2020 Barcelona MotoGP Race Result: A Steady Unstoppable March

The sun might not have shined over the premier class field as riders were lining up on the grid – or at any point throughout the 24 laps – but Fabio Quartararo provided a brilliant display of superiority at the front of the pack. The Frenchman proved to be the strongest Yamaha and maintained the factory’s fine record in Catalunya with a long overdue but impeccable victory. However, Yamaha had to surrender the remaining podium positions to two impressive performances from Suzuki. Joan Mir was a touch faster than Alex Rins but the Spaniards brought their factory the first double podium in over a decade.

It was the other Yamahas hogging the limelight early into the race, with Franco Morbidelli making a great start for a first time poleman, even holding off holeshot master Jack Miller. Valentino Rossi did not get off particularly well but the Italian found his way past Miller by the end of lap one, the Ducati soon falling victim to Quartararo at turn 10 as well, making it an all-Yamaha provisional podium. Nonetheless, Miller, Mir and Pol Espargaro were hot on their trail, with Rins also making a fine start to go from 13th on the grid to 7th. On the other hand, Maverick Vinales made a dreadful start and dropped outside of the top 15, battling Alex Marquez early on. Regardless, the big innocent victim of lap one was Andrea Dovizioso, the Italian taken out in a chain reaction following a hairy moment for Danilo Petrucci at turn 2, which also put Johann Zarco out of the action.

With anticipated tyre wear woes, there wasn’t much action for the first handful of laps, other than Quartararo finding the inside of Rossi at turn 1 as lap 6 started, in the battle for second. Only Miller managed to hold on to the leaders in the early stages, Mir almost a second behind and teammate Rins over two seconds back, fending off a strong group including Pol Epargaro, Petrucci, Pecco Bagnaia and Brad Binder. Vinales was still 15th, nearly eight seconds behind the lead Yamahas and seeing that gap increase with every lap.

By lap nine, only Quartararo seemed up for a fight, going into the lead at turn 1 by demoting his teammate. The Frenchman pushed to stretch a gap but his chasing colleagues had none of it and kept closely behind. However, gaps started to form behind the podium battle, Miller a second behind, Mir another second back and Rins getting separated from a group led by Petrucci. Pol Espargaro abandoned his home GP at the halfway point of the race, while dicing with the Italian for seventh place.

The leading Yamahas started the second half of the race in control of the podium positions, but Morbidelli’s mistake at turn 1 demoted him to third and lost him time on his colleagues. Meanwhile, Mir had caught up with Miller and was keeping him busy, as well as keeping us mildly entertained while not much else was going on. It felt like the calm before the storm and the storm came with 9 laps remaining, when Rossi’s landmark 350th premier class start ended at infamous turn 2. Before the replays could even run, Mir found a way past Miller to claim the final podium spot that just became available. Aided by the crashes, including Miguel Oliveira swiftly following Rossi’s example at turn 2, Vinales joined the top 10 but still 13 seconds behind the leader.

Quartararo might have been left comfortably in the lead, three seconds ahead of his teammate, but it was always going to be a tense final 8 laps. Even more tense for Morbidelli, who soon came under threat from Mir, the Spaniard attempting another of his soon-to-be trademark late race resurgences. Once the gap got to six tenths, Mir struggled to break that barrier for a couple of laps, but then a change of mapping seemed to work in his favour.

Quartararo slowed his pace a bit for the final handful of laps but although the gap came down to two and a half seconds, Morbidelli couldn’t focus on that once Mir finally bridged the gap with three laps remaining. The Suzuki man attacked in turn 1 on the penultimate lap and things got even worse for Morbidelli as Rins also found a way past by the end of that same lap and removed another Yamaha from the podium positions.

Quartararo crossed the finish line less than a second ahead of Mir and Rins, with Morbidelli making do with fourth, while Miller won the battle for fifth against teammate Bagnaia. Takaaki Nakagami found some speed late in the race to climb into seventh, with Petrucci, Vinales and Crutchlow completing the top ten positions.

Quartararo put his name firmly (by this season’s standards) at the top of the championship standings, 8 points ahead of new main challenger Mir. Vinales drops 18 points behind Quartararo, with Dovizioso demoted to fourth and 24 points behind.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 40'33.176
2 36 Joan Mir Suzuki +0.928
3 42 Alex Rins Suzuki +1.898
4 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha +2.846
5 43 Jack Miller Ducati +3.391
6 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati +3.518
7 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda +3.671
8 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati +6.117
9 12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha +13.607
10 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda +14.483
11 33 Brad Binder KTM +14.927
12 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia +15.647
13 73 Alex Marquez Honda +17.327
14 27 Iker Lecuona KTM +27.066
15 53 Tito Rabat Ducati +27.282
16 38 Bradley Smith Aprilia +28.736
17 6 Stefan Bradl Honda +32.643
Not Classified
  88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 6 Laps
  46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 9 Laps
  44 Pol Espargaro KTM 12 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
  5 Johann Zarco Ducati 0 Lap
  4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 0 Lap
Round Number: 
9
2020
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Comments

... race for a lot of fans: KTM throwing away a strong finish, Rossi letting his 200th slip away, Dovi taken out, Franco running out of tire...

