2020 Jerez MotoGP Race Result: Writing History In An Already Memorable Season

A long and increasingly difficult 245 days have passed since the last time premier class machines have duelled in anger and Jerez promised a fine, if brief, distraction on Sunday afternoon. The first outing of the shortened calendar was two men down before the lights even went off, Alex Rins declared unfit after a shoulder injury in qualifying, while Cal Crutchlow was commanded to do some rest after a big tumble in Warm Up. Even with the missing and well missed names, Jerez provided enough drama for half a season and made it an extra memorable weekend for Fabio Quartararo, the Petronas man taking a commanding first win to become France’s first premier class victor in 20 years. Maverick Vinales performed miracles on the soft front tyre to sit on the second spot of the podium, while Andrea Dovizioso held in there to salvage a first career podium in Jerez.

Vinales had an excellent launch off the line at the start and stormed into the lead, while his fellow front row starters struggled a bit more, but Marc Marquez quickly maneuvered his way back into second position. Poleman Quartararo surrendered to Jack Miller’s fast starting Ducati, with teammates Pecco Bagnaia and Doviziozo having his back. Vinales pushed hard to evade the world champion on the first couple of laps, as evidenced by a big twitch in turn 8, but could not shake off Marquez and the Spanish duo performed a bit of an early escape act by lap three, one second ahead of the pack led by Miller. Marquez hounded his compatriot to hit the front at Pedrosa corner on the third lap of the race and the shenanigans allowed Miller and Quartararo to reduce the gap to half a second.

With riders further down the field already giving into the tricky conditions, the world champion’s time came on lap five, when the Honda magician performed his first save of the season at turn four. While an highly impressive feat, he joined his little brother at the back of the field and with a lot to do to save a decent amount of points. Once the attention of the cameras returned to Vinales, who inherited the lead, he was riding solo one second ahead of a feisty exchange between Quartararo and Miller. A handful of tenths down the road, Bagnaia, Dovizioso, Espargaro and Morbidelli were in close proximity but the group lost Brad Binder on lap seven, the rookie abandoning a solid top seven.

With his main rival out of contention, Vinales slowed down the pace, also inflicted by several mistakes, and it allowed Quartararo and Miller to tag along for the ride. The Frenchman took the invitation to get past his future teammate and grabbed the lead at the final turn on lap 9, Miller further demoting Vinales to third. There was no rest for the Spaniard, as Bagnaia, Dovizioso and Espargaro were getting ever nearer. While Quartararo was attempting to stretch a gap at the front, Marquez was on a very different mission, slicing through the field and up to 10th place by lap 10.

Quartararo entered the midway point of the race over one second ahead of Miller, while Vinales’ soft front seemed to be suffering already, losing him time on the Ducati ahead and with a couple of other Ducatis waiting to pounce, together with Espargaro and Morbidelli. Little did they know that two seconds down the road, Marquez was quickly reeling them in.

Meanwhile, the leading Petronas rider had stretched a three second gap at the front with ten laps remaining, with Miller pretty lonely in second and Vinales still holding onto a one second gap to the lively group behind. Dovizioso was the leader of that chasing pack but the Italian was soon getting warnings that Marquez was biting into rivals left right and centre to join the top five with seven laps remaining. The Ducati man saw the Repsol livery go past by the end of that same lap, just as Vinales got past a fading Miller in the battle for second.

Quartararo led the way by five comfortable seconds ahead of Vinales as the race entered its final five laps, while Marquez encountered his first real fight back from Miller in the battle for third. Once that exchange was settled, he set his sights on Vinales but that thought was only fleeting because Marquez made his second mistake of the race, this time being swung across the bike at turn three and stood no chance of saving that. While the world champion was getting medical attention for the painful looking high side, Miller inherited third place but Dovizioso, Morbidelli and Espargaro wanted a say in that.

