Masterful Mir Wins in Valencia Taking Championship Lead with Classic Riding!
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Masterful Mir Wins in Valencia Taking Championship Lead with Classic Riding!

By FORMULAMotoGPMag - 10 November 2020

It was the perfect Sunday race for Team Suzuki Ecstar taking a one/two victory for the first time since 1982 which is an outstanding effort and reflection of how far the team has come since re-entering the premier class. The race win for Joan Mir was not an easy one as he battled fellow teammate and rival Alex Rins who was managing the race lead for quite a significant period of time. When Mir made the clean and brave pass on Rins, it was another reminder on how good the young Spanish rider is and was a worthy bet when he left Moto3 a World Champion and decided after being in Moto2 for a short time to make the jump. What a reward it has been for the Japanese manufacturer to have two incredible riders under their guidance.

Credit - Team Suzuki Ecstar (Joan Mir)

The fabulous Fabio Quartararo has not been riding to the best of his ability and the pressure has finally come knocking on his garage door. Not only is the scandal of cheating causing chaos, no doubt Quartararo is just not on the ball especially when the conditions are wet. He lacks confidence and is not a strong candidate at the present moment when it really matters the most. Crashing on the first lap just showcases how quickly a title race can change and lean towards another rival, that of Team Suzuki Ecstar. In a way, Quartararo knows deep down that if Mir is consistent, his chances are gone.

Credit - PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (Fabio Quartararo)

Fabio Quartararo:

“At the beginning of the race another rider crashed in front of me and in trying to avoid it, I crashed as well. In these conditions it is easy to do. Unfortunately it meant that we lost points in the championship, at a race that wouldn’t have been our best but, where we thought we would do quite well. The feeling was a lot better in the dry today, but still not quite how I want it. Although everyone had difficulties, I do think we could have had a better feeling and more pace today. I think we need to try some things next weekend and try to have fun in these last two races; we still have good possibilities to end the season well.

In terms of bringing a team back to a Championship status, team manager Davide Brivio has been exceptional. Not only is he hard working, he works well with his riders, is calm and has put in the time to have a bike worthy of being at the front of the pack. When you look at how a team is managed, Brivio deserves the applauds and that potential rider trophy because dedicated is his middle name to the Suzuki chase for glory!

Davide Brivio - Team Manager:

“It’s been an unbelievable race, I’ve been dreaming of a Suzuki 1-2 for a long time and today we managed it! Thank you so much to all the Team, and to Joan and Alex of course! We’re doing something fantastic this season - we’re leading all three championships and our riders are so strong in the races. I would like to have this wonderful feeling forever, but we still have two races to focus on, so we will stay calm and keep our heads down. Let’s try to continue in this way!”

Credit - Team Suzuki Ecstar (Joan Mir)

Joan Mir:

“I’m just so happy, the Team and I put together a perfect weekend! It’s difficult to give 100% when you’re fighting for a title, because you always have to be a bit cautious, but today I saw the chance for my debut victory and I had to take it. I knew what I had to do, and I felt really great with my bike. I don’t really have words to describe how amazing it feels to be a MotoGP race winner, and it gives me an extra boost, especially after a tricky weekend in terms of conditions. Things are still close at the top, so I need to stay focused and continuing working for next weekend.”

Credit - Team Suzuki Ecstar (Joan Mir & Alex Rins)

Alex Rins:

“I was leading for a large part of the race, and I was hoping to lead from start to finish, but I missed a gear at Turn 11 on the 17th lap, and I went wide and Joan got through. Once he was at the front it was very hard to stay with him, even though I tried, because his pace was really good. But even if the result wasn’t perfect for me, it was a fantastic day for the Team. Joan got the victory that he really wanted, Suzuki got a one-two finish, and I got 20 points to add to my championship tally! So, I’m happy! Ready to go again next week and see what I can do, there are still plenty of points on the table.”

This season has not proceeded in the ways Andrea Dovizioso would have imagined. There have been highs, lows, frustration and disappointment. There are rumours swirling that he may take up the Yamaha test rider job from Jorge Lorenzo who will depart for a test riding gig at Aprilia. Regardless of 2021, Dovi will want to finish strong even when he feels under the weather. Ducati will need to learn from the 2020 season because it has been one to remember and also forget at times with such poor performance at one circuit and then improved performance at the next. There is too much inconsistency which is one thing they should be on top of considering their strengths in the sport. No doubt, the departure and broken relationship between the Italian rider and the team is a reason for their lack of performance because there is no communication to improve without argument.

Credit - Ducati Corse Press (Andrea Dovizioso)

Andrea Dovizoso:

"I wasn't feeling very well physically today, but fortunately, I managed to be consistent in the race. In the first laps, I recovered several positions, but in the beginning, my feeling with the bike wasn't good. Only towards the end of the race, I was able to have a good speed, and this is an interesting aspect that we will have to focus on. I'm not happy with today's result, but now we have some interesting data to work on ahead of the next GP, which will take place here in Valencia again next Sunday".

