Just when you thought the 2020 MotoGP season couldn't get any weirder, the Emilia-Romagna round at Misano threw up surprises we never even knew were possible. You would have that that having MotoGP race at the same track twice would make matters even more predictable, but instead, we find ourselves deep inside the world of Donald Rumsfeld's famous unknown unknowns.
The race itself was more a war of attrition than a bar-banging battle from lights to flag. It was hardly bereft of excitement – the battle for the podium grew intense and controversial in the last few laps – but the eventual winner spent pretty much the whole race alone. The same was true for the rider who should have won, but managed to throw it all away with seven laps to go.
That was far from the only crash. Of the 20 riders who started the race, only 13 managed to cross the line at the end of 27 laps. That is one of those surprises we really hadn't seen coming – two races and a test, combined with almost perfect weather (the briefest of showers during the Moto2 race, just enough to force a restart interrupted a week of otherwise endless sunshine) meant the newly resurfaced track had more grip than the tires could handle, and by Sunday, the riders knew every bump around Misano better than the knew their own mothers.
The end result of the Cattolica Carnage was a sixth winner in seven races, a championship leader most people had discounted, and the top four in the title chase covered by just four points. There was a controversial penalty which cost one rider the podium. And a winner who everybody had written off after the first round at Misano last week.
And we still haven't got a clue who is going to win the 2020 MotoGP crown. With seven races to go, there are eight riders all within 25 points (or one race win) of the championship leader, and the top ten are covered by 27 points. Four races ago, the championship leader was in fourth place, and the rider now in fourth, just 4 points behind him, was down in fourteenth. It is a cliché, but the championship really is wide open.
So there is plenty to discuss in these subscriber notes. From Pecco Bagnaia through Maverick Viñales to Andrea Dovizioso and Alex Márquez, and much more. Here is what you will find inside:
- Why Pecco Bagnaia didn't get the maiden win he seemed to deserve, and how a thin sliver of plastic turned out to be the bane of Pramac Ducati
- Maverick Viñales' unexpected revival: what changed, and why he didn't end up going backward like last week
- Why isn't Joan Mir walking away with the 2020 championship?
- The penalty which robbed Fabio Quartararo of a podium, and the perilous path dashboard messages follow from Race Direction to the rider's dashboard
- Alex Márquez saving the day for Repsol Honda
- Why did so many riders crash out in otherwise perfect conditions?
- Andrea Dovizioso explains how the new rear Michelin is forcing him to change the way he brakes, once his strongest asset
- The state of a championship which nobody appears to win
- What happens at Barcelona?
- And whether we can actually draw any conclusions from a race which was so thoroughly weird.
So close, and yet so far
As always, a lot to get through. So let's begin with the rider who deserved the win, right up until he didn't: Pecco Bagnaia.
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