An unperturbed Quartararo crossed the finish line with four seconds of advantage over Vinales, while Dovizioso joined the podium lineup for the last couple of laps. Miller had to make do with fourth, ahead of Morbidelli and Pol Espargaro. Bagnaia held on to a solid seventh place, with Miguel Oliveira, Danilo Petrucci and Takaaki Nakagami rounding out the top ten.

Quartararo’s much celebrated victory hands him the lead in the championship standings, obviously ahead of the men joining him on the podium.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 20 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 41'23.796
2 12 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +4.603
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +5.946
4 43 Jack MILLER Ducati +6.668
5 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha +6.844
6 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +6.938
7 63 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati +13.027
8 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +13.441
9 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +19.651
10 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +21.553
11 5 Johann ZARCO Ducati +25.100
12 73 Alex MARQUEZ Honda +27.350
13 33 Brad BINDER KTM +29.640
14 53 Tito RABAT Ducati +32.898
15 38 Bradley SMITH Aprilia +39.682
    Not Classified    
  93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 4 Laps
  27 Iker LECUONA KTM 6 Laps
  46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 7 Laps
  41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 23 Laps
  36 Joan MIR Suzuki 24 Laps
Round Number: 
2
2020
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Comments

For MM93 and AR42. A crying shame in such a short season. Extra thoughts for MM, that looked bad. If there were any justice in the world that Honda would be a felon.

Right Brian? Don't bring a knife to a gunfight (Yamaha 2018/2019), sure. But Honda have brought a grenade to a knife fight. Rins stayed in Jerez for the weekend, good omen. Fingers crossed for them both, Cal too.

Marquez crashed twice, not once, the second crashing out. And both times it was "that Honda" crash at throttle opening. INCREDIBLE save btw, the kid is amazing. You could see the front letting go on several turns. He was way off line a bunch today. Sorry, I love Marc, but I also love this year's Honda. Or should we say last year's, right? When they brought that huge motor out in Winter before 2019 one could be very disappointed and anticipate easy Marquez dominance. It matched the Duc. Well, those same people (myself included) now get the boot on the other foot. This bike is FLAWED. Worse than last year. If the Yamaha has a tuning fork chassis, the Honda has a pruning cork. You open the throttle at lean, and POP. I hate to say I told you so. Cue Yamaha brass hari kari after Q marking their turnaround phoenix of the whole organization. Honda should do that now, with Dr Mir or Costa cutting the ribbon. Their PR release today is offensive bullsh*t complimenting "the RC213V rider's superior pace." Also the he "produced one of the most impressive rides of his career as he charged back from 19th." Barf in your helmet. I digress.

Maverick can start a race again. His goal was to Jorge the start, which he did. Great focus! His Soft front OVERHEATED. It had plenty of meat on it, it was dipped in butter. Miller and Bagnaia, Pramac is the new Petronas. Did you see Morbidelli T-bone Bagnaia?! They were quite lucky to keep that upright, Frankie especially. That group of 5 battling for the last two podium spots included Pol Espargaro in Orange. Oliveira joined Bagnaia battling in closing laps. Pol Espargaro! The KTM! Orange has done great work. This was their first time not experiencing that big drop in pace, their tires made it through the flag. Binder did the business too. FASTEST RACE LAP: Rookie BRAF BINDER on a bloody KTM. That lad is a future race winner. 2021 presence in that first group. Lap 7 he lost it on the brakes and went touring off piste. Iker? Quit from heat exhaustion. I have him off the back of the last group along with Rabat and Smith.

Miller! Great race mate. The Honda is amazingly agile in terms of direction change and getting onto a line. But it won't hold that line. It used to two-wheel drift into a corner, hold a line through apex, and drive out predictably albeit moving around. Now at first throttle opening the front folds. Pop. Marc was missing apexes repeatedly. Front going regularly. Great rider on the brakes? Have huge top end speed between your legs hurling you at the braking zone? This bike flaw is accentuated. Hauntingly. (Early crashes for Mir and A.Espargaro too btw, trying to find footage).

