Roles Reversed – Pressure Now on Joan Mir & Fabio Quartararo for World Title!
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Roles Reversed – Pressure Now on Joan Mir & Fabio Quartararo for World Title!

By FORMULAMotoGPMag - 23 October 2020
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Author: Myanna Wedes

The second Aragon Grand Prix has arrived and the pressure is now on the shoulders of Joan Mir to perform as he leads the World Championship. We would not be surprised if the circuit becomes faster as a result of the rubber laid down and also the track familiarisation with the riders where they feel they have stronger points to advance past their competition. In contrast, you have Maverick Vinales wanting to hit better lines and very critical about his performance, whilst Fabio Quartararo feels there is not too much pressure and Joan Mir thinking about points. Mood is important for any rider and this will have a dramatic impact on how things play out for the weekends event. We will be watching closely Mir, Quartararo, Alex Rins, Andrea Dovizioso, Vinales and Alex Marquez because everything is up for grabs with so much opportunity available as a result of not having Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez on the grid.

Credit - (Joan Mir)

Joan Mir:

“Last weekend I felt I had more potential than third place, so in a way I was slightly disappointed, but I’m also glad that I was able to get another podium and take good points. Leading the championship is something really nice, but I’m not putting too much thought into it at the moment, I just want to ride my bike and do my best again this weekend and see where I end up. But for sure I’m aiming high."

Credit - (Fabio Quartararo)

Fabio Quartararo:

“We know that our one-lap pace is really good around MotorLand Aragón, which is quite important to be in a good position for the start of the race. However, for the race as a whole it is not that important and you need more than this. For this weekend we need to improve our rear grip, the consistency of our tyres and check that we found out the solution to the last race’s issue. Working with the team we have seen where we can improve, so we will work on this and see what happens this weekend. We have the potential to finish with a good result from this circuit.”

Last weekend was a real high for Rins who performed at his usual level of confidence, precision and also happiness. It has been a really challenging season for the Spanish rider with not only injury, also internal rivalry with his teammate Mir who has had less experience in the premier class. Right now, Rins has nothing to lose and everything to gain. He is only 36 points off the lead and right now in MotoGP, you have to finish every race almost at the front to guarantee a strong chance at holding up the trophy. The silver lining to Rins at this circuit is that it is less demanding on his physicality unlike tracks including Montmelo and Misano. The Suzuki machine has improved and will continue as Davide Brivio continues to work hard with the Japanese team to become a front runner in the top class of MotoGP racing. It is really nice to see as the riders unite like a family regardless of the victories and losses. They win and lose together.

Credit - (Alex Rins)

Alex Rins:

“Of course I would love to repeat my performance again this week, and for sure I will try! But it’s difficult and there are always many variables to think about. I need to improve my qualifying, because despite the fact that I was able to win when starting from 10th last week, it’s not easy to start far back and it gives you extra pressure and nerves. If I can qualify better I will feel more confident. But anyway, I’m really happy to ride here again for another home GP and I feel great after last weekend.”

If there is anyone who deserves an award for improving, it is Alex Marquez. The confidence he has gained over two race events is mind blowing. He has found his feet, the feeling of the Honda and working to achieve results that many would have thought was not achievable. The test and working with the bike has enabled Marquez to try new things and ultimately, they have worked. As a reference point, Marquez has been watching Taka’s style very closely and studying his lines like that of his brother Marc Marquez. Although, there is still room for improvement and if he consistently finishes in the top, it will be a real hard blow for the Repsol Honda Team as they are sending him to LCR Honda for 2021. Just when things start to get really good, teams make decisions that could ultimately see a drop in performance, especially with Pol Espargaro having to come in and learn the Honda machine after being on a KTM for such a long period of time.

Credit - (Alex Marquez)

Alex Marquez:

“I’m looking forward to riding again at Aragon after a strong weekend last time. We will really need to work hard to keep at the front because I think many other riders will be able to make a step, like I have done in the past, in the second race. The goal remains the same: to work on our plan and try to make another step in qualifying. We have now been able to get into Q2 but there’s still work to do. If we can continue in the way we have been going these past races I will be very happy.”

