Magic number 8: Rins reigns MotorLand, Mir takes the Championship lead

2020-10-20 08:11
Suzuki make it a day to remember with their best MotoGP™ results in first and third, with Alex Marquez taking another stunning podium in second

2020 continues to serve up a stunner of a MotoGP™ season, and there have now been eight different premier class winners. In the Gran Premio Michelin® de Aragon, it was Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) on the top step as the Suzuki rider took his first victory since Silverstone 2019, slicing up from tenth on the grid to fend off another late charge from rookie superstar Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), who took second and the 850th premier class podium for Honda. Third place went to Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), the number 36 back on the rostrum and the new Championship leader after a tough day at the office for Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT).

As the lights went out, it was Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) who was off like a shot from second on the grid, the number 12 carving his way to the front immediately round the outside of Turn 2 as the Petronas Yamahas duelled behind, and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) headed a bit wide. Soon enough though, Viñales' closest company came from Rins as the Suzuki rider sliced through from tenth to get past Morbidelli and Quartararo, homing in on the number 12 in the lead.

Stalking the Monster Energy Yamaha for a couple of laps, Rins chose his moment at the final corner and took a tight, tight line to sweep up the inside for the lead, neatly done to take over at the front. Just behind, things were getting spicy as Mir had managed a two-for-one past the Petronas Yamahas with a similar move up into third, and Alex Marquez was on a charge.

Rins, Viñales, Mir... the trio at the front remained pretty close together as the cat and mouse began, with Marquez the man making serious gains. As the number 73 arrived on the scene, Mir seemingly decided enough was enough, slicing through on Viñales at the final corner. To compound Viñales' chagrin, Marquez then made a stunner of a late dive past the Yamaha into Turn 1 too...

Up ahead, Rins remained ahead but it was far from becoming a runaway win. As the laps ticked down, the number 42 retained the close company from teammate Mir and Alex Marquez, but the next move wouldn't threaten for the lead. With six to go, and again at the final corner, the number 73 Repsol Honda swooped past Mir to take over in second, Alex Marquez on for his second second place in a row. Or was he?

Once past, the Honda was closing. And not in thousandths or hundredths, but really reeling Rins in. Alex Marquez was over three tenths faster with four laps remaining, and looked seriously primed for a shot at the win. But Rins was holding station, and then a major warning came Marquez’ way at the final corner with two laps and a corner to go. The number 73 was out the seat as he squeezed on the gas and lot some ground, but he gathered it back up and set his sights back on the Suzuki.

Rins had a three tenth lead with two to go, and coming onto the last lap, it remained at 0.3 seconds. Marquez had to try and get close enough to get into the slipstream down the back straight, but Rins got his GSX-RR hooked up nicely and the Honda man wasn’t close enough to try his inside sweeping move. Despite the pressure, Rins made no mistakes. rising over the brow of the hill and making it to the line with two tenths in hand. The eighth winner in eight races and eighth of the season, back on the top step for the first time in over a year - and Marquez, despite losing out on the win, back on the podium for the second time in a week.

Mir had to keep an eye out for Viñales on the final couple of laps, and Morbidelli had Nakagami for company in the battle for the top five. In the end, Mir came out on top in the fight for third but again, by only a couple of tenths, but it's enough to see him take the title lead as Quartararo plummeted through the field. Viñales also made a big gain in points given that, coming home off the podium but the second Championship challenger over the line.

Nakagami kept up his 100% top 10 finish record in 2020 with a superb P5, the Honda rider managing to beat Morbidelli on the last lap for the honour of top Independent Team rider too. That’s the number 30's second top five of the season.. and he's only 29 points off Mir!

After a difficult weekend, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) salvaged P7 on race day to sit closer to the top of the Championship than he did before the lights went out, top Borgo Panigale machine on Sunday and still in the hunt. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), after a tough start, was able to climb back up to P8. The two Ducatis of Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) completed the top 10, not what either would have been expecting heading into the weekend.

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) led teammate Pol Espargaro across the line as the Austrian factory suffered a difficult Sunday taking P11 and P12, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) finishing just under a second from his younger brother in P13. Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) grabbed P14 to finish ahead of the final point scorer – Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team).

So where was Quartararo? The former points leader, after struggling with front tyre pressure, went from off the podium to fringes of the top ten to end up outside the points in P18. After a heroic pole position taken despite his big FP3 crash, the Frenchman had one of his toughest Sundays yet in the premier class... but he'll be fired up to try and hit back next week. Mir now leads on 121 as Quartararo remains on 115, with Viñales third with 109. Dovizioso has 106, still very much in touch...

