Joan Mir has clinched the 2020 MotoGP championship, ending a 20-year wait for Suzuki, as Franco Morbidelli won a last-lap Valencia Grand Prix thriller from Jack Miller.
Mir is the first new MotoGP champion since Marc Marquez in 2013 and becomes the first rider to win the world crown in Moto3 and the premier class, after coming home a safe seventh place in the Valencia GP.
Miller got the better run into Turn 1 off the line, but ran wide and allowed Morbidelli to come back through, while his SRT team-mate Fabio Quartararo went off at Turn 2 after running out of room in the braking zone.
This dropped Quartararo down the order, with his race lasting until lap nine when he crashed at Turn 6 having once again dropped out of the points, completely ending his championship hopes.
Mir navigated the opening lap safely, putting his Suzuki into 10th while Suzuki team-mate Alex Rins had leaped up from 14th to seventh.
Morbidelli engaged supremely consistent pace in the opening laps to quickly build a buffer over the chasing Miller and KTM of Pol Espargaro.
By lap seven his lead stood at seven tenths of a second, with Morbidelli opening that gap up to 1.2s by the 13th tour.
Then the SRT rider’s lead started to come down, with Miller getting to within one second by lap 18 and continuing to eat into Morbidelli’s advantage over the next few tours.
With five laps to run, Miller was just three tenths behind Morbidelli, though the Italian responded in turn to get his lead back up to half a second.
Miller nailed his run out of the final corner to use the brute power of the Pramac Ducati to pass Morbidelli into the first corner at the start of the final lap, and just about held on despite running wide.
Morbidelli threw his Yamaha back up the inside of Turn 2, with Miller retaliating at Turn 4 – though this was once again countered with a daring raid on the inside of Turn 5 from Morbidelli.
The Italian clung on by 0.093s on the run to the chequered flag to score his third win of the 2020 season, with KTM’s Pol Espargaro a distant third.
Alex Rins was fourth on his Suzuki, but it wasn’t enough to delay Mir’s coronation. Rins beat Brad Binder (KTM) and the Tech3 of Miguel Oliveira.
Mir pipped Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso to seventh, with Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro and Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales rounding out the top 10.
The final points were taken by Pramac’s Francesco Bagnaia, Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda, Stefan Bradl (Honda) and Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci.
Takaaki Nakagami crashed out late on at the final corner attempting to take third from Espargaro, while Joahnn Zarco fell from his Avintia Ducati on lap six.
Not since Kenny Roberts Jr in 2000 has Suzuki won the riders’ title in the premier class, with Mir becoming just the sixth Suzuki rider in history to be crowned MotoGP world champion.
Valencia MotoGP Results – 27 Laps
|1||Franco Morbidelli||Petronas Yamaha||41m22.478s|
|2||Jack Miller||Pramac Ducati||0.093s|
|6||Miguel Oliveira||Tech3 KTM||7.272s|
|11||Francesco Bagnaia||Pramac Ducati||19.456s|
|13||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||23.802s|
|17||Tito Rabat||Avintia Ducati||42.365s|
|–||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda||Retirement|
|–||Fabio Quartararo||Petronas Yamaha||Retirement|
|–||Johann Zarco||Avintia Ducati||Retirement|
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