I suppose it stands to reason the Yamaha rider who is easiest on tires and the Suzuki's would ultimately prevail today, but it was a painful road getting to that conclusion!

... don't think I've ever seen him so affected by a race fall.  He was well positioned and must have felt he had a win within his grasp again at last.  But these "unforced" errors of his show just how hard he's having to ride to keep up with the kiddies.  In spite of his first race dnf I thought he was a very strong candidate for a championship of consistency this year given the early injuries etc.  Doesn't look like it right now but who knows with this year...

Dovi.  What to say?

Vinales.  What on earth to say???

Wasn't this his second DNF?
I think he was more gutted with the bucketload of points he threw away in two weeks... two potential podiums. Just look at the Championship standings... 11th & 50 points. Could have been top 5. Furthermore, last weeks could've been 3 Academy on podium, this week could've been 200th podium in 350th GP.

Didnt Rossi's bike conk out at Jerez - plus the 2 crashes - makes it 3! 

You can start to see why he signed a 1 year deal - either Petronas or his body/spirit will give up on him. In about 5 years we have gone from taking taking part to win championships to getting the odd podium. There comes a time.......

I'm sure breganzane meant Rossi's DNF in Jerez 1 with "first race DNF". So it's first as in 'first race', not 'first DNF'. In this case it would have been useful to spell it as 'first-race DNF'. Here in The Netherlands, in our Dutch language, such things as a matter of rule are written as one word (without spaces), precisely to prevent confusion about which word belongs to which (in German language it's like that as well). 

I always loved that about German. Although I never learned to speak it very well (and no Dutch at all), from an engineering perspective it was so easy to communicate clearly. Unlike English! 

Groeten motorvrienden! 

Just two thoughts. 1) if Vale is "going down fighting," the new kids REALLY ARE fast, it gets tougher at this age, AND most of the new kids are his direct Ranch progeny... can't there be a warm and noble narrative of a lovely sunset being written right now? We always have to understand and accept things as they are, not what we prefer.

2) Yamaha riders are reflecting themselves AND this bike. Still. Maverick is familiarly scrambling and flailing with aggressive ungrounded reactivity. Rossi is finding limits, and often unsure or measured in his expectations of performance. Quartararo, heart in hands, finds some distress and a results ceiling difficult to bump into. 

Yamaha 2018-2019 was a neglected turd. I truly feel for and appreciate what Maverick struggled against. Blue got out of the gutter with an evolution of the bike, for all of us to see. But it STILL has the least outright power of any bike out there. The gap from our top two to Suzuki and KTM is quite big but manageable. A similar one lay between those two back to the Yamaha. This is NOT manageable or workable. 

We see Maverick returning to pre Summer Break 2019, at which he settled down and smiled with the promise of a much better bike on tap. We see Vale forced to push over the limit to challenge podiums, even when I'm the optimal Yam situation of being alone carving unhindered fast rail lines. We see Quartararo unable to be competitive at many tracks and exasperated. 

An odd symmetry is here amongst this Yamaha and Honda. Both fundamentally inadequate but in opposing ways. Enter the Suzuki and KTM surpassing them at their own games. Both have a bit of development to iron out. KTM's is a generalized growing pain reflecting it's age. Suzuki's a particular last refinement. Both look promising and for nearby arrival. 

Mir looks sure, bike needn't a cure, Q step procure and see top step allure. In an attrition year, how nice to have that trusty Suzuki under you! Can you say that about any other bike?

Ducati is in a transition year. On the rise I think. And an oddball as usual. It remains tricky to sort for particular tracks and conditions, but MUCH less so than the previous several. Same regarding tricky to ride, several people can get it doing the business. Remember when EVERYONE could ride a Honda and wanted to? Well, we may be similarly leaving the inverse re the Duc. Rideability, conventional handling, ease and consistency of set up. Lacking a big Achilles heel. This wins this year. Likely excels next year too. 

Suzuki. And they may be a swingarm away from Q mastery. Rins is recovering. Mir has the drive and momentum, and others need to respond or be passed. 

