2020-11-16 01:36
Michelin’s penultimate race of 2020 saw Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) secure victory at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana from Circuit Ricardo Tormo as a seventh place finish was enough to capture a premier MotoGP™ title for Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR).

This weekend was the second race at the Valencian circuit and despite some rain on Saturday the weather was more favourable than for last week’s Europa Grand Prix. This led to valuable dry track time for all riders and it showed as the grip levels improved and the MICHELIN Power Slicks were able to produce very competitive lap-times. The enhanced performance all round resulted in faster race lap-times today and a race duration time almost 15-seconds quicker than last Sunday.

The improvement in conditions was highlighted for today’s 27-lap race, as warm sunshine lifted track temperatures to a quite unseasonal 27°C. Morbidelli was on pole and finished the first lap still at the head of the pack, even though Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) got the holeshot and led into turn-one. Morbidelli was at the front for the whole race, recording consistent laps throughout, but the threat from Miller was never far away. On the final lap the Australian made a move and took the lead, using the grip of his MICHELIN Power Slicks to the full, but Morbidelli fought back and the pair produced a last-lap battle to remember, with Morbidelli taking the victory by just 0.093-seconds. He also took the honour of First Independent Rider and moved to the top of those standings, whilst his team – Petronas Yamaha SRT – secured the Independent Team title. Miller came home second, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) repeating his third place from last week.

Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) was next across the line as he took fourth and with the points he earned, added to those of team-mate Mir, it was enough to give Team SUZUKI ECSTAR the Team Championship for the first team since it was introduced in 2002. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was fifth with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) in sixth. The seventh man to cross the line secured enough points to win the 2020 MotoGP World Championship, as Mir – who started from twelfth on the grid – rode a mature race to take Suzuki’s first premier-class title since 2000 and follow in the illustrious footsteps of previous Suzuki Champions such as Barry Sheene, Kevin Schwantz and Kenny Roberts Jr. all of whom were victorious on Michelin tyres. Mir’s victory also signalled the first rider to take the Moto3™ title and then the MotoGP crown. Following home the new World Champion was Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) in eighth, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) came over the line in ninth and Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) rounded out today’s top-ten. The majority of today’s riders went for the hard front slick, with just a handful opting for the medium, but the whole field selected the medium MICHELIN Power Slick as it gave the best performance to all riders and manufacturers in today’s race.

Today’s race was run behind-closed doors, with no spectators present due to the COVID-19 protocols, but the atmosphere was still present as the organisers released the traditional Valencian firecracker salute at the end of the race, this time it was located in the grandstands as a mark of respect to the missing fans and was ignited by the winning rider straight after the chequered flag.

Michelin and MotoGP will now take a trip across the Iberian Peninsula as the championship heads to Portugal for the season’s final round at a new venue to the calendar, as the paddock travels to the Algarve International Circuit near Portimao for the Grande Prémio MEO de Portugal on Sunday 22nd November.

Franco Morbidelli – Petronas Yamaha SRT:

“It was an unbelieve able race and we were able to maintain a crazy pace throughout the race and the tyres worked great. I felt great with them and I was able to control the drop and wear very well and we arrived at the end with a great feeling and still with the option and potential to fight. It was a great job by Michelin.”

Joan Mir – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – 2020 MotoGP World Champion:

“It has been an amazing season. I want to thank the services of Michelin, they are always here with good information and Richard (Rodrigues) helps us a lot. It is impossible to have the perfect feeling with the perfect tyre, but we got the title so that is really good for all of us. I really enjoy working with Michelin, it is only my second year here and race-by-race I am understanding the situation more. Every race the feelings change with the bike, the tyres, the asphalt, everything changes, last week I was able to win the race and this weekend I was almost unable to stay on the bike, so it is interesting for my experience and for me to learn this so I can be even faster in the future.”

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:

“It has been a positive weekend for us as the whole field were able to get more dry time than last week and that showed with the consistency and pace in today’s race. The info from last weekend gave all the riders a good starting base and although we had some rain on Saturday, they were able to get back up to speed quickly and produce some impressive lap-times. All the tyres were tried this weekend, but with the warmer track temperatures today the choice seem quite straightforward for all the riders as to which tyre gave them the best performance. This meant every rider chose the medium rear as it offered the best of all things; grip, consistency and stability, with most of the field going with the hard front for the added stability on this unusual layout.

“On behalf of Michelin I would like to congratulate Joan Mir and Suzuki on the title, they have showed a consistency this season that has produced dividends. We now head to Portugal for another challenge to finish the season. It is a completely new track and although we have had a test there recently we will all be learning from day one.”

Source: Michelin Motorsport

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