When it comes to wanting a World Champion so much, this applies to Vinales and Dovizioso. Both riders wear their emotions on their sleeves and faces. Both riders want to succeed and push the limits of their teams and bikes in order to reach those goals. Both riders have shown weaknesses this year with mistakes, emotions and succumbing to pressure. So will this weekend be the reset they need in order to catch Mir and Quartararo or will two experienced riders be outclassed by those who are more relaxed in their approach? It is going to be a race where hearts are broken and others are happy.

Credit - (Maverick Vinales)

Maverick Vinales:

“I’m quite satisfied with how we started and finished last week’s race. The opening lap and final laps were really good. Now we have to work on the middle part of the race. We are going to try again this weekend. We are going to focus on making the strong points of our bike stronger and I will again be concentrating on my riding style. Whenever we focus on these points we seem to do well – so that’s our plan. We have the same objectives as we had last week: we want to start from the front row, make a good start, and then we’ll see. We have nothing to lose in the championship, and we have a good mentality. It’s a strange and demanding season for everyone, but we are keeping our spirits high. This is a good track for me, and Valencia and Portimão should be good too. We know we can do a good job at these tracks, but we’re taking it one step at the time. First we are going to try to understand what we need to do to win here this weekend.”

Credit - (Andrea Dovizoso)

Andrea Dovizioso:

“Thanks to the experience we made in last Sunday’s race at MotorLand, I think that during the next race weekend we will be able to aim for better results. Now we have many data at our disposal that we can use to try to understand how to manage the tyre consumption well, which again it will be crucial during the race. We still have room for improvement, and if we work in the right direction, I am sure that we will be more competitive here. Let’s hope to find normal conditions in each session to be able to take full advantage of the track time available starting already on Friday to be ready on Sunday. There are 4 Grands Prix left, and we are not that far from our target. For sure, we won’t give up”.

As the weekend’s event unfolds, we wish Jack Miller a great race weekend with some up and down challenges on board the Ducati machine whilst Cal Crutchlow hopes to get through the race without any mechanical issues after a slipping clutch last weekend. As Marc Marquez continues his recuperation, we no doubt will see him go from strength to strength in 2021 whilst Rossi recovers from COVID-19 and Takaaki Nakagami signing a multi-year deal with Honda Racing Corporation to stay on with LCR Honda alongside Alex Marquez in 2021. This is great news for Japanese fans!

Takaaki Nakagami:

"I’m very happy to be able to continue racing for LCR Honda IDEMITSU in 2021 and beyond. I’m grateful to Honda for their generous support, allowing me to bring out my full potential this season. I will be doing my best to gain solid results for the remaining races, and build on that momentum next year. I’m aiming higher with Honda. I look forward to your continued support."

Credit -

With only two seats left to fill, do you think Crutchlow and Dovi will be in the sport next year?

Marc Marquez – Honda = 2024.

Pol Espargaro – Honda = 2022.

Jack Miller – Ducati = 2021.

Pecco Bagnaia – Ducati = 2021.

Maverick Vinales – Yamaha Monster Energy = 2021-2022.

Fabio Quartararo – Yamaha Monster Energy = 2021-2022.

Joan Mir – Team Suzuki Ecstar = 2021-2022.

Alex Rins Team Suzuki Ecstar = 2021-2022.

Brad Binder KTM Factory Racing = 2021.

Miguel Oliveira KTM Factory Racing = 2021.

Alex Espargaro Aprilia Gresini Racing = 2022.

Aprilia Gresini Racing Seat = Vacant.

Valentino Rossi - Petronas Yamaha SRT = 2021.

Franco Morbidelli - Petronas Yamaha SRT = 2021.

Alex Marquez - LCR Honda Castrol/Idemitsu = 2022.

Takaaki Nakagami - LCR Honda Castrol/Idemitsu = Multi-Year.

Johann Zarco – Pramac Racing = 2021.

Jorge Martin – Pramac Racing = 2021.

Danilo Petrucci - Red Bull KTM Tech3 = 2021.

Iker Lecuona - Red Bull KTM Tech3 = 2021.

Tito Rabat - Esponsorama Racing = 2021.

Enea Bastianini - Esponsorama Racing = Waiting For Announcement.

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