P.S. made a bet Vale would beat Morbidelli for season points. Already sad to not get a Triumph shirt, which I really want. Readying a few DVD's for shipment in a bit. Happy for Frankie, ok with Vale, but the shirt! (Sigh)...

Ha Motoshrink, nice touch there! Very cool to see a Dutch title above your post! (well, ANY post here on Motomatters.)

Regarding Rossi, it seems to me (in part this is hoping) that he's getting very close to finding winning ways again. He looked different this weekend, like things are clicking into place again. Too bad of course he too got caught out by the cooled left side of the front tyre, like many riders this weekend. I don't know the condition his front tyre was in by then; it was predicted that the softs were going to go off in the last 10 laps. He crashed 9 laps behore the end. Many riders who did finish seemed to be feeling there was a considerable luck factor in surviving those latter stages of the race. And, like I wrote somewhere below, I really hate the F1 Turn 10 short cut, which I think in combination with the temperature window of the Michelin front contributed to the many Turn 2 crashes in these cooler conditions. 

What a season! And not just because of FM21 coming to form...although he is making me look awfully good. Cheers, 'shrink, lots can happen in the almost half-season left...and probably will. Franco may win me a bet but my heart belongs to Joan.

Me and you both on Mir! 

A surprise has to take place for my shirt. Rather not see Morbidelli injured, so the DVD's will be shared with pleasure. (Quick detail, will post my email here for you at Portugal, then remove it. Then email your mailing address). Now, if Valentino finds a BIG last blossom and takes it from you, THAT will be celebrated indeed. Old guys solidarity. 

 

Loved your well articulated T10 argument Bricktop *****. 

Enjoy 2020 Part Two folks. See you here.

think Yamaha should haev just swapped teh petronas riders with the Monster riders. At least like this the strongest riders would all ride for the same team! Poor VR. Once he has to really push and can not just follow one of th eother Yamaha riders to set a fast lap, His ambition outways his ............

I know it's a little mean! Sorry to all his fans. ;-)

I like Miller. He has grit, true Aussie Grit, That's for sure. And Mir for the champion ship. Very humble, very fast!!!

 

...and what happened to Vinalez ? The best opportunity to win a world championship ever without Marc being there and he goes hero to zero in 1 week. Bet Marquez is watching the races from the sidelines marvelling at the lack of a dominant rider.....

Go wash your mouth out with soap this instant, you wicked person.

As a fan, it was a little heartbreaking. Vale wants another win as badly as he wanted the first one, and yesterday was one of those very rare days where all the planets were aligned for that to happen. It would just be nice, after watching him for all these years, to see him go into the sunset while able to say he can still beat the young guns on a good day. He'll bounce back though, always does.

Hard to guess who'll take the title. Barring accidents or more dnf's in either garage, I'd plump for Mir.

I am going to make a bold prediction here that will no doubt never materialize, but for now I think Joan Mir will be the 2020 MotoGP champion. He just seems so confident, mature and mentally centered. With a bike that is (very close to being) the best on the grid.

Quartararo: faster but I think more emotional which in the end will get in his way. His time will come, though.

Viñales: way too inconsistent. Mistery Misery Maverick.

Dovizioso: too far from the rostrum too often.

Morbidelli: will end in the top 3 I think, but just not close enough.

In a field this close, the rest seems too far behind. Which sounds contradictory, but there are too many guys ahead sucking up points from the guys behind. And let me make it clear that I have huge respect for every guy competing at this level. They make my Sundays (and Mondays :).

Mir is the right kid on the block. Strong, balanced, determined and damn good! Shame he has not been able to start at the front... Brivio is petitioning to ask for longer races, three more laps... 😉 Kidding, it's the new joke in Italy. 

The two best surprises this year are Mir and Bagnaia. They are both excellent. And hope to see them win a race this year. 

Quartararo.: not cool headed enough yet. And let's not forget that he is exceptional on those circuits he loves and knows better than himself. On others, too unven yet. His time will come. But if I had to put some money on pure talent I would bet on Mir and Pecco.

Gutted for VR! You cannot throw a good race like this. The question is : that mistake came from too much eagernees or just age? He was fast though, and not just for one lap. Is this the true beginning of the end or the beginning of yet another rebirth and a promising 2021?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to some more of Mir and Bagnaia on the podium

Cheers

Last week, I said that Maverick would have more bad Sundays and Dovi wouldn't make it throught the season without a DNF.  Dovi especially was never in the title fight; he just hadn't fallen off.  It was just like last year leaving Austin - Marquez crashed, Dovi was close.  Maverick's finishes have flattered him because of attrition, but at least his championship standing is a result of pace.

