The theme for the 2020 MotoGP season, insofar as one is discernible, is that there are two types of rider: riders who are doing their best to win races but lose the championship, and riders (or rider) who are doing their best to win the championship, but not win races. And never the twain shall meet, so far this year.
That was the tale of the Teruel round of MotoGP, also known as Aragon 2. Before the race, Takaaki Nakagami looked on course for his first podium, and possibly his first win, which would have put him right into the title fight. But Nakagami never even made it as far as the first intermediate timing strip, crashing out of the lead at Turn 5.
Of the three race winners in the top four of the championship, Maverick Viñales and Fabio Quartararo found a way to go backwards during the race, while Andrea Dovizioso never even found a way to go forwards. That put Joan Mir more firmly in the driving seat of the championship, but despite a very strong race to finish on the podium, he never really threatened to win the race.
Winners and … winners?
Victory was fought out between Franco Morbidelli and Alex Rins, two riders who on Saturday had been asked if they would be willing to sacrifice their races to help their teammates in the title chase. On Sunday, they answered a resounding no to that question, though frankly, that was more down to the shortcomings of their teammates rather than selfishness or skulduggery on their own part.
And so Franco Morbidelli won his second race of the season. Morbidelli, Rins, Viñales, Quartararo, Dovizioso, all race winners, yet all in an increasingly weak situation in the championship, as the number of races left robs them of chances to make up points. And Joan Mir, with his sixth podium of the season, extended his lead in the championship, while never in with a chance of winning the Aragon 2 race.
“I reckon we might have another Emilio Alzamora situation on our hands,” said Jack Miller on Sunday evening, referring to the 1999 125cc championship which the Spanish rider-turned-manager clinched without winning a single race. The season is looking increasingly likely to prove Miller right.
So, how did we get here? In Part1 these subscriber notes:
- Brad Binder and Jack Miller’s eight-second race
- Takaaki Nakagami, pole position, and pressure
- Alex Márquez makes it two Hondas crashing out
- Franco Morbidelli’s perfect race
- Why Alex Rins came up just short
- Will Joan Mir win a race this season? And does it matter?
- Yamahas – winning races, but not leading the championship
- Andrea Dovizioso, and whether the GP19 is better than the GP20
Where to start? How about Turn 2. The tight section after the start is always a magnet for trouble. A tight left followed by a sweeping right means riders get funneled in squashed together, with limited room for maneuver. It is easy to make a mistake, and lose the race before it is even started, taking out yourself, and if you’re unlucky, someone else as well.
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