MotoGP 2020: The tough times seem to have passed – Vinales revels in Misano success

By Sports Desk September 20, 2020

Maverick Vinales believes the tough times may have passed for Monster Energy Yamaha after his victory at Misano on Sunday.

Vinales claimed his first MotoGP win of the season – and became the sixth different race winner of 2020 – in the second of back-to-back races at the Misano circuit.

It came in somewhat fortuitous fashion, with Vinales capitalising on Francesco Bagnaia's bad luck after the race leader crashed out with seven laps remaining.

The Yamaha rider had finished sixth after initially claiming pole last time out, though, and suggested Sunday's triumph may finally mark a turn in fortunes.

"I just want to say thank you to all the people supporting me from home. There have been tough times for me, the team, but it seems now they have passed," he told MotoGP's official website.

"An amazing job this weekend, we prepared really good. I was pushing a lot, trying to save a bit of tyre for the last 10 laps, and then I started to really push at the end of the race.

"I thought I was catching a little bit but after Francesco's mistake I just tried to focus on putting the wheels on the track, not crashing and getting the points.

"So fantastic. I'm very happy, my mentality is completely the same, we just found a little bit more. 

"I believe a lot in myself. I know what I'm able to do. We don't need to give up. For sure we've had difficult times, we've made many mistakes. I felt really strong today."

Suzuki Ecstar's Joan Mir climbed from 11th to finish second, ahead of Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha).

However, Quartararo was handed a three-second post-race penalty, meaning Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Tech3) clinched the final place on the podium.

"I wanted to enjoy the race. By the end I expected a little bit of a drop in the tyre but it came a little bit earlier," Espargaro told MotoGP's official website.

"I just wanted to keep Maverick near. I just tried to defend my position, and finally it came off, with the penalty to Fabio.

"I never surrender because these kind of things happen and today we were lucky."

Vinales' victory moves him up to joint-second – alongside Quartararo – in the drivers' standings, a point behind Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso.

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  • MotoGP 2020: Rins and Marquez revel in Aragon success as Mir rues bike issues MotoGP 2020: Rins and Marquez revel in Aragon success as Mir rues bike issues

    Alex Rins revelled in an "unbelievable" feeling after the Suzuki Ecstar rider clinched his first MotoGP win of the 2020 season on Sunday.

    Rins overtook Maverick Vinales with 16 laps remaining in the Aragon Grand Prix, and held off a brilliant charge from Alex Marques to claim victory.

    Joan Mir came in third, rising to the top of the world championship standings in the process, with Fabio Quartararo slipping from pole position to 18th place.

    "Incredible, unbelievable," Rins said of his win. "Since the start, I was so calm, I was thinking maybe it was a bad thing!

    "I had a good start, and then when I was behind Maverick I was thinking I had a bit more.

    "I tried to manage it, tried to manage the risk. This first position is for all the fans that always come here to Aragon, for all this amazing team and for my family, my friends, girlfriend, everybody."

    Marquez – the younger brother of six-time world champion Marc – claimed second for the second race running, though he may have snatched his maiden MotoGP triumph if not for a wobble on the final turn with three laps to go.

    The Spaniard was still thrilled with his display, however, saying: "Honestly I didn't expect to be on the podium, starting from P11.

    "I was trying my best from the beginning, in the end I was one of the riders who took a bit more care on the rear tire.

    "Work to do, all it would need was one mistake, but I'm happy to be on the podium for a second week in a row."

    Meanwhile, new championship leader Mir was left to rue some mechanical issues which he felt cost him a push for second on the final lap.

    "It feels amazing [to be top]," he said. "Going race by race, trying to be as consistent as I can.

    "I'm not really happy about today because I was struggling a lot on the last lap, we had some problems with the front of the bike on the last lap and I was not able to maintain the pace.

    "Disappointed about that but super happy to be on the podium."

  • MotoGP 2020: Rins, Mir capitalise on Quartararo horror show MotoGP 2020: Rins, Mir capitalise on Quartararo horror show

    Fabio Quartararo's grip on the MotoGP world championship lead slipped in dramatic fashion as he slumped from pole to 18th at the Aragon Grand Prix, which was won by Alex Rins.

    Suzuki Ecstar rider Rins took the lead from Maverick Vinales with 16 laps remaining and fended off a brilliant charge from Alex Marquez – who also finished second in France last time out – to clinch his first win of the season.

    Marquez was right on the wheel of Rins heading into the last three laps, but a wobble on the final corner handed Rins the chance to race away.

    Rins' team-mate Joan Mir claimed the remaining podium place, overtaking Quartararo at the top of the championship standings in the process.

    Quartararo mounted an amazing comeback in qualifying after he went down on his hip, returning to take a second successive pole ahead of Vinales.

    Yet the Frenchman, who had won all three races in Spain in 2020, swiftly found himself down in seventh as his Petronas Yamaha struggled for grip, and he could only watch on as Rins and fellow title contender Mir did the damage ahead before he slipped even further down the standings in a remarkable fall from grace.

