2020 Brno MotoGP Race Result: A Flurry Of Fantastic Firsts

The challenges posed by the track surface in Brno mixed with a fairly entertaining qualifying session made any predictions for the premier class race very difficult but none of them could have foreseen the eventual podium in the Czech Republic. It was a momentous day for KTM, who celebrated their first victory in MotoGP after 40 minutes of pure magic from Brad Binder, who became the first rookie winner in the premier class since the reigning world champion. For much of the race it looked like it was going to be Franco Morbidelli’s time to shine and shine he did, but instead of victory, he more calmly celebrated his maiden podium in MotoGP. In a day of firsts, Johann Zarco had the most eventful afternoon of the lot but still managed to bring home the very first podium for the Esponsorama/Avintia crew.

The poleman’s race kicked off with a pretty shocking start, Zarco getting swallowed by the sharks off the line, while Petronas took control at the front. Fabio Quartrarao reached turn one first but found himself second to Morbidelli by turn two. Aleix Espargaro made a fine start to join the top three ahead of brother Pol and was soon attacking Quartararo for second. By the time the Frenchman found a way back past on the Aprilia, Morbidelli had extended a gap of over one second at the front. Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro was getting roughed up by teammate Binder and a quickly recovering Zarco. Missing in action on lap one were Maverick Vinales down to 8th and Valentino Rossi in 10th, while Takaaki Nakagami and Andrea Dovizioso were making steady progress from their lowly qualifying positions, knocking on the doors of the top ten by the third lap.

While Quartararo was chasing down his teammate, Binder was hounding Aleix Espargaro to claim a provisional podium spot and Zarco followed the South African’s example, leaving Aleix to scrap it out with his brother for fifth position. By lap four, Quartararo had to switch focus from pursuing Morbidelli to defending his position from a feisty Binder, leaving Zarco and Pol behind. Pol eventually found a way past the poleman on lap six and went in pursuit of his teammate, with one second to recover on the podium battle. Aleix Espargaro looked like he decisively lost touch with the main contenders and tried to keep Rins and Rossi at bay, while Vinales, Nakagami and Dovizioso’s progress had stalled towards the bottom of the top ten.

Morbidelli’s gap was still safe by lap 8 but Quartararo and Binder had more company as Pol and Zarco had tagged to the back of them. Binder made the first move, picking up the chase at turn 3 but Pol did not want to let his teammate go too far and also found his way past Quartararo soon after. However, taking a few wide corners put him in the path of Zarco and a slight nudge from the Avintia man saw the Spaniard disappointingly slide out at turn 1. With 12 laps remaining and as the incident was being investigated, Zarco made his move on a somewhat fading Quartararo and had one second to find to catch up on Binder.

Clear of any challengers, Binder pushed to reduce Morbidelli’s gap no near nothing with 10 laps remaining and made his move for the lead one lap later. The KTM man quickly found a half second gap on the Yamaha, while Zarco was drawing closer too but was slapped with a long lap penalty for irresponsible riding. The Frenchman danced on the dusty white line of the penalty lane to keep ahead of Quartararo and successfully did so but lost touch with the duo ahead.

Binder looked comfortable in the lead, but his 1.5 second gap wasn’t fully safe from Morbidelli yet, while Zarco was unperturbed in third and Quartararo came under attack from Rins, with Rossi waiting in the wings. Despite struggling with his tyre choice, Quartararo did not make it easy for the Spaniard to get past and it took until the final five laps for Rins to make a decisive move. Rossi had an easier time in overtaking the Petronas rider, who was going backwards and soon allowed Oliveira past. His saving grace was that the next group led by Nakagami was almost four seconds behind.

With four laps to go, Binder had an impressive three second advantage at the front and increased that further by the checkered flag to take a historic first win for himself and KTM. Morbidelli came home safely in second, while Zarco got pushed to the very end by Rins. Despite pretty severe tyre trouble, the Avintia man held on to keep his podium position, with Rins a commendable fourth. Rossi joined the top five ahead of Oliveira, with Quartararo fading to seventh position. Nakagami, Jack Miller and Aleix Espargaro completed the top ten, while Dovizioso in 11th and Vinales in 14th position had a very tough day at the office.