The Honda and Ducati are tied for 1st in the dyno drag race. There is a gap to Suzuki. Then the KTM. Then perhaps another gap, and Yamaha and Aprilia off the back. Blue is stuck with this engine next year too. Can they tune a bit more top end power into it? Is it enough to win with at horsepower tracks? When battling with Marc you could see Maverick have a pass solidly and clearly poised but lose it to the top end power of the Honda.

With the HRC bike not wanting anyone aboard perhaps the KTM now gets the line changing award. The Ducati is opposite, a long tracker of a line or two. Dovi hesitates not getting the bike on the initial line he wants. But Miller doesn't in getting on the line IT wants. It is a very interesting machine right now. Looking fwd to the second track we visit for more.

The Ducati is SO good on the brakes. It takes a bit of effort to get turned, but looked today like it was a willing dance partner. Red still exhibits a wee bit of its good old pumping on drive out at times, but it is no longer significant enough to be of concern. It is on line and driving out just fine. The Duc can carve a line or two. But the Suzuki and Yamaha can carve two more of them and harry it.

Rossi may have gone out 7 laps to go with a mechanical failure, but he had already done so plagued again with a thermometer problem. Remember that this dates back to the previous bike when having a tire wear and set up balance problem. Interesting that the other Bluedudes are not regressing in this regard.

For a good while we had a train of SIX for a front group, with none other than Orange Pol doing the business for much of the race. When the tires started going off at 2/3rds distance things got interesting again. Miller got stuffed a few times. We expect this at Jerez. When we reach horsepower tracks, this Bologna Bullet may again present as the best bike on the grid. And Jack as the emcee of the showcase joining Dovi. Marc didn't have a bike that came back to him mid race like in the past. It has always been loose, today it also would let loose the front without the rear along for the ride. Blergh.

Did you see how big Marc's crash was?! HUGE. He got POUNDED, thrice. The first ground hit was gold-helmet-Jorge hefty. The second on the right scapula and shoulder through to the lower back. Also nailed by the bike. Very serious injury to the upper right bits. He is OUT. He will have extensive swollen bruising, and may not discover his shoulder status until training or even getting back on a bike for longer runs.

If Maverick Jorge'd the opening laps, Quartararo did so for the remainder of the race. Metronome. Hammer. Butter. But he is having fun, playing like a Valentino or Schwantz. And as genuinely open and real as you like. Crossing the line he punched his tank and triggered his airbag. Poetic to a future eye on a 2020 Championship victory?

Marc clipped the inside curb. An offline issue. His whole right back, scapula to hip, took a severe beating. If the only issue is the broken upper arm, he can count that a relatively successful skittle. Cue the anticipated importance of finishing races AND staying healthy/fit - will he race next weekend? No. How long until Round 3? Will he even be able to race THERE?! If so, walking wounded. Middle of next week a report will come out following his surgery. Think the right shoulder will be okay? I do not. If he doesn't need a second surgery after setting the humerus, he may at least need to rehab it. He has already taxed both shoulders. Clean breaks of the humerus and femur heal well in time. But the complex up there at the shoulder? Not so sure.

Crutchlow got bitten too. T8, front folded. He needs surgery on his left wrist following his crash in the warm up session. Honda did not have any riders able to finish the race somewhere meaningful, and we know why.

It was the Ducati that had my eye all race. And the KTM when we got a look. In closing laps Miller got pipped by Dovisioso. Dovi managed tires well again. Four rider last lap battle for the last podium spot along with Morbidelli and Pol Espargaro! Off the back? Bagnaia and Oliveira. This is great racing. What a treat.

With three Ducs doing the business at a track like Jerez, Dovi's outright complaints about the bike at the end may fall on deaf ears. Were Petrucci healthy, he may have run good pace as well. All are following the ghost of Casey, and chased by the spirit of Martin. Waiting for Jack's comments on the race and what he experienced with his bike. Less Dovi's demands.

