Jerez, Spain

Gordon Ritchie WorldSBK Blog: Privateers Progress

As far as seasons go, the 2020 WorldSBK version will be a short one. Even after three down and five to go in terms of full rounds, there have still been enough changes of fortune and unusual happenings to make for more than enough talking points.

First of all we had the usual wildfowl-dodging opener in Australia. Three different race winners, including two riders who had just signed with new manufacturers (Toprak Razgatlioglu on a Pata Yamaha, Alex Lowes for KRT), plus one old hand showing his mettle and a very human mistake on what was a testing weekend in many ways (KRT fixture Jonathan Rea). Then we – finally - came back to action in the scalding paella pan that was Jerez in very late July.

Scott Redding and Ducati built two winning extension and one runner-up mezzanine at Jerez atop their three podium foundations from Oz. Rea won the short race again though, and in some style considering how he could not get close to Redding in the long races. And then there was also a mystery rear-grip drop off for the five-time champion in race two, an unwelcome trek back down one of WorldSBK’s dimly-lit and seemingly sealed-off back alleys.

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Opinion: Should Riders Be Stopped? On Injuries, The Racer Mentality, And Macho Culture

Marc Marquez at the Andalusia round of MotoGP at Jerez, Photo Cormac Ryan-Meenan

Any fool could see that Marc Márquez coming back to race at the second race in Jerez, after breaking his arm in the first race, was a bad idea. The fact that he has had to have a second operation to replace the plate in his arm merely confirms this.

But MotoGP racers are no ordinary fools, of course. Like all elite athletes, they are driven to extraordinary lengths to compete, taking extraordinary risks, pushing their bodies and minds to the limits of their abilities, and all too often, beyond. They do not consider whether something might be a bad idea or not.

For a MotoGP rider, the short term is the next practice session, the medium term is the race on Sunday, the long term is the championship standing at the end of the season. Anything beyond that is not relevant to the job at hand, which is to try to win races and titles.

That blinkered focus means that they are, as a rule, incapable of taking sensible decisions about their health, in either the short or the long term. But it is precisely that same blinkered focus which has brought them to where they are, racing at the very highest levels of the world championship. The ability to exclude anything that doesn't directly involve racing from their minds and devote all of their mental and physical energy to racing is what makes them so successful.

The decisions of MotoGP racers are foolish in the long term, but when viewed from the warped perspective of an elite athlete, they have an internal logic and consistency which makes sense to them. As I said, MotoGP racers are no ordinary fools...

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Marc Marquez Has Second Surgery To Fit New Plate To Broken Arm

Marc Marquez has been forced to undergo a second operation on the arm he broke at Jerez during the first race of the restarted 2020 MotoGP season. During a medical examination, the titanium plate holding the Repsol Honda rider's right humerus together was found to have bent due to stress placed on it. A second operation was needed to remove the bent plate and replace it with a new one.

Marquez will now spend the 48 hours after the operation in hospital, after which he will be evaluated as to whether he will be able to take part in this weekend's Czech round of MotoGP at Brno. Given what just happened at Jerez, and the fact that he has now missed two races, the chances of him actually racing in Brno are zero.

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2020 Jerez World Superbike Race Two Result: Sighting Lap Showboating

As the air temperature hit thirty five degrees centigrade, fun-loving Toprak Razgatlioglu did some show-boating on the sighting lap, in spite of a lack of audience. After a quick wheelie, he did a slow rear slide that turned into the simplest lowside crash, spinning in the middle of the track. He picked it up and sheepishly made the grid for the race start.

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2020 Jerez World Supersport Race Two Result: Drama On The Warmup

World Supersport opened with a red flag on the warmup lap. Axel Bassani adjusted his visor as he left the grid and, in a moment of inattention, ploughed right into the back of Raffaele De Rosa at a low speed. Bassani crashed and his bike tumbled into the gravel while De Rosa's rear tyre was deflated and the rear of his seat was destroyed. De Rosa limped his MV Agusta around an entire lap with bits falling off his bike and a floppy rear tyre. The race start was delayed and the incident immediately went under investigation. 

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