2020 Andalucia MotoGP Race Result: Inevitable Drama, Inevitable Result

The second race Sunday in Jerez got underway in extreme conditions, and not just because reigning champion Marc Marquez was missing his first race in the premier class, but because the asphalt was nearing 60 degrees of temperature. One man who flourished in the conditions was quite predictably Fabio Quartararo, who turned a fine pole position into back to back victories in Andalucia. The Frenchman was unstoppable as soon as the lights went off on the grid and left his factory Yamaha colleagues to fight for podium scraps. Although Maverick Vinales looked like a serious threat throughout the weekend, the Spaniard lost some of that spark in a tricky first few laps and found himself spending most of the race trying to find a way past a rejuvenated Valentino Rossi, who made it an all-Yamaha podium.

The battle of the holeshot devices was also won by Yamaha, with Quartararo, Vinales and Rossi making perfect launches off the line, setting up the theme for the rest of the race. A bit further back, Brad Binder tagged Miguel Oliveira at turn 1, flinging him out into the gravel and taking himself out of contention for top spots in a nightmare start for KTM. The Ducatis of Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia were left to chase the leading Yamahas, but an impatient Bagnaia had to rely on his cat like reflexes to keep his position in the top five after a mistake on lap three, which lost him eighth tenths on his teammate.

Quartararo was checking out at the front by lap four, leaving the factory Yamaha men to battle it out for podium spots. Even though Vinales had superior pace throughout the weekend, he was struggling to find a way past his teammate and this allowed the gap to Quartararo to grow to nearly three seconds in a handful of laps. All the while, Miller and Bagnaia were joined by Takaaki Nakagami and Franco Morbidelli in the podium hunt and Joan Mir was pushing to add a Suzuki to the mix. A second down the road, the factory Ducatis had joined the top ten but were mostly battling each other in the early stages.

With Quartararo’s advantage growing exponentially, Vinales’ Yamaha was the first victim of the vicious Ducatis, with first Bagnaia and then Miller finding their way past and the Spaniard quickly found himself in sixth place by lap 11. Still, the consequences of his mistakes were smaller than Miller’s, the Pramac rider losing the front at turn 9 just as he was getting a sniff at the podium. That left Bagnaia to chase down his mentor and was aided by a mistake in turn 6 by the Doctor, which allowed Bagnaia to grab second position. Morbidelli was also waiting to pounce on Rossi, while Vinales lost a second on the chasing group and was falling into Nakagami’s clutches. Mir and Dovizioso were not too far back but not making quick progress either.

The harsh slippery conditions were starting to make some serious victims halfway through the race, with the likes of Aleix Espargaro, Danilo Petrucci and Brad Binder joining the crash list, leaving Pol Espargaro as the last man standing for KTM. Morbidelli was next to abandon but it was not down to a crash as his machine cut out on the main straight, in a worryingly familiar sight for Yamaha. All of a sudden, Vinales was back on Rossi’s tail and trying to save a podium out of a race that did not quite go as expected for the Spaniard.

While Quartararo needed no help at the front, the Frenchman having increased his gap to 5 seconds, Bagnaia’s Ducati started pouring out smoke with seven laps left and the Italian got denied a well deserved podium by an inevitable black and orange flag. Rossi and Vinales’ battle was now for second place and the Italian pulled out all the stops to hold off his teammate. Vinales eventually found a way past with two laps remaining, aided by Rossi running wide, and secured second position. Rossi settled for third, although more than he would have expected a week ago, while Nakagami carried the flag for Honda in fourth place. Mir and Dovizioso went under the radar but safely crossed the finish line in fifth and sixth positions, while the sole KTM of Pol Espargaro finished seventh. Top rookie Alex Marquez survived a tough race to grab eighth place, with Johann Zarco and a truly admirable Alex Rins rounding out the top ten.

Quartararo keeps a perfect score at the top of the championship standings, 10 points ahead of Vinales and 24 to Dovizioso, with Takaaki Nakagami and Pol Espargaro 31 points down on the leader.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 41'22.666
2 12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha +4.495
3 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha +5.546
4 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda +6.113
5 36 Joan Mir Suzuki +7.693
6 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati +12.554
7 44 Pol Espargaro KTM +17.488
8 73 Alex Marquez Honda +19.357
9 5 Johann Zarco Ducati +23.523
10 42 Alex Rins Suzuki +27.091
11 53 Tito Rabat Ducati +33.628
12 38 Bradley Smith Aprilia +36.306
13 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda 1 Lap
Not Classified
  63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 6 Laps
  21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 9 Laps
  33 Brad Binder KTM 13 Laps
  9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 14 Laps
  43 Jack Miller Ducati 15 Laps
  41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 17 Laps
  27 Iker Lecuona KTM 20 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
  88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 0 Lap
Round Number: 
3
2020
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Comments

Is the ink dry on that 2021 factory contract for FB63 yet? Sorry, Dovi, nothing personal it's Ducati, you are in good company. Poor Franco, hurts me more than it hurts you, amico. Great to see VR on the podium even though I believe 21 woulda been there but for Yamaha overstressing their underpowerplant. Oh, well, me n Frankie will have a tough couple weeks but that's racing. Mir is there and a good Q from the pointy end. Would love to see more of him, talk about stylish...mostly congrats to Fabio the Impeccable. Like watching my old time fave Eddie Lawson. How tf is he so fast when he looks so slow? Fine race, interesting times, great to be back to life for a while. It's still a long season, 'Shrink, and shaping up to be a good one. Will Yamaha be starting from pit lane? A little early for using up your engines, aint't it, Lin? WTF (not WLF) Iwata?

What a race! The joy is back in MotoGP again for me. For the first time in over 6 years, I sit down to watch a race and feel that many riders can make the podium, and that maybe half the grid have a chance to win it. Gone is the maddening dread of a fait accompli win by a single rider. Now I can root for many different riders instead of rooting against just one! Pecco was awesome until the Duc blew. Jack Miller is a challenger; just felt bad for him going down. Sad for KTM because they have something going, but bad luck strikes that whole factory too often. Happy for Suzuki and Mir and Rins both top 10. Great grit and comeback from last week disaster. Dovi is in it! With Austria coming up in 3 weeks, he can take charge! This may be his year. I really hope so! 👍 Fabio? What can you say? Just perfection at a track he dominates. So happy for him. Also happy for Rossi, podium #199! Mav needs to get a few things sorted to stay with Fabio. Let’s see at Brno what happens.

To see Valentino Rossi being so happy about a third place... and quite desperate. Ofcourse he is the only one who can judge but when he states that by a change he can ride the bike again like he want i still have some doubts... If Marquez was in the race and Bagnaia did not crash he would have been fifth, which is not a result to admire. As a Rossi fan i also found it quite shameful to see the defensive lines he rode against Vinales...  It is a Yamaha 1, 2, 3 but to get 3rd himself he also destroyed the race for the Yamaha works team, as Vinales might have the opportunity to chase Fabio. Future does not seem that bright, as I can imagine that in the Petronas team the freedom to experiment with extraordinary bike settings are will be even more limited then in his current situation

I keep hearing that Jerez isn't a Ducati track. Maybe it's because Ducati has been hiring the wrong riders!