MotoGP is gearing up for its frantic three-race finale to the 2020 season, starting with the first leg of a Valencia double-header, the European Grand Prix.
The traditional venue for the MotoGP finale will host back to back races before the series heads to Portimao for the final round of the shaken-up calendar caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first Valencia race sees the reprise of the European Grand Prix race title – last used in the 1995 season for the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya race before the circuit adopted the Catalan GP race name from 1996.
Suzuki’s Joan Mir continues to lead the MotoGP standings with a 14-point advantage over Petronas SRT Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo but remains without a win in the premier class, having visited the rostrum on six occasions this year without reaching the top step.
The biggest news heading into the European GP focused around two riders who have been out of action.
Honda confirmed Marc Marquez will not make his injury comeback this weekend, but hasn’t ruled him out of returning for the final two rounds of the year, as he recovers from a broken arm sustained at the opening round in July.
MotoGP’s other biggest name Valentino Rossi remains a doubt for the European GP after recently failing a COVID-19 test, which has meant Yamaha has called on World Superbike rider Garrett Gerloff to be on standby as replacement rider.
Rossi, who has missed the last two rounds after testing positive for coronavirus, will undergo a second COVID-19 test on Wednesday after returning a positive test on Tuesday.
If he provides a negative result, he will have enough time to complete a second PCR test and potentially return to action this weekend.
Yamaha’s selection of Gerloff as standby over test rider and three-time MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo poses questions around the Spaniard’s future with the Japanese manufacturer, having recently admitted he has an option to become an Aprilia test rider in 2021.
Why is the European GP being held at Valencia?
The ‘new’ races on the redrawn 2020 MotoGP calendar have all been part of double-headers at the same circuit (Andalusia GP at Jerez, Styrian GP at the Red Bull Ring, Emilia Romagna GP at Misano and Teruel GP at Aragon).
The Valencia double-header follows a different naming format to the previous back to back races this year, with its opening grand prix called the European GP before the second race takes its traditional Valencia GP title.
This is because all key region names have already been taken on the shaken-up 2020 calendar. It sees the European GP race title being reintroduced to the series for the first time since 1995 when it was used for the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya race.
2020 European MotoGP session timings
MotoGP will run its traditional schedule of two free practice sessions lasting 45 minutes each on Friday, with another 45-minute practice session on Saturday morning. The top 10 on the combined FP1-2-3 timesheet will automatically enter into Q2 of qualifying. A final 30-minute FP4 session is held on Saturday afternoon ahead of qualifying.
Q1 of qualifying sees all riders who did not finish in the top 10 of the combined practice times take part with the top two finishers progressing into Q2 alongside the top 10 who gained an automatic spot via their practice times.
Q2 is the pole position shootout which decides the order of the front four rows, with the rest of the grid organised on Q1 times, for the 27-lap European GP on Sunday.
Moto2 and Moto3 are also in action during the European GP.
Friday 6th November 2020
Free Practice 1: 9:55am-10:40am BST (10:55am-11:40am local)
Free Practice 2: 1:30pm-2:15pm BST (2:30pm-3:15pm local)
Saturday 7th November 2020
Free Practice 3: 9:55am-10:40am BST (10:55am-11:40am local)
Free Practice 4: 1:10pm-1:40pm BST (2:10pm-2:40pm local)
Qualifying: 1:50pm-2:30pm BST (2:50pm-3:30pm local)
Sunday 8th November 2020
Warm Up: 9:00am-9:20am GMT (10:00am-10:20am local)
Race: 1:00pm GMT (2:00pm local)
How can I watch the European MotoGP?
Channel: BT Sport 2
Channel numbers – Sky: 414 (BT Sport 2)
Channel numbers – Virgin Media: 528 (BT Sport)
BT Sport’s live coverage of Sunday’s action starts with the warm-up sessions at 08:00am, taking it from the world feed, before switching to its own broadcast at 09:30am for the pre-race show ahead of the Moto3 race.
The build-up to the MotoGP race starts from 12:30pm, or when the Moto2 race finishes, ahead of lights out at 1:00pm.
Can I stream the European MotoGP?
Viewers in the United Kingdom can also stream the European GP by purchasing a video pass from MotoGP.com. A one-off video pass, which lasts until the first race of the 2021 season, costs £18.00p.
The video pass gives access to every live session, qualifying and race, plus world feed content and the chance to watch previous races.
Weather forecast for the European MotoGP
Valencia is set for mixed conditions throughout the weekend, with a strong chance of rain on Friday and Saturday before dry conditions on Sunday. Highs of 22 degrees Celsius are forecast on race day, making it two degrees warmer cooler than the last race at Aragon.
Given the seasonal conditions of the region at this time of the year, cold temperatures are also expected for the early morning sessions.
Most European MotoGP winners (premier class only)
Wayne Rainey: 3 wins (1991 – Jarama, 1992 – Barcelona and 1993 – Barcelona)