This season is a tale of what could've been - DNFs have shaped this championship more than ever.  Mir and Morbedilli are runaway leaders without engine failures and being taken out of races.  I'm really gutted for Morbedilli.  He's still on the A-spec Yamaha and is running right up front.  He's having a stellar year.  The favorite has to be Mir.  If he can sort out qualifying to get away with the lead group, he will be standing on top of the podium quite often.

Dovi made up 7 places from his starting position on the grid and entered T2 in 10th. He is a master of managing tire degredation and could have been in the battle with the other Ducatis for a top 5 result. Will be interesting to see how the next few races unfold.

Watching the start I was up and jumping, "#!@&*! Zarco, taking out Dovi!! How many times is this guy going to get away with this??"

Then, I watched the replay. "Woops, contact with Petrux, JZ was just a bowling pin that knocked down the Dovi pin." Racing incident.

Then, later, I watched the slow-mo more carefully. It looks like JZ, too fast into the corner, clipped Petrux's rear as he tipped into the left corner. Back to blaming Zarco. Curious if others saw it this way, or if I missed something.

Looked like Pol checked up a tad and Petrux touched the KTM with his front tire. He had to save it and Zarco hit the front brake to avoid collision, washing out the front and taking the luckless Dovi with him. Domino effect. The patterns are repetitive though. Third racing incident this year for Zarco and Dovizioso keeps getting t-boned by others.

I had the same reaction with Zarco... it was just like "Again?!"  I think the Pol/Petrux/Zarco/Dovi domino effect theory is correct; however, Zarco is around "racing incidents" with a suspicious regularity.

Racing incident. Unfortunately befitting the arc of Dovi's year even though he did not deserve it. No fault.

BUT, that was quite a flinch from Zarco. All those guys were a bit aggressively bunched up. 

Zarco lost a great deal. Final job interview opportunity for Red vs White. 

The most telling and depressing statistic of Dovizioso's 2020 season is that he has recorded a worse result at every second race of the three double rounds. The circus returns to the same track the following weekend and experiences similar conditions with more rubber laid down and he and his team are unable to improve as much as their competitors. That is very un-Professor like. Maybe he should change his leathers from Undaunted to Un-Professor since he cannot think his way out of the problem.

Hereby I make a strong plea for using the original Turn 10 again. Not only because it is much nicer to ride (it was one of the nicest corners of this great track, in my opinion; I rode there with both the old and new Turn 10, and the new one feels like it disrupts the flow of the entire track), but especially because the current one causes more crashes than the original corner. First of all, every year people get T-boned there because it is so ridiculously tight after a pretty fast straight. Last year the Lorenzo carambolage where he took out three main contenders for the title, with Dovizioso, Vinales and Rossi (Lorenzo's biggest contribution to Honda's title campaign) being a prime example, but there are many many other crashes with several injuries as well; in the same race Bradley Smith torpedoed Aleix Espargaro, with a DNF and leg injury for Aleix as a result, just to name an example.

But I think last weekend in particular showed another problem with Turn 10: it does not put much heat in the left-hand side of the tyre, with that slow hairpin and short left-hand kink after that. In the old flowing turn 10, you brake longer into the corner while carrying more speed, and then accelerate longer at big lean angle in the opening exit towards Turn 11 (now called 12). I think the many crashes in Turn 2 during this whole weekend (which was of course cooler than other years) can partly be traced back to the last left-hander before Turn 2 putting so little heat in especially the front tyre.

I know the argument for using the F1 hairpin instead of the original flowing corner: to reduce the speed with which riders may go straight into the tyre wall, so to improve safety. But I can not recall anybody ever slamming straight into that tyre wall,  just the 'normal' crashes in the corner itself. And even those were fewer than what we have now. So I really wonder if safety has at all been improved by this turd of a corner. Bring back the original Turn 10! It's still there, so easy fix I say!

Could Mir and/or Ogura win their championships without a race win, I wonder? Mir has clearly worked out that as long as he can make sure he gets into Q2, he's going to be in podium contention come race day.

A virtual prize pint for anyone who can name the rider/year/class of the only person to win a GP title without winning a race...

No-one every does any more. I blame George & Mildred, all street cred went right out the window after that.

So I guess I got the 2 year contract. Can't wait to start. Refer to earlier post around what to expect, performance-wise.

That was Emilio Alzamora, who became 125cc world champion in 1999 without winning a race that season!

What have I won..?

You win a one-year contract with Repsol Honda.

Second prize is a two-year contract. :P

Hahaha! I think I'll donate my prize to charity, because that's the kind of person I am.