Moto3 & Moto2 World Champions Crowned as 2020 Season of MotoGP Concludes With Excitement!
Author: Myanna Wedes
The 2020 season of Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP have finished with two Champions crowned at the last event in Portimão. All three race classes had thrilling events which were nail biting even with the MotoGP World Champion already being crowned. So many chapters have been closed in the premier class with new ones also starting for those upgrading to the top performing MotoGP bikes. Change is a good thing although we are losing out to some amazing characters to have been a part of the two wheels motor racing family for a long period of time: Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso. No doubt their guidance as a test rider and Dovi’s sabbatical will help to reignite his racing desires though we are not sure on which manufacturer he could potentially jump on board with in 2022. In addition, Remy Gardener won his first Moto2 race which was a dominant victory that ended up with Italian rider Enea Bastianini being crowed World Champion and in Moto3, superman Albert Arenas just beating his rivals to celebrate with Champagne and a big smile.
The Moto3 race was unreal and is one of our favourites to watch. They are crazy! Literally, paint swapping, wheeling at speed and challenging one another by physically and mentally pushing to the limit. The achievement will set him up for the Moto2 title whilst Bastianini graduates to MotoGP as title winner. The Moto2 battle was close and Sam Lowes pushed with a broken wrist to stay within the hunt whilst Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi attempted to win the race though it was Gardner’s to win! We are really happy to see the Australian rider coming into his natural form, confident and able to be fast. Bezzecchi was linked to signing for Aprilia MotoGP in 2021 though Pablo Nieto who runs the Sky VR46 junior teams was adamant he had to stay put and continue learning.
When we look at the race, it was a victory reflecting a track that favours the brave and those who are comfortable. Oliveira rode a perfect race and deserves the credit. He finished 3.1 seconds clear of Miller. The dream start took place for the Portuguese rider, it was locked in laser focus because winning on home soil at a circuit that is not guaranteed to appear next year is most definitely special. The KTM factory are very happy to think how the season had started and where they have ended up with both their teams performing at such a high level. If the win by Joan Mir is any indication of pace, the KTM factory is on track to fight for the title.
Miguel Oliveira: “It’s unreal. You dream about these kinds of races and to finally be able to do it is incredible: I have no words. My gratitude to all the people and all the fans at home who could not be here today. To my team; it was a great way to make the farewell to Tech3 and give this accomplishment to them. My family didn’t get to see my first win ‘live’, so it is great they were here. It’s an incredible day and very emotional to finish the season on a high and with a strong performance like today.”
Pol Espargaro: “It was not one of my best races but we must be very satisfied with the end result this year and the way to sign-off four years together. To be level on points for 4th in the championship and ahead of many other factory bikes and seeing a KTM take three wins this season is amazing for the company and the project. I’m proud to have brought five podiums and two pole positions. I’m really proud in fact of what we have done together. In a way it is sad to say ‘bye bye’ but I feel to give KTM their best championship finish yet is the best way to go.”
The rookie of the year title was also crowned. The battle was between Brad Binder and Alex Marquez with the South African rider coming out on top even with a DNF at Portimão. Binder is a rising talent and with more mileage under his belt, the opportunities to grow are vivid because he becomes of the key riders for KTM now with the departure of Espargaro to Honda. Binder has been with KTM for majority of his career and like Miller, are going to be the guiding lights for success for their manufacturers.
“All-in-all my rookie year has come to a close and we managed to wrap the Rookie of the Year award, which was a goal starting the season. I made a good start but on the second lap two riders had contact and I was left out to dry. I had to run off track. Coming back I got a great slipstream on the straight but came into Turn 1 too hot and unfortunately it was just enough to lose the front. I tried to save it but went down. It’s a shame because we had the pace to do a good job. It’s been a tough but fantastic season with big highs and low lows! I think all of it will build me up to be a stronger rider next season. I want to say a massive thank you to everyone in the box and the entire team. The feeling is great and we have a competitive package for sure.”
If the World Championship was not finished in Valencia, who knows how this race would have played out. We can only imagine! With that said, Suzuki have achieved the golden results with 1st and 3rd in the title. If you look at the numbers, Mir finished with 171 points, Franco Morbidelli 158 and Alex Rins 139. It was a close battle between first and third. Some will say it should have been different with the dominant Fabio Quartararo although you have to be consistent in order to be the best. Mir has achieved this and will only get better considering he has only been in the premier class for two years.
Davide Brivio - Team Manager:
“It was a disappointing end to the season; unfortunately Joan had some problems with the bike after some contact with other riders. We need to investigate to discover what happened. Alex struggled with the tyre towards the end of the race, despite making a great start. Our two riders had different problems today which prevented them from having another fantastic race, but we are extremely happy to be first and third in the championship and this year has been magical and unforgettable. Thank you to both our riders for always giving their all, and to all the team staff and all those involved in the project.”