Despite the difficult afternoon, Quartararo extends his championship lead due to his rivals’ even worse headache, leading the way by 17 points from Vinales. Morbidelli makes a massive jump in the standings to trail his teammate by 28 points, similarly to Dovizioso. Binder heads to KTM’s home race in fifth place, 31 points down on Quartararo and tied on points with Zarco.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 33 Brad Binder KTM 41'38.764
2 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha +5.266
3 5 Johann Zarco Ducati +6.470
4 42 Alex Rins Suzuki +6.609
5 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha +7.517
6 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM +7.969
7 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha +11.827
8 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda +12.862
9 43 Jack Miller Ducati +15.013
10 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia +15.087
11 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati +16.455
12 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati +18.506
13 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda +18.736
14 12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha +19.720
15 73 Alex Marquez Honda +24.597
16 53 Tito Rabat Ducati +29.004
17 38 Bradley Smith Aprilia +32.290
18 6 Stefan Bradl Honda +55.977
Not Classified
  44 Pol Espargaro KTM 12 Laps
  36 Joan Mir Suzuki 18 Laps
  27 Iker Lecuona KTM 18 Laps
Round Number: 
4
2020
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Comments

Watching live on the MotoGP channel, I couldn't fold a piece of laundry, open a piece of mail or glance down at a book (I swore I would complete reading this morning.) Maybe it's MM being sidelined, but if so, I've lost count of the number of genies he's allowed out of the bottle today. 

Aside from Le Zarc's penalty which I wasn't in agreement with, it was an excellent race.  Very happy for KTM and for all the new colts coming through.

Watching #33 in Jerez you just knew if he could keep it out of the gravel he would finish at worst top ten in both, shall we call them heats. I felt he messed up a trifle in his very first race and a measly little mistake it was. Jerez part 2 was clearly one of those situations. Petrux did force him to pick the bike up ever so slightly and that cost him and Miguel. This weekend he looked equally strong all weekend and I figured he would end up in the kitty litter or podium as he could have in Jerez. Winning was the cherry on top for me. Havn't felt this good about one of my countrymen bike racer's since Jon Ekerold at the old Nurburgring vs Toni Mang for the 350 title back then. A big shout out to KTM too. Unlike Ducati and Honda, they seem to listen to the riders and testers feedback as much as their engineers and data analysts. What are Ducati going to do now? Tell Miller to go for psycho analysis like they did to Melandri back then. Zarco rode a sublime race which included the very fastest disembowlment of a penalty one will probably ever witness. And after all the dust settles, Dovi remains top Ducati in the standings. Also a big shout out to Alex Rins. That was one hell of a ride. And Frankie Morbidelli...a very well crafted and executed weekend. Vale may well put the mockers on Maverick from hereon in within Yamaha factory. 

What an enjoyable race to see those young new guys at the top challenging for the podium and the win. For me, as a fan, this has been a long time coming and a much welcome change. This shows what can happen when any rider and all the teams feel they have a chance; when riders can achieve a podium without feeling forced to ride wildly (recklessly?) over the limit; when a single rider no longer has a chokehold on the championship; when hope and possibility are realistically restored.  Look at the diversity now on the podium. KTM factory plus Ducati and Yamaha satellite teams. Who would have predicted (certainly not me) this kind of diverse result had a certain rider conspicuous by his absence been present on the grid during qualifying and the race? MotoGP may now be (at least for a brief moment) the only world championship series NOT plagued by a "winner take all" imbalance (F1 and WSBK being the relevant contrasts that come to my mind).

-What a ride by Binder.

-Watershed season here for MotoGP.

-The incident between Pol and Zarco was a racing incident and if anything it was highly optimisistic of Pol to think nobody would be on the inside, race line, after he ran wide. It isnt Zarco's responsibility to wait and let Pol back onto the racing line. Penalizing Zarco was ridiculous. The way Zarco handled the penalty was stupendous.

-Cant wait for the Red Bull Ring!

Very unjust punishment for Zarco. MM has pulled moves like that throughout his career, without so much as an investigation. Zarco's ride through the long loop was epic though.

When I look at video of incident, it is clear Zarco is beginning to pick up for corner exit. Pol is way leaned over, and if he made the exit would have run off.

