Suzuki ace Alex Rins withstood the pressure of Repsol Honda rookie Alex Márquez in Aragón and is the eighth different MotoGP winner of the 2020 season. Joan Mir took the championship lead in third.
The shortened MotoGP 2020 season has already brought us seven winners and 15 different drivers on the podium in nine Grand Prix. It doesn’t have to stay that way, because the starting position for the “Gran Premio Michelin de Aragón” promised pure excitement: World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo, himself three-time winner of the season, started from pole position for the tenth time in his MotoGP career, next to him stood his Yamaha colleague Maverick Viñales and Cal Crutchlow. For the first time since Austin 2019, the LCR Honda veteran was back on the front row.
However, Suzuki ace Joan Mir was lurking on the second row of the grid. The World Cup runner-up has not been that far ahead since the Styrian GP in August, when the 23-year-old was heading for his first victory in the premier class up to the red flag.
There would definitely be a premiere, because none of the previous MotoGP winners in MotorLand Aragón – Marc Márquez, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner – were not there in 2020. In addition, the Corona-related absence of Valentino Rossi ensured that for the first time since 1996 a Grand Prix without a “premier class” champion was started in the grid, with bright sunshine and 31 degrees asphalt temperature.
Shortly after the start, Yamaha was still ahead, but with a bombshell start from the fourth row, Alex Rins laid the foundation for success. Repsol Honda rider Alex Márquez, who also only had to work his way up from the fourth row on the grid, ensured that the Suzuki works rider had to work hard for his third MotoGP victory right through to the end.
I couldn’t keep up with the pace until the end, but third place was enough to take the championship lead. Because the big loser of the day was Quartararo in the end: The Pole man was passed through to 18th place.
This is how the race went:
Start: Morbidelli gets off to a good start, but he goes far – Viñales is leading in front of Quartararo, Morbidelli, Rins, Mir, Miller, Nakagami and Dovizioso, who only came from 13th on the grid.
2nd lap: Alex Márquez passes Dovizioso on the brakes in Turn 1. Viñales has a small lead of 0.6 seconds over his fellow brands. I can’t find a way past Miller (5th).
3rd round: Rins snatches 3rd place from Morbidelli. I pass Miller. Unlike the five in front of him, the Australian chose the medium rear tire. The same goes for Dovi, by the way. Bagnaia says goodbye with a fall.
4th lap: Rins, the fastest man on the track, is hanging on Quartararo’s rear wheel. Morbidelli doesn’t come with you. Behind them, Alex Márquez took over seventh place from his Honda colleague Nakagami.
5th round: Quartararo leaves the door open, Rins slips through. Stefan Bradl is now in 18th place.
6th round: Alex Márquez fights his way past Miller and is now sixth. Miller wants to fight back – but the rookie holds his own.
7th round: Rins’ turn to Viñales. Another 0.7 seconds behind is Quartararo, who has to watch out for his teammate Morbidelli. The Petronas duo are fighting for 3rd place after the back straight on the brakes – both go far, thank me and are new third. Nakagami grabbed Miller.
Round 8: Rins takes the lead in the last corner! Alex Márquez passes the world championship leader and is fifth. Quartararo is obviously struggling to hold the line.
Round 9: Rins comes off for half a second. Alex Márquez also grabs Morbidelli at Turn 16.
Round 10: Dovizioso and Crutchlow fight for 9th place.
11th round: Quartararo (6th) has to orient himself backwards, Nakagami passes and Miller lurks behind. Meanwhile, Alex Márquez is the fastest man in the field.
12th round: Alex Marquez is my turn. Quartararo falls back to 9th place – and thus also behind Dovi.
13th round: Rins leads 0.6 sec in front of Viñales, who has to watch out for me. The Yamaha rider tries to hold onto the back straight, but he can’t hold the line and the Suzuki works rider passes.
Round 14: Alex Márquez follows suit and also slides past Viñales. Rins benefits from the battles for positions behind him, the gap is getting bigger. Quartararo is passed on in 15th place.
15th lap: I move closer to his Suzuki teammate Rins again. Alex Márquez doesn’t give up either.
Round 16: Dovizioso passes Miller and is seventh.
17th lap: Viñales is already two seconds behind in third place. Binder passes Aleix Espargaró; in twelfth place, the South African is the first KTM in the field. Quartararo is only 17th, ahead of Bradl.
Round 18: Rins still has half a second credit on the pursuers. Alex Márquez puts pressure on me – and passes on turn 16.
19th round: Alex Márquez draws on Rins. In contrast to the Suzuki Assen, the Repsol Honda driver opted for the medium front tire.
20th lap: Four laps before the end, I’m 0.8 seconds short of the duo at the front. Viñales follows another two seconds behind.
21st lap: Alex Márquez lurks at the rear of Rins. The Repsol rookie, however, has to survive a violent slide in Turn 17.
22nd round: Rins has 0.3 seconds of breath, but Alex Marquez does not give up. I’m ripped off.
Last lap: Alex Márquez doesn’t get close enough to launch an attack. Rins is the eighth MotoGP winner of the 2020 season. I will take the lead in third place – the first Suzuki rider since Kenny Roberts Jr. in 2000.
Result, MotoGP race, Aragón (18.10.):
1. Rins, Suzuki, 41: 54,391 min
2. Alex Márquez, Honda, + 0.263 sec
3. Mir, Suzuki, + 2,644
4. Viñales, Yamaha, + 2,880
5. Nakagami, Honda, +4,570
6. Morbidelli, Yamaha, + 4,756
7. Dovizioso, Ducati, + 8.639
8. Crutchlow, Honda, + 8,913
9. Miller, Ducati, + 9,390
10. Zarco, Ducati, + 9.617
11. Binder, KTM, + 13,200
12. Pol Espargaró, KTM, +13,689
13. Aleix Espargaró, Aprilia, + 14,598
14. Lecuona, KTM, + 15,291
15. Petrucci, Ducati, + 15.941
16. Oliveira, KTM, + 18,284
17.Bradl, Honda, + 20,136
18. Quartararo, Yamaha, + 21.498
19. Smith, Aprilia, + 25,300
20. Rabat, Ducati, + 25,558
Driver World Championship stand after 10 of 14 races:
1. Mir, 121 Punkte. 2. Quartararo 115. 3. Viñales 109. 4. Dovizioso 106. 5. Nakagami 92. 6. Morbidelli 87. 7. Rins 85. 8. Miller 82. 9. Pol Espargaró 77. 10. Oliveira 69. 11. Binder 67 12. Alex Márquez 67. 13. Petrucci 65. 14. Rossi 58. 15. Zarco 53. 16. Bagnaia 42. 17. Aleix Espargaró 27. 18. Crutchlow 21. 19. Lecuona 20. 20. Smith 11. 21. Bradl 8. 22. Rabat 8. 23. Pirro 4.
1. Yamaha 183. 2. Ducati 160. 3. Suzuki. 4. KTM 130. 5. Honda 112. 6. Aprilia 35.