“Today’s race was a bit difficult and I felt that I made the wrong tyre choice. I struggled from the start of the race with the hard rear tyre, and at the start I was able to close in on the riders in front of me but then lap-by-lap I was losing grip and I began to drop back. But in the end I’m happy with my work this year, and despite the injury and some crashes I still managed to get third in the championship. I’m really motivated to start next season already!”
“I couldn’t do a lot of laps today, but the ones that I did do I really enjoyed! I want to apologise to Pecco because he got the worst of the touch we had, so I’m sorry for him. After the contact I started to have some problems with the bike on the electronics side and it was impossible for me to finish the race. For sure we’ll find the problem and work on it for the future. It’s a pity I couldn’t get a good result today, I wanted to end on a high, but of course I’m still so happy to have won the title and to be able to celebrate tonight with the team and with Alex, who got third in the standings.”
The end result for Ducati was the constructors title with Jack Miller the future of the team and with the departure of Andrea Dovizioso who is taking a one year sabbatical and Danilo Petrucci moving over to the KTM manufacturer partnering Iker Lecuona. Miller has been incredible in 2020, finding himself and the comfort levels. No doubt there have been some frustrating circumstances and the garage walls a sound board for vocal concerns and gloves being thrown. The Australian rider wants more, he wants a MotoGP title and is definitely showcasing why the Ducati outfit suits him like a glove. We need more riders like Miller who push, are the thorn in the side of those wanting to be out front without pressure and carrying the country with excellent speed on track. He has the most important ingredients for success! We are sad to see Dovi depart, he is a really nice guy and has worked hard to put Ducati on the map after the last rider to do this was Australian rider Casey Stoner. The relationship at the end was broken although Dovi never gave up and still fought till the end even when the title was out of question. His ideas around the Ducati do not fit the future of the Italian manufacturer and he has decided to move on for now. Finally, smiley and full of life, Danilo Petrucci is making the jump to KTM with Pecco Bagnaia replacing him. It is going to be a very young Ducati squad where leadership is going to be required in order to direct the team after winning the constructors for the first time since 2007. There is everything to play for in 2021.
“I can never say thank you enough to the Pramac Racing team, for me it was a family, they made me grow as a rider and as a man. This podium is for them and for all the work they have done with me.”
"It certainly wasn't an easy race today starting from twelfth on the grid, but I'm happy because we managed to make a good comeback and finish ahead of some of our direct rivals in the Championship, reaching fourth place in the standings, which was our main goal. It was my last race with Ducati: in the last four years we have been able to do something extraordinary, and I never thought I would be so excited to see the joy that our results have been able to produce in our fans! It's the magic of our sport, and I'm happy to have experienced it! After these eight seasons, there have been wonderful relationships within my team, which I will surely miss very much!"
"I would have liked to have ended my adventure in Ducati with a better result, but unfortunately today was a tough race. I want to thank all the people who work in Ducati, first of all to my team, because during these six seasons on the Desmosedici GP bike I have been able to achieve several successes and two victories in MotoGP! I'm happy to have been part of Ducati in these six years of my career".
It was a superb season for Franco Morbidelli and PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team though a very challenging second half to the season for Fabio Quartararo. We have found out that Quartararo has employed a psychologist to help him deal with the demons of losing, crashing and the pressure of being a top class rider with team expectations. This is a great move and one we could also recommend to Maverick Vinales. The Yamaha scandal of cheating certainly hurt the Yamaha riders and Quartararo stopped believing in himself at some point because the crashed were regular, mistakes often and doubt clearly portrayed on his face. The French rider is super talented and really needs to find himself again without placing the entire blame on the bike. Regardless of whether Morbidelli was on an older chassis, Morbidelli after his near death experience on track, definitely fought for his place in the team and wanted the wins, podiums and even had a chance at winning the title. To finish second and have Quartararo further down the ladder is going to be a reminder for the young rider from Nice on what he needs to improve on for the next season. He is already training 24 hours after the Portimão race.
Franco Morbidelli:“I enjoyed today’s race quite a lot and this track is amazing, it’s so difficult but so nice to ride. We got the tyre choice right and I was impressed with the pace that we were able to maintain. Miguel [Oliveira] had something extra today and we weren’t able to follow him, so I just gave everything I had to try to pull away from the pack, although Jack [Miller] stayed with me. He was able to attack at the end and I couldn’t retaliate, so massive congratulations to both him and Miguel today. I’m happy that we finished the championship second; to be Vice MotoGP World Champion is something great. Of course my dream is something more than this, but I will remember today forever. I want to say a huge thanks to my team for helping me achieve this. I will work now to improve myself and see what next season brings.”