That's all Bibendum wrote at the Gran Premio Michelin® de Aragon, with another huge swing in momentum in the title fight. Whose way will it go next week? Find out in less than seven days as MotoGP™ get back on track for the Gran Premio Liqui Moly de Teruel on Friday.
MotoGP™ podium
1 Alex Rins -Team Suzuki Ecstar - Suzuki 41:54.391
2 Alex Marquez - Repsol Honda Team - Honda - +0.263
3 Joan Mir -Team Suzuki Ecstar - Suzuki +2.644

Top Independent Team rider
5 Takaaki Nakagami - LCR Honda Idemitsu - Honda +4.570
Alex Rins: "Incredible! Unbelievable! Sincerely, at the start I was so calm, and I was thinking 'hmm maybe that's a bad thing!' I made a really good start, the first laps were really good, then when I was behind Maverick I was thinking, 'Alex, you have a bit more so try to go, but slowly because otherwise you'll ruin the rear tyre!' I tried to manage the distance to the guys behind and it's amazing. This is for all the fans that normally come here from the towns around here, and for all this amazing team, and my family, friends, girlfriend. Everybody! This is for you guys!"
MotoGP™ podium L-R: Alex Marquez, Rins and Mir
Lowes goes back-to-back ahead of Bastianini as the title fight takes another huge turn
The Brit comes out on top in a race of attrition ahead of Bastianini, with Marini and Bezzecchi both crashing out to add another twist to the Moto2™ tale
A seismic shift in the fight to be crowned 2020 Moto2™ World Champion took place at the Gran Premio Michelin® Aragon Grand Prix, with Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) taking first and second - and Sky Racing Team VR46 teammates Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi both crashing out. That leaves Bastianini, who just beat Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) to second on the last lap, take over in the Championship lead, with Lowes' 25 points for the win putting him just two off the top in the standings...

As the lights went out in Aragon, it was a super start from Bezzecchi as he took the holeshot from second on the grid, with Petronas Sprinta Racing's Jake Dixon swooping through to third from row two. Early drama then struck as Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up) crashed at the opening corner following contact with Marcos Ramirez (Tennor American Racing), but the Spaniard thankfully walked away from a scary crash.

Then, polesitter Lowes ran slightly wide at Turn 12 from second and that allowed Fabio Di Giannantonio (MB Conveyors Speed Up) through after the Italian had sliced past Dixon, but Lowes hit back quick to set his sights Bezzecchi out front. Not long after that on Lap 3, the Championship then took its biggest twist yet as former points leader Luca Marini tucked the front through Turn 14 and slid out - leaving an open goal for those in the hunt to capitalise.

Teammate Bezzecchi would be the new man ahead in the standings if he could hold on to victory, but Lowes and Di Giannantonio were close. 'Diggia' made his move on Lowes with fourteen to go at MotorLand, but the three stayed close as Enea Bastianini edged ahead of Jake Dixon for the final place inside the top five just behind them.

Ten laps in, Di Giannantonio pounced on Bezzecchi for the lead at Turn 14. The pair were side-by-side down the long back straight but the Speed Up man was able to hold on as they went through the final corner. But then suddenly, into Turn 2 next time around, 'Diggia' was sliding out of the lead - leaving Bezzecchi and Lowes in a duel for the win.

By then, Martin was beginning to loom ominously in the background though, and Bastianini was just half a second off his rear wheel. With seven to go, the 'Beast' struck under the shadow of the MotorLand wall.

Martin wasn’t going to just sit and let Bastianini escape though, with the Red Bull KTM Ajo man immediately finding a response, but the number 33 had an answer too - back past on the brakes into Turn 8.

With five to go Bezzzecchi was still in control, half a second clear of Lowes. Three seconds further back Bastianini held third place, himself three tenths clear of Martin. The laps ticked by and the end drew nearer with Bezzecchi on course for victory, before another monumental moment in the World Championship chase suddenly took place. With just two laps remaining, Bezzecchi suddenly crashed out at Turn 2.

Lowes swooped through, and incredibly took the mantle as Championship leader too as Martin got himself in front of Bastianini. But onto the final lap, it was far from decided. Lowes crossed the line to take his first ever back to back wins, but the fight for second was close. It came down to the final sector on the final lap, with Bastianini putting in a clinical, ruthless and vital move to secure the extra four points to sit atop the Moto2™ standings.

Further back, Dixon well and truly bounced back from his Le Mans heartbreak by clinching a career-best finish in fourth. ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team's Remy Gardner got the better of Ramirez and Hector Garzo (FlexBox HP 40) in the fight for the final place inside the top five. Tennor American Racing's Joe Roberts took eighth, before Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) rounded out the top ten.

That's it from MotorLand... for this weekend at least! Moto2™ are back on track for the Gran Premio Liqui Moly de Teruel on Friday - and it couldn't be closer. Will it change everything again? Or can Lowes and Bastianini keep the momentum rolling? We'll find out soon enough!
Moto2™ podium
1 Sam Lowes - EG 0,0 Marc VDS - Kalex 39:33.202
2 Enea Bastianini - Italtrans Racing Team - Kalex +4.195
3 Jorge Martin - Red Bull KTM Ajo - Kalex +4.430
Sam Lowes: "Bezzecchi's crash was a shame near the end of the race, Diggia I felt like I had his pace... I'm sorry for them, they were stronger than me at a couple of points on the track which is something I can work on for next weekend. But overall I was there, I kept the pressure on, was able to benefit from their mistakes and back to back wins is good for me! It's the first time for me to get back to back wins in Moto2, so I'm really really happy."

Source: Dorna Sports

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