Oliveira arrived at the line with Bagnaia. Their gap to the podium fight mirrored that of Quartararo's. Wonderful on both their parts, Orange must be pleased. Two more riders joined the first swarm. The next 5 riders make group two, albeit spaced out with polite social distancing. Then Rabat and Smith hang off the back. The pace was a full second off FP4. Why? Dunlop rubber further greased the skids.

Life has meaning again this weekend. But it was chilling how accurate our prediction was regarding the outcome. Long past time for HRC engineers to get a turn rather than the surgeons.

Congratulations to Yamaha. Raz and Co at Aqua deserve their party. Bigger congrats specifically to Fabio Quartararo. 2020 is Blue in hue.

Thanks for another readably great write up ZaraD!

that it's just two extremes meet, and the confluence is that new Michelin rear tire overpowering the front?

Especially bad for the Honda, as with that surfeit of hp, trying to match Ducati, the balance was already off. Then you have the heat of high summer at Jerez making things even worse.

I gather by riders comments that the rear tyre performance dropoff is sudden and severe as well.

Big congratulations to FQ20, Petronas Yamaha and their first MotoGP win! I'm sure it won't be their last. FM21 looks to have advanced as well.

While I have my preferences, I hate to see any rider get hurt. Speedy recovery to Alex Rins, Cal Crutchlow, and Marc Marquez.

The Balance at Honda, isn't one of the V4 motor as one might have you seem. Ask, say, Redding.

The CHASSIS. You can make it short, sure. Direction change is good. Look at the Suzuki, the best Yamaha we have seen in years.

Good in the brakes for a BIKE? Duc. Marquez is good on the brakes. What Casey did wrist to rear wheel Marc does too. Brain and bowel to both front and rear, skating drift of both ends at the apex. The 2019 bike offered much motor. Marc rolled off from over-over-riding the bike just to overriding it. Relative comfort.

This widowmaker just sent our GOAT for slaughter.

Boring, steady, tactical Dovi. Over the hill. Just a podium at one of his and Ducati's worst tracks. 

I'm not even a big Dovi fan, just feel that our most frequent commentators have dismissed him. Great win by Q, and Pol was very impressive.

Hi David,

I'm eagerly awaiting the race report however with everything that happened requiring dissection I'll be impressed if we receive it before round 2. One quick thing I'd like your opinion on. I've often queried the matter though don't neccesarily support it (through my own admitted selfishness to watch the sport I love) but I'll ask it all the same. Should there be consideration for ammendments, or indeed cancellation, of races due to extreme heat? We ackowledge and accept in extremely wet conditions that races may be shortened or suspended all together, as a community and a sport do we need to consider similar measures when faced with extreme heat?

The stories regaled of riders past and present as to the difficulties in riding in conditions such as Malaysia surely raise concerns surrounding safety? I acknowledge the arguement of "they can always go slower" however the same arguement is applicable in severely wet conditions, such as the UK round a couple seasons ago. As a spectator of the sport for over two decades I recall riders being unable to get off bikes unassisted, requiring medical assistance in park ferme, recalling stories of cramping and hallucinations, receiving burns from the atmospheric temperature as well as from the bike, and who can forget the awning blowing across the track at Indianapolis as the Hurricane system approached.

I know we all demand our pound of flesh to be entertained however when is enough...enough?

Marc throwing it away when he, with hindsight being 20/20 vision, should have won it at a canter. Dovi confounding Ducati management again with ease and a patched up collar bone to boot. Who would have guessed Rins, Rossi, M Marquez, Crutchlow, Aleix Espargaro and Joan Mir wouild be trailing rookies Alex Marquez and Brad Binder post round one in the championship standings. This is going to get interesting. Quattararo and Vinales' rides were par for the course and as expected. Marc's charge was as spectacular as ever until it ended, sadly, but was inevitable wthin reasoned logic. Binder's charge after losing the plot on lap 7 whilst 7th and losing 26 seconds in the process is noteworthy. Could have, would have, should have...heh heh! ... made the podium. Apart from the walking wounded, round #2 at Jerez should be an even tougher afair.