We had an issue with the holeshot device at the start, so I lost some positions, and then I suffered from arm pump for half of the race, which is really strange because since an operation I have never had that problem. It’s been quite an emotional last race for the team and unfortunately I couldn’t finish in the way that I wanted. I wanted to end the year with a great result. The feeling on the bike was good and I think we could have been fighting for P5 to P8 today, so it’s a shame that arm pump prevented that. We did win three races in 2020, but it is not enough and this season hasn’t ended how we wanted. These two years that I have spent with the team will always be in my heart though, because they gave me the opportunity to be in the MotoGP championship. Thanks a lot for all the support and hard work, I will visit them every time I can.”
We are sad to see Cal Crutchlow depart the sport from the full time grid. He is a man of laughs, wins, podiums, encouragement, a bromance with Miller, a loving father, husband and true icon for Britain. Sometimes unlucky, Crutchlow crashed and experienced some intense injuries, the one in Phillip Island, Australia not so long ago was a major one and this year, a botched arm pump surgery that caused him some serious grief. Crutchlow is hanging up the racing boots and putting on the testing boots. He has provided Honda with some incredible data and tested with passion, precision and will now hand those services over to Yamaha which is a strong move! Crutchlow has insight that is sure to please the Japanese manufacturer to overcome issues that have plagued them all year.
“First of all, I want to say thank you to my team for the last six years, we’ve had some incredible moments. This year obviously didn’t go to plan, but with the team that I’ve spent the most amount of time with in my career, it was nice to finish it with them. I gave my all this weekend, I topped a couple of the sessions, I went for it in the race, unfortunately I didn’t have the rear tyre under me to be able to continue to push at that pace, but I was glad to finish the race and glad to have the season over and my full-time career finished, which was the decision I took earlier in the year and am happy with. Now I look forward to watching from afar, obviously I’ll still be in a testing role next year, but I look forward to watching the MotoGP races in years to come. It’s going to be exciting, I’ll let these young guys take the reins and go for it and I wish them all the best.”
Finally, Valentino Rossi also known as the Doctor finishes up with the factory Yamaha team with also two incredible mechanics departing including our very own Australian talent Alex Briggs. It is a road of true iconic racing for both Briggs, Brent Stephens and Rossi. We are sad to see him depart alongside Brent Stephens who is from across the water, the incredible lands of New Zealand. Rossi is going to have a new crew, goals and will be racing alongside his talented Sky VR46 riders from his Academy and Moto2 teams. Let the new journey begin!
“This is an important moment, because this is the end of our long journey together. Our history, between me and the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP Team, is divided into two parts – almost like a good movie, I think.
The first part is from the beginning in 2004 to 2010. I think that was the best part of my career. We wrote history for Yamaha. We were able to win the championship for Yamaha after twenty-something years. I will always remember these achievements, for sure, because they are key moments in my career too.
But I’m also very proud of the second part. I want to say ‘Thanks’ again to Lin and all of Yamaha. They gave me a chance to come back to the Factory Team after two bad years with another factory, when I was already ‘getting old’ by MotoGP-standards, so I was desperate. I will never forget the moment when Lin told me I would have a chance to come back here. I’ll always be thankful for that moment, because maybe I could also have stopped riding at that time if I wasn’t able to come back here. My return to the Factory Yamaha team has lasted 8 years, so one year longer than the first part. The second part was a bit more difficult in terms of results, but we did come close to winning a championship at one point, which could have changed our story. But things happened the way they happened, and I’m still thankful for the support I got from Lin, Maio, and all the Japanese engineers. But especially I want to say ‘Thank you’ to my crew. We’ve been together for a long time. Bernie, Alex, Brent, Matteo, Mark, David, Idalio, and more. I also want to say thanks to the other guys from the team and the hospitality staff. And of course to my mate Maverick: we also had a good atmosphere with that side of the box, so I want to thank them too.
Next year I will still be riding a factory bike with full factory support, just in different colours. It’s true, I will not be sitting in the Yamaha Factory Racing garage, but I will be just next door – together with Matteo, Idalio, and David – so for sure we can still say hello.”
As the season comes to a close, who knows where things will be in 2021, who the dominant riders will be and how rookies will step up to the plate whilst Marc Marquez still recovers. We are yet to find out if 2021 is a Marquez season or if it moves to 2022 based on the analysis and extent of his injuries.Protect your Motorcycle. Call Shannons Insurance on 13 46 46 to get a quote today.