As a former club racer and long-time racing referee, to me that was 100% a racing incident, two racers going for the same piece of pavement. You can say that Zarco wasn't all the way past and it's the responsibility of the passing rider to do so safely; you can also say that the guy who ran a bit wide has a responsibility to look where the hell he's going when he cuts back down to the line. The penalty to Zarco was idiotic, "Fat Freddie" and the other stewards should be sent to bed without their supper.

+1

I will add that penalty has become the norm in 2020 racing. If you've been following the adventures of Red Bull's Alex Albon it looked very familiar. Guess Mateschitz wins some and loses some. 

As viewed from afar, it is easy to say that Zarco was not ahead on track. But, it is difficult to believe that Espargaro did not hear, feel or sense Zarco's bike right next to his head just before contact. Plus, Ducati management's arguement that Espargaro could see on his pit board that Zarco was all over his rear tire just before the turn 1 incident is valid. If Pol saw his pit board. Racers have a don't-budge-a-milimeter mentality and that's why they end up with tire marks on their leathers. Or trips into the gravel. It's hard to dislike Zarco after viewing his comments in the post race presser. Plus, Espargaro looked a bit in trouble with the tires just before contact. So, the idea that he was destined for the podium was speculative at best.

Didn't think I'd wake up this morning to watch the KTM become a race winning bike. Brilliant ride by Binder!

Seems to me Pol Espargaro needs to work on his temper tantrums or he will never be a consistent front runner. He was so obviously frustrated being caught behind Zarco (which was the reason of his crash more than anything iyam), and also after the race. Which I can imagine to a certain extent, when your rookie teammate just outshined you in the biggest way possible, but to say in the 'Rider Roundup' (©MotoMatters) he was faster and "just waiting to win the race"? That just doesn't look good.

As an austrian fan it is amazing to see what KTM pulled off today, Binder is a force of nature and so cool that he "pinkelt Eiswürfel".

Looking into social media accounts of any kind, the majority of comments say something like - "Thank you Dani"!

Which brings me to the bad dreams section, possibly Alberto Puig will have an upsetting night with such dreams as he dismissed the above mentioned Dani, who - under guidance of his good friend Mike Leitner - threw all his experience with razorsharp V4s into the ring to develop a sweethandling razorsharp V4 with KTM.

To not mention anything of Dani Pedrosa's hard work wading through the pile of parts to put together a winning package was surely an oversight. Fresh respect to DP26.

Yes to all the commenters who mentioned a "racing incident" between Pol Espargaro and Johann Zarco. Especially because it was a right corner and JZ5 was hung way off to the right side. That "long line" penalty ride was epic though!

Three exclamation marks because it was the rookies third race. In Jerez 2016, when Binder had to start from the back of the grid for a bogus ecu infraction, he worked his way through the entire field to win the race. In parc ferme, he said he made up all the time on the brakes. Marquez may be a savant on the brakes, but it's possible that Binder may be able to perform similar incredible feats. Plus, Binder is humble, grateful and likeable. He had a lot of compliments and gratitude for others. 

Race direction assessed a penalty for the Zarco/Espargaro incident so case closed. Zarco does have a habit of trying to overtake other riders by going for the gap on the inside of turns and meeting the rider he's trying to pass at the apex. He did this to Rossi at Cota in his first season of Motogp, and also Oliveira at Silverstone in 2019 resulting in a crash and eventual shoulder surgery for Oliveira. He never gets his bike ahead on track and the other riders don't know he's there. Concerning the clash with Espargaro in today's race, his bike was clearly behind Espargaro's on track when they came together. Regardless, he made the factory GP20 guys look very average today. Morbidelli did the same to his teammate and everyone else not named Brad Binder. The Honda, Ducati and Yamaha factory guys have been severely humbled today. It was wonderful.

You have to wonder how smug Dani may be feeling this evening. 

You also have to wonder how tempted he was to bare his arse through Albertos' motorhome window ...

 

Zarco - bit optimistic I'll grant you, but he commited to a gap that was handed to him by Espagaro running wide. You could contend that it was Pols responsibility to check before coming back onto the line across Johans' nose. Either way, the penalty was a bit harsh considering the precedents set previously. 

"You also have to wonder how tempted he was to bare his arse through Albertos' motorhome window ..."

Awesome, thanks for the mental image.

