of them on the roll of his life. Can Mir make it a coronation? With a 37-point safety net, all he needs is a podium.

In Moto2, SkyRacing Team VR46s Marco Bezzecchi bounced back in style after a double DNF at MotorLand Aragon by taking a second career Moto2 victory at the Gran Premio de Europa. It wasa race filled with drama, with Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) locking out the podium but many a headlinefocused on the title fight: Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) now leads the World Championship once again, the Italian fighting through to fourth as former points leader Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) crashed out.

In Moto3, Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) put in a stunner to take the lead early in the Gran Premio de Europa and then pull away, staying calm and collected to take to the top step for the first time in Grand Prix racing. Behind him, a three-way battle royale raged on the final lap, with 2019 Valencia GP winner Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) coming out on top to take second ahead ofAi Ogura (Honda Team Asia). The podium for Ogura boosts him up to within three points of the Championship lead. CN

2020 FIM MotoGP Championship

Gran Premio de Europ

Valencia, Spain

RESULTS (November 8, 2020)




After weeks of negotiating, it was confirmed on Saturday Luca Marini will step up to MotoGP in 2021 with Esponsorama Ducati, where he will compete alongside current Moto2 challenger Enea Bastianini.Interestingly, Marini will ride in the colors of his current Sky Racing VR46 team next year and will take a number of his current Moto2 crew with him to the premier class, where he will race against half-brother Valentino Rossi aboard a Ducati Desmosedici GP19.

It is believed Sky Racing VR46 is paying Esponsorama racing somewhere in the region of 1.5 million Euros to place Marini in the squad, leaving Tito Rabat (who had a contract for 2021) out in the cold. Because of this, Sky Racing VR46 will withdraw its entry from the Moto3 class. Moto3 rider Celestino Vietti will take Marinis seat in the Moto2 team next year.

For those who have been part of this project since 2014, MotoGP has always been a dream, said Sky Racing VR46 Team Boss Pablo Nieto. After being alongside Bagnaia in his path to the top class in 2019, we are about to watch him compete in 2021 in the colors of an official factory while reaching a similar goal with Marini and the team.

The fact five-time World Champion Jorge Lorenzo wasnt selected to replace Valentino Rossi in Aragon was telling. But the fact Garrett Gerloff got the nod to substitute for the returning Italian on the Friday at Valencia was confirmation that the Majorcan is on his way out of Yamahas test team.

Unlikely links placed Lorenzo in Aprilias test team for 2021 after the news that the Noale factorys current test rider Bradley Smith deputizing for Andrea Iannone as a full-time rider all season had been replaced by Lorenzo Savadori for the final three races of this year.

But Aleix Espargaro feels Lorenzos recent showing at a test in Portimao, when he was over 3s off the fastest pace, suggested he was not the right man to lead Aprilias test team. With Lorenzo, the level is beyond doubt. Hes one of the best riders of the last 20 years. Very, very fast rider. But I dont know if his commitment, if his desire, if hes physically ready. Im not really sure. Hes the only one that knows that.

Aprilia is trying hard to find fast riders, the market is not easy but the good thing is that Aprilia management is working very hard I know to try to help me, to try to make the team stronger.

On a day in which two of his title contenders either waved the white flag or spoke of desperation, Joan Mir was the epitome of cool. Maverick Viales all but conceded the title after a lackluster showing in qualifying, stating, Marc (Marquez) is not here so it was a perfect situation to win the title. But we have lost 2017 and 2020 by the same mistakes.

Having failed to find any kind of comfort in the wet conditions, Fabio Quartararo vowed to go all in on Sunday from the fourth row of the grid. Im in the mood to be aggressive tomorrow, I will be. If I crash or something itll be for a good reason.

All the while title leader Mir appeared composed. Asked about pressure, he replied: Pressure? Pressure is what is happening with Covid or with people who cant pay rent. Im competing for a MotoGP title. If it goes well, it goes well. If it doesnt end well, then thats also fine for me. There are many people having a worse time.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racings Pol Espargaro picked up a phenomenal second pole position of 2020 after mastering the wet conditions in Q2 at the Gran Premio de Europa, the Spaniard slamming in a late 1:40.434 to head a front row covered by less than a tenth. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) starts second as the top title challenger, just 0.041 back, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) claiming the final front row slot despite a late crash. The grid is a fascinating one ahead of lights out, with Championship challengers scattered throughout and, of course, Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) also starting from pitlane due to exceeding his engine allocation.

On a drying Circuit Ricardo Tormo that saw the Moto2 riders attack Q2 with slick tires, Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) produced the goods to bag his first pole position of the season. The Spaniards last lap was good enough to see him beat Joe Roberts (Tennor American Racing) by just under two tenths, with Championship leader Sam Lowes a further 0.002 back in P3. The British riders main title rival Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) will start from 15th.

Valentino Rossi was back at Valencia despite testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday. However subsequent tests on Wednesday and Friday came back negative, meaning the 41-year old could return to the track on Saturday.

In his place, American Garrett Gerloff rode as Yamahas substitute rider on Friday. The conditions were by no means easy: the World Superbike star had a wet FP1 session and a damp but drying FP2 to experience a MotoGP machine for the first time. He ended the day 19th fastest, just 1.5s off first place.

