Teruel MotoGP Subscriber Notes Part 2: The Strangeness Of Who Gains, KTM's Progress, And Yamaha's Engine Situation

It being 2020, last weekend's Teruel round of MotoGP at the Motorland Aragon circuit threw up plenty of surprises, more than can be covered in just a single article. In Monday's subscriber notes, I covered the early crashers, Takaaki Nakagami's lead lasting just five corners, Franco Morbidelli's perfect race, why Alex Rins and Joan Mir came up short, and whether it matters if Mir doesn't win a race this season, the odd fortunes of the Yamahas in 2020, and Andrea Dovizioso as best of the Ducatis.

But there is more to cover. It is worth taking a look at who made the biggest gains between Aragon 1 and Aragon 2, how KTM went from nowhere to nearly on the podium, and the mystery of Yamaha's engine situation.

First, a comparison of how the riders fared between the Aragon and Teruel rounds at Motorland Aragon. In theory, you might believe that being at the same track would mean there would be little to no difference. But as previous back-to-back races at the same circuit has shown, this is very much not the case. Results have varied massively from week to week, as some riders have improved, others have stood still.

Faster second time around

The Aragon and Teruel back-to-back shows a similar picture. The Suzukis were on the podium at both rounds, and in the same order. They even improved by almost the same amount, Alex Rins going 4.5 seconds quicker at Aragon 2 than he did at Aragon 1, Joan Mir being 4 seconds quicker. Confusingly, Alex Rins stuck with soft tires for both races, while Mir switched to mediums front and rear, and got no closer.

The third man on the podium at Aragon 1, Alex Márquez, crashed out of contention in Aragon 2, as did Takaaki Nakagami, making comparisons for Honda difficult. Cal Crutchlow was 4 seconds slower in the second Aragon round.

The fortunes of the Yamaha riders are the hardest to explain based on their performance in the first week. Franco Morbidelli was the third most improved rider between Aragon 1 and Aragon 2, finishing the Teruel race 11.5 seconds faster than the Aragon round. But those 11.5 seconds made a huge difference, lifting Morbidelli up from sixth into first place. Morbidelli put his improvement down to switching to the medium rear for Aragon 2.

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Source: 
year: 
2020
round_number: 
12

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Comments

I have been waiting all week for part 2 since there are no FP's to occupy my time, thanks David!

David;

Excellent analysis as usual. Any word on Ducati's engine allocation? And any insight on Dovi's comment that he needs "more speed"? I assume he is refering to corner acceleration on exit, but is it just that?

... analysis David - how you make sense of it all and relay it to us in an understandable manner is truly impressive.

On the topic of race time gained and lost between Aragon 1 & 2 is particularly insightful. Especially in how it plays in to the psychology of the riders, and just how distorted one's perspective can be compared to the reality of the situation.

On Franco: I will be very interested to see how competitive he can be at Valencia 1 & 2 where he can either close down Mir or simply do well. His mentality seems rock-solid compared to Fabio and Maverick in this moment. Only Mir seems to be as calm and calculated at this critical moment of the championship.

The more I ponder the more the recent Honda strength seems an outlier of low grip bringing balance to the bike. It has improved, yes. Cured, no. High grip returns to front end sudden crash fest. 

Everyone is inconsistent this year but Suzuki. Marquez and Honda have actually followed their 2020 script, it was forecasted. Last man standing is Mir. A small handful are about to get a last swipe at him. Very much looking forward to seeing it.

The KTM folks did great work last circuit, a testament to integrating the Jr Team. Nice to not just hear about the tire for a change, they found a radically different base for low grip. Cue next year, they are coming. Cool bike! 

 

but, in episode 4,094 of the 2020 series of 'If only this had/hadn't happened' the guy that has as much claim to champion-elect is for sure Franco Morbidelli. The only contender with 3 DNFs; the Jerez melting engine whilst in a clear second place and Zarco sending him into another postal area in Austria. There's no question he'd be right there and if he wins the next 3 and Mir occupies only the bottom step of the podium he's champion-oh hang on, that's episode 5,036..

For some reason, some of the press were asking him if he was going to help Fabio win the championship?! He gained 27 points in Aragon and now sits 11 points behind him. Quite rightly he dismissed it, I understand journalists have to ask the question, even if it's going to wind up the rider because they need the obvious headline in the answer 'title fight still on/team mate not backing down' etc..

I get it when they ask Rins, he's 32 points behind Mir, and still he's not giving up on the title, there's no way Franco will even contemplate helping anyone be champion until he can't be. We all knew this but it simply makes this crazy show keep rolling along. 

Right? The kid was just master class. 

Still not thinking he has his hands on the precious goods. But within reach. Next rounds will be eagerly contested. Mir, he is a step ahead. 

and apologies if the answer is somewhere else but, when Michelin announce a new tyre for the following season, sure the teams get to test it a few times, but as this sea change is monumentally important to the factories (or maybe the direction Dorna wish the championship to move towards.........), do the factories get a quantity of said new tyre for machine development off season as it almost seems now that bike design is around whatever tyre changes are wrought?
The primary reason I ask is the all at sea Ducati, surely a clever bloke like Gigi KNOWS what he's dealing with tyre-wise going into a new season? It can't be (or can it?) that teams of this level, with huge investments within them rock up to race 1 and basically cannot compete because the tyre(s) are not able to synchronise with the development path of the bike(s)? You've now got Dovi and MV openly saying the tyre means there's nothing more to be done (though I'm never sure with Top Dud..).  I know it's not that simple but at this level of sophisticated racing it beggars belief that a season begins-even this one-with a major part of the machine unknown in the way it is going to operate on a GP20 machine. Be interested to know before the deluge of Valencia 1 starts!!