2020 Valencia MotoGP Qualifying Result: New Is Not Always Better

Rain played with the MotoGP paddock all day and just on cue as the countdown for Q1 started, visors showed some drizzle and prompted a rush out of pitlane. The same script repeated in Q2 but the downpour never arrived and pole position was decided at the very last minute. In the end, consistency paid off for Franco Morbidelli, the Italian snatching his second premier class pole by nine hundredths of a second. Jack Miller came close but had to settle for being lead Ducati and in the middle of the front row. Takaaki Nakagami added a Honda to the mix and secured a third consecutive front row start to continue the chase for that elusive maiden win.

Johann Zarco continued to show good form, qualifying in fourth place, ahead of Pol Espargaro and Maverick Vinales. Aleix Espargaro also looked fast as he claimed seventh on the grid, opening the third row ahead of a resurgent Pecco Bagnaia - a solid result after a difficult couple of races for the Italian. Brad Binder was one of the main actors throughout qualifying, the South African topping Q1 and that experience paid off early in Q2, when he claimed provisional pole, but the extra session limited his tyre options and the KTM man got pushed down to ninth on the grid. The hierarchy changed so much throughout those 15 minutes of Q2 that Miguel Oliveira went from provisional pole to fourth row in the blink of an eye.

In yet another twist in the championship tale, the first title contender on the grid is Fabio Quartararo in 11th position, the Frenchman putting together an impressive Q1 to join the Q2 line-up and the confidence he gained in the tricky conditions served him well initially but a slight moment at turn 2 and lack of fresh rubber saw him slide down the standings in the closing stages of qualifying. However, the Petronas man will start right ahead of rival Joan Mir, who wasn’t keen on taking too much risk and instead took the checkered flag in last position in Q2.

Coming off an excellent showing in FP4, Alex Rins could not replicate that in Q1 and will have to conjure up another remarkable comeback from 14th on the grid, two places behind his teammate and main rival. The Spaniard will start in the middle of fifth row, in between Cal Crutchlow and Danilo Petrucci. Valentino Rossi was slow to join the Q1 action as his bike was not ready in time and after a yellow flag infringement, the best he could do was 16th, ahead of an underwhelming performance from Andrea Dovizioso and with Stefan Bradl closing row six. Meanwhile, teammate Alex Marquez’s struggle in Valencia not only continued but it got worse as the Spaniard suffered a massive highside at turn 11 early in Q1 and very slowly moved away from the gravel trap. He miraculously headed back out on his second machine but could only qualify 20th.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'30.191    
2 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1'30.287 0.096 0.096
3 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'30.413 0.222 0.126
4 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'30.520 0.329 0.107
5 44 Pol Espargaro KTM 1'30.553 0.362 0.033
6 12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha 1'30.645 0.454 0.092
7 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'30.657 0.466 0.012
8 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'30.671 0.480 0.014
9 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'30.737 0.546 0.066
10 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'30.781 0.590 0.044
11 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'30.864 0.673 0.083
12 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1'30.988 0.797 0.124
    Q1 Results:        
Q2 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'30.810    
Q2 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'30.959 0.149 0.149
13 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'31.159 0.349 0.200
14 42 Alex Rins Suzuki 1'31.594 0.784 0.435
15 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'31.601 0.791 0.007
16 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'31.604 0.794 0.003
17 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1'31.606 0.796 0.002
18 6 Stefan Bradl Honda 1'31.831 1.021 0.225
19 53 Tito Rabat Ducati 1'32.063 1.253 0.232
20 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1'32.205 1.395 0.142
21 32 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 1'32.237 1.427 0.032
Round Number: 
14
2020
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Comments

KTM looked better than the grid spots show. Binder, solid. One of them did well to dodge Alex's bike when he high sided. That was not "that Honda crash," rear stepped out. He hit his tail bone HARD. Pain killers and tender tomorrow. Hope your low back is ok friend! Fingers crossed for Taka. 

Conditions played a part. Interesting to contrast how Bagnaia and Zarco are riding, similar speed out of differing styles. But Jack got it done. The dude has balls. 

The Suzuki garage was hugely visibly frustrated by Q today. Like never before seen, throwing the clipboard mad. Bad thing? No! Wee Suzuki is finally "really here." Next thing you know, their Factory may realize they have the best MotoGP bike and happen upon a sponsor. Or dare we say accidentally find a contract for a Jr Team Dorna wrote for Gresini, and borrow a pen before they forget they are racing. No, not the Ecstar pen. The Castrol one or whatever. Anyhoo, honestly good to see the passion alight in the family garage. They will do fine in the race.

What is the weather forecast for race time? Hey, have you thought about how little testing for racers there is this Winter? Nothing until late Feb, then just the one at Qatar after that. Factories HAVE to have a really fast Test rider right now. A "testalien" if you will. Right? Is Cal going to Japan? Keep it up Dani! 

Are we getting a surprise tomorrow? 

Or was that Coca Cola? Anyway yes, Suzuki will surely attract someone, though it would be a shame to spoil that lovely livery! 
Oh and here's my third attempt of bringing you my one act play on the rise of the blue crew..

'I am willing to place money down that Davide Brivio can give us both Yamaha's and Suzuki's timelines since the days of Lorenzo, Hamamatsu's return and just how things are currently where they are. That interview is the holy grail and of course it won't happen. I'm sure Honda & Yamaha didn't expect the Japanese Aprilia to sneak up and mug them in the alley, it's just that in taking such a very long, thoughtful, quiet and methodical run up, they didn't see them coming...

And on that dark, misty night a swarthy latin looking chap was seen wiping down his weapon and slipping it back into his pants whilst having a quick forage around in the sponsorship trash cans before disappearing in Ecstar-asy back into the gloom: yes it's the 'INVASION OF THE TITLE SNATCHERS' Directed by KAWAUCHI SAHARA who also brought you the SILENCE OF THE VALVES and NIGHTMARE ON HRC BORGO PANIGALE STREET. 

A MIR-RINAMAX production.'
..and 3 KTMs in Q2, relentless and absolutely 'Ready to Race' 😊

Fun!

I don't see a sponsor detracting from that livery. If it doesn't have SUZUKI across the side, could be an improvement. Heck yes on Pepsi! They own Rockstar by the way, which isn't on too many bikes eh? Yellow star, it might look nice on there? But Mir is already a Monster guy. So Pepsi is out. How about a big petroleum group? 

Just read Dovi is looking into suing Ducati. Weird days. Wait until you hear the reason..."not protesting the Yamaha valve penalty to be applied to the riders, which would have placed him higher in the Championship and thus earned more money." If this is true, holy crap! He is NOT happy these days. 

 

Battistella, Dovi's manager, has clearly stated yesterday during an interview with Zamagni (Italian journalist) that they have absolutely no intention to sue Ducati.

We can't know but there's clearly a poisonous environment in there, and appears to have been for a while. Really hope it doesn't get messy, that sort of stuff is to keep F1 interesting and distract from the 'parading'. Big lads have just come out for warm up so, enjoy today!