Im still smiling, Gerloff exclaimed on Friday evening. It feels somewhat like the R1 I have been riding all year but then everything was another step. It was so nice to feel the power, how fast the bike shifts, how good the tyres are, the brakes.

In the back of my mind I was thinking alright,this bike is expensive andits not mine,so I should probably take care of it.And then I didnt realise that Valentino was in the pits during the second session, and so when I came in after the session ended he was there. One of the first things he said was Ohman good job and thanks for taking care of my bike!

Yamahas three title contenders breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday evening after the FIM decided against docking them points in light of an investigation into the engines the factory used at the Spanish Grand Prix in July.

Instead the Iwata factory was docked 50 points from the Constructors Championship double what it scored that weekend and both Petronas SRT (37 points) and Monster Energy Yamaha (20) lost the points they scored in the Teams Championship that weekend (and at the Styrian Grand Prix, where Franco Morbidelli also used an engine he had fitted at Jerez).

What appears to be the case is between the start of the season in March, when engine designs are checked and approved by Technical Director Danny Aldridge, and July, the factory changed the material of the valves in all four riders engines, which explicitly goes against the rules. All engines are sealed at round one and any breaking of the seals or subsequent internal changes are forbidden.

Somewhat ironically, they engines used that weekend were withdrawn from all four riders season allocation due to reliability concerns. Maverick Viales bike blew up in practice and Valentino Rossis in the race. It then appears the factory reverted to its original design (with original valves) after Jerez, due to these reliability concerns.

This first came to light prior to the Austrian GP, when Yamaha had submitted a request to MotoGP Technical Director Danny Aldridge to allow the Jerez engines to be unsealed and have the valves replaced so the faulty engines could be used in the remainder of the season. Yet such a request has to be approved unanimously by the members of the MSMA. When the MSMA requested more details of the change, Yamaha withdrew its application, knowing its error.

The official statement from the FIM stated, Yamaha Motor Company failed to respect the protocol which requires them to obtain unanimous approval from MSMA for technical changes. Such approval is common protocol for the six MotoGP manufacturers.

A Yamaha statement read, Yamaha omitted to give prior notification to and gain approval from the MSMA for the use of valves by two manufacturers. Yamaha would like to confirm there was no malintent in using the valves of two different suppliers that were manufactured according to one common design specification.

In light of this serious breaking of the rules, a number of riders were critical of the FIMs decision not to dock the Yamaha contenders points. Its clear they have cheated, said Alex Marquez. Jack Miller also mentioned, If a rider is caught doping, both the rider and the team get the points taken away from them. And this is cheating. What they have done is cheating, and to not penalise the rider doesnt make any sense.

Despite avoiding a points deduction, Maverick Viales had a Friday to forget. First, he began using his sixth engine of the year (manufacturers without concessions can use five per rider) at the European Grand Prix, an infringement that immediately is punished with a pitlane start for the rider in question.

Such were the issues regarding the reliability of three of his Yamahas engines used at the Spanish Grand Prix, Viales has been reduced to using two motors in the nine subsequent races (with the exception of the Friday and Saturday at the Styrian Grand Prix).

He has since been running with less revs and attempting to limit the mileage. But at Valencia it was too much. A sixth engine was summoned. We managed the best we can because we made the whole season until now with two engines. The other engine was broken a little bit and it was not safe to run with the third engine because maybe I can get oil on the track.

Every year we are throwing away the opportunity to win the title by mistakes. So for sure my feeling is very bad, but I have a perfect situation at home, I have a perfect life, I dont want to be angry anymore.

It didnt end there. Viales data technician was notified he had tested positive for Covid-19 during Fridays running, leaving the team scampering for fresh tests. I made a PCR this morning, after FP1, so we will see. What can happen more in one weekend? I dont know!

Fastest in the morning and fastest in the afternoon for MotoGP: Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) is the master of Day 1 at the Gran Premio de Europa. A wet morning followed by a drying Circuit Ricardo Tormo saw the Australian set a best time of a 1:32.528 to take to the top, 0.092 ahead of second fastest Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini). Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was two tenths off Miller in FP2 to take third, fastest of the top six in the title fight. Friday also saw all six manufacturers represented in the top six, and the top four all hailed from Independent Teams.

Some drama hit for title challenger Maverick Viales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) though. The Spaniard will have to start the race from pitlane on Sunday, five seconds after the green light at pit exit, for an engine allocation infringement.

Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) left it late but turned the tables on Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) by the end of play on Day 1 in Valencia, the Beast denying key rival and Championship leader Lowes by just 0.057. Joe Roberts (Tennor American Racing) was third fastest, the American making his presence felt at the top in the afternoon. Wet in the morning and dry ish in the afternoon, laptimes tumbled but remained far from those set in ideal conditions.

Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) was fastest on Friday at the Gran Premio de Europa, the Italian therefore also the top title challenger on the timesheets after a day of tricky conditions. Vietti led 2019 Valencia GP winner Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) by a couple of tenths, with Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) in hot pursuit in third.

Championship leader Albert Arenas (Valresa Aspar Team Moto3) ended the day down in P18, with closest rival Ai Ogura only a couple of places ahead of him. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing), meanwhile, had a day of two halves and ends up outside the top twenty overall.

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2020 European MotoGP Results and News - Cycle News

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