Meanwhile, only one seat remains for the 2021 season at Aprilia with Enea Bastianini and Luca Marini signing for the final Ducati seats with Tito Rabat most likely finding a new job elsewhere after poor results and his hands being forced to move on. Theories do say that Valentino Rossi will look to have a team in MotoGP and his way to make this happen slowly is by integrating his riders into a team that has potential to grow that being Esponsorama Racing. What a grid it will be with two brothers going head to head whilst being mentored by one another!

Enea Bastianini:
"Racing in MotoGP is a dream come true for me, and I'm happy to be able to do it with Ducati, of which I've been a big fan since the days of my idol Casey Stoner. It will undoubtedly be an important step that will push me to grow a lot, and I would like to move up as the Moto2 World Champion, even if it will not be easy. I want to thank my family for all the support they have given me since I was a child and my manager Carlo Pernat. I would also like to thank Ducati and the Esponsorama Racing team for the trust they have in me: I will try not to disappoint them!

Credit - Ducati Corse Press (Luca Marini and Enea Bastianini)

Luca Marini:
“Having this great opportunity to race in MotoGP in 2021 is a dream come true for me, it's the desire that every rider has had since childhood. In these years with Sky Racing Team VR46 I have accumulated a lot of experience, and thanks to them, I have grown and achieved my first important results. Now we are in a crucial phase of the Moto2 season, and we will continue to work hard to reach our maximum goal, before embarking on this exciting new adventure together with Ducati and the Esponsorama Racing team". 

Overall, the race was a good reminder of the current talent on the grid and with two final races to enjoy before a World Champion is crowned. There is potential of Mir winning it at Valencia! Regardless of that, Jack Miller rode a strong race finishing in sixth, Maverick Vinales recovered after the Yamaha debacle and start from pit lane, Rossi had his face in his hands after a mechanical issue and Pol Espargaro who shined with the KTM achieving another podium result. The 2020 season will make a lot of these riders a lot stronger mentally, physically and emotionally because everything taking place is within a heightened environment plus stresses that never stop arising with the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

Credit - Pramac MotoGP Team (Jack Miller)

Jack Miller:

“A good race, not what we were hoping for but I don’t want to complain. Too bad for the start, I lost time, but afterwards I tried to recover and be as aggressive as possible but the podium was impossible at that point. The pace was good and I felt good, especially in the left turns. We will try again next week.”

Credit - Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MotoGP Team (Maverick Vinales)

Maverick Vinales:

“Today’s race was always going to be difficult. The bike wasn’t perfect, because we had so little time to prepare for a dry race, but that is just the way it is. Finishing in 13th place when starting from pit lane is not horrible, but it’s not fantastic either, especially considering the championship. But I don’t want to think about that too much. I prefer to focus on improving the bike and trying to enjoy the second race in Valencia and the upcoming round in Portimão.”

Credit - Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MotoGP Team (Valentino Rossi)

Valentino Rossi:

“For me personally, not being able to finish the race today is a great shame, because I needed these 27 laps, just to do a race again. I also needed them to collect data to understand how to be stronger for next weekend's race here in Valencia. I was there in the race today, and I was just trying to understand how to ride in the best way, but unfortunately the bike stopped. The situation is not easy in Valencia. Last week, in Aragon, Yamaha won with Franco, but we are struggling to find grip here. It wasn't a great weekend for me to find a way to improve, but we will see what we can do next week.

Credit - KTM Images & Polarity Photo (Pol Espargaro)

Pol Espargaro:

“It was hard, so tough with these guys. They were fast but I was catching back on brakes. I lost a bit of corner speed and through the apex but we went for the hard front and medium rear tires and it was a perfect choice. We had zero data for that selection but we gambled and I was gaining time. I’m really pleased. Another podium for KTM and myself, a great feeling.”

Credit - KTM Factory MotoGP Team & Polarity Photo (Brad Binder)

In the current season of MotoGP, we have noticed that when a rider has a good/great feeling, it is incredible how they can ride with confidence allowing them to hit the goals. One of the only riders who manages to succeed when conditions and bike performance is up and down is that of Marc Marquez. Whilst he recovers, he will be learning more about his competitors from the sidelines watching, analysing and hearing how they carry themselves. This makes us very happy as we know when he returns, the mind games will be back into full swing! For others, the final two races will be a good learning experience like that of Brad Binder who learned during the Valencia Grand Prix when to push and at what point the fuel load was to enable him to go faster. He had the pace though was thrown a few curve balls in the race with a long lap penalty, Cal Crutchlow crashing in front of him and having to stay upright so that he did not crash. The lessons from the next upcoming sessions will play an important role in how the 2021 season shapes up and what the off-season has in store for these riders with current worldwide conditions.

Credit - Team Suzuki Ecstar (Joan Mir)

With Valencia II already starting to heat up, we look forward to seeing Mir in action as the humble Spanish rider demonstrates how victory has not changed who he is and the fact that pressure is more to him about those who have lost their lives during COVID-19, those struggling to make ends meet and in fact, his title chase about just doing his job well with confidence. Of course, the situation this coming Sunday will be different because as the ninth different winner of this year’s season, Mir could potentially hand Suzuki the prize they have dreamed of for so long and take a win away from the favourite factories of Yamaha, Honda and Ducati!

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