I totally agree with Arch. Zarco took what was given to him. He never moved an inch off his line. Pol came down on him and suffered the consequences. Zarco should never have been given that long lap penalty even though it was quite impressive how he managed it. Just glad he was able to hang on to third. If Dovi cannot come to terms with Ducati, I hope he gets that ride. 

'Of course this can not be considered a real victory/podium/record etc without Marc. I have asked-no told- the FIM they need to consider giving less points this season, say old style 15 for win, 12 for second etc as Obviously this championship has less value. of course when Marc arrives on the track it can be put back to full points. My friends in race control (I have many friends in high towers) have helped me with cameras so I can see how Marc is preparing, and some interesting track footage from other teams, oops no, only joking! Oh, hold on, he's just put his CRF250 through a window. Again. Still, at least the window is now open. Looks nasty though.'

Well done KTM, didn't think it would happen like that, but always felt it would happen. Serious racing company. Serious intent and with Red Bull have the cash to realise it. Oh how some laughed when they were in year one. They didn't know KTM, they know how to win more than most. MotoGP just takes more time and money; got the money (and Dani etc), well done! Pol to Repsol Honda 🤦🏼‍♂️

race all up. I thought I'll do some things on the side due to it probably being processional, but it was anything but! 

Great race by Binder, even though I have to admit I was hoping for a miricale in Quartarao coming through. Nice mature ride by him to take waht was possible and not crashing in overreaching for what was not.

The Zarco penalty was rubbish. He was on the racing line, albeit not 'in front', but it was still his line. Pol just had 'Red Mist' in his eyes, pretended he wasa entitled, and promptly crashed out. In my mind his claim for the line was even further weakened but having run wide at least twice just prior to his crash and his riding at that stage look like it was a little out of control. Interesting to see how all the factory squads get more or less shown up by satellite teams on year-old machinery.

I am sure it has partly to do with the enomours amount of data available to get to the right set-up for those bikes, but am wondering whether the new rear tire is really a curve ball and responsible for most of the struggle we see by the factory riders. 

Am lookking forward to the comprehensive report and, fingers crossed, a photo expose again????

Thanks. :-)

 

Great race, super performance from the winner and well deserved by all the podium finishers.

Pre season I posted what I thought was fanciful speculation about Honda signing Pol to stall KTM's progress before they became a genuine threat - turns out they weren't quick enough.

First race I've watched in twenty years where I didn't see a Repsol Honda all race.

A lot of praise being handed out to Dani Pedrosa for his efforts in the KTM Motogp project. And rightly so. We must not forget the work of Mika Kallio also, since he was there at the beginning. Plus, all the other folks that $50 million dollars (if fuzzy memory serves me correctly) of energy drink profits a year can buy. Just listen to Binder's comments about how much help he has received to put an "awesome weapon" and an "insane bike" underneath him for the Brno race. Money (and hard work plus creativity, ingenuity and talent) usually precedes results. And let's not forget about those that can afford the greatest supercomputer and the technicians. The word is that there are so many laptops and brains out of view of the prying eyeball lense of the camera that it is mind boggling. Maybe this is what Binder's comments are alluding to. Is Red Bull backed orange the new orange (and red) in the Motogp paddock? The factory Ducati guys looked completely lost today. And Repsol Honda was invisible. I forgot M.Marquez even existed...

Can hardly wait to see a healthy Marquez take on Quartararo and Binder in an all out scrap. BRING IT!

Full credit to Binder & KTM, who had been signaling they've arrived since the 2020 season began, it was a joy to behold. I give Zarco a pass on his contact with Pol - you could've fit a touring car through that opening. Rossi finishing a mere 1 second from the podium should not be lost on anyone - it appears the chronic tire/setup issues have been thwarted, finally.

It takes a team to win in the big class. Well done KTM! Didn't expect to be celebrating so soon. But thought the Austrian mob would get to the front given time. The project seems to have improved more rapidly since Dani Pedrosa brought his contribution to the team. Almost twenty years of grand prix motorcycle racing experience has made a big difference. Seems to me KTM may actually listen to riders input. Probably more than some other manufactureres. What do you reckon Luigi?

A team needs to move together in the same direction if it is to accomplish something. If last year's bike is getting better reults than the latest & greatest then maybe something is not working as it should.

Motoshrink you get the Aki Ajo talentspotter of the year award for recognising Brad Binder's potential. Go bon Mot oShrink!