    Rins made his move early, powering ahead of Vinales to take a lead he did not relinquish, and a Suzuki one-two looked likely when Mir moved second.

    Rookie driver Marquez, however, had other ideas, and showed qualities his older brother Marc will surely be proud of as he produced a stunning charge.

    Holding a 2.2-second lead over Vinales heading into the final six laps, Marquez sliced through Mir's line on the final turn.

    A late push for victory looked on for the 24-year-old, only for a skid and a wide turn going into the penultimate lap to cost him the chance of a maiden MotoGP triumph.

    With Vinales finishing fourth and Andrea Dovizioso taking seventh, just 15 points separate the four title contenders entering the final races of 2020.

     

    TOP 10 
    1. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)
    2. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.263s
    3. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +2.644s
    4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +3.911s
    5. Takaaki Nakagimi (LCR Honda) +4.570s
    6. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +4.756s
    7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +8.639s
    8. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) +8.913s
    9. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +9.390s
    10. Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) +9.617s

  • MotoGP: Starting grid and race preview for the Aragon Grand Prix MotoGP: Starting grid and race preview for the Aragon Grand Prix

    Fabio Quartararo recovered from another high-speed crash to give himself a great opportunity to extend his championship lead at the Aragon Grand Prix.

    Quartararo will start on pole at MotorLand on Sunday after an astonishing display of courage in qualifying, having suffered a heavy fall in the final practice session.

    The Frenchman was seen using a crutch in the paddock after going down on his hip at turn 14 on Saturday, but returned to the track to take a second successive pole ahead of Maverick Vinales, with Cal Crutchlow taking third.

    Quartararo has won all three races in Spain this year and with Joan Mir, 10 points behind the Petronas Yamaha rider in the riders' standings, only sixth, opportunity knocks for the leader.

    WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

    It was looking bleak for Quartararo when he was carried from the side of the track on a stretcher in FP3, yet he was given the all-clear after having an X-ray in the medical tent.

    The 21-year-old also crashed on Friday, but showed in qualifying he is a man on a mission in the battle for the title.

    A lap of one minute, 47.076 seconds gave him back-to-back poles, having started at the front at Le Mans last weekend before finishing back in ninth. 

    The wounded Quartararo just pipped Vinales in the final moments of qualifying, sending a big message to his rivals. Mir will still fancy his chances despite giving himself work to do, while Andrea Dovizioso was furious after failing to make it out of Q1.

    Dovizioso is just 18 points adrift of Quartararo, but that could be significantly bigger on Sunday, as he will start back in 13th on the grid.

    No Ducati riders made it through to Q2 automatically but Jack Miller was able to take fifth behind Franco Morbidelli, while Danilo Petrucci - winner of the French Grand Prix - qualified in eighth. 

     

    THE STARTING GRID

    1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha), 2. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha), 3. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda)
    4.  Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha), 5. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), 6. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar)
    7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda), 8. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati), 9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia)
    10. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar), 11. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda), 12. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
    13. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), 14. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), 15. Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) 
    16. Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing), 17. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), 18. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
    19. Bradley Smith (Aprilia), 20. Tito Rabat (Esponsorama Racing), 21. Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda)

     

    ARAGON GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

    Mir claimed Quartararo "lost the most" despite extending his lead by two points at the French Grand Prix last weekend. 

    Quartararo let his riding do the talking on Saturday and has another Spanish success in his sights, following victories in the Grand Prix of Spain, an Andalucia triumph and victory in Catalonia.

    What is certain is there will be a new winner of this race on Sunday, with Marc Marquez not fit to claim victory for the fifth year in a row.

    Casey Stoner was the last non-Spaniard to win the Aragon GP back in 2011 and Vinales will be hoping that trend continues.

    Dovizioso will surely not end the Spanish dominance and it would be a massive achievement if he avoids his longest run without a podium finish in the premier class since 2016.

    The Ducati rider has gone five races without finishing in the top three.

     

    WHAT THE RIDERS SAID

    Fabio Quartararo (pole): "As soon as I had the crash I wasn't sure if I could ride. Right now it's not that bad, but when I crashed I felt quite bad. I stood up and felt something was wrong, but I'm so happy because it was a tough morning."

    Maverick Vinales (2nd): "I'm very happy and honestly couldn't have asked for much more. I felt incredible, which is the most important thing, and tomorrow we'll try to improve a little bit more and hopefully have more consistency."

    Cal Crutchlow (3rd): It's nice to come here and get a front row, I was so close in Le Mans. The team has been done a great job, we've been working hard and seem to have made a small step in every session.

     

    CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

    Riders
    1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 115
    2. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 105
    3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 97
    4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 96
    5. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) 81

    Teams
    1. Petronas Yamaha 192
    2. Suzuki Ecstar 165
    3. Ducati 161
    4. Monster Energy Yamaha 154
    5. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 135

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