Jack Miller and Taka Nakagami on those incidents..

2020 MotoGP Round 12 – Aragon

Boy were there some ups and downs, cheers and tears….

Jack Miller – DNF

“So that was short, wasn’t it? I mean, it’s hard to say much when your race lasts nine seconds… I made a decent start, passed about three blokes into Turn 1, then the next thing I knew I was on the floor at Turn 2. It happened so fast, I was on the gas, and then I was in the dirt after getting a whack from behind. I looked up and saw it was Brad (Binder), who’s a guy I like, and I just threw my hands up – “what the f**k Brad?!” But, you know, it happens. He said it happened so fast for him that the first he knew about it was when we were laying in the gravel, so he was about as surprised as I was.

Brad Binder skittled Jack Miller in turn one

“It wasn’t like he meant it, and believe me, we’ve all been there. Today it was his turn. Nobody’s fault – it’s just how racing goes sometimes. Sometimes you get hit, sometimes you’re the one who does it to someone else. I’d probably be more pissed off if I had a great result taken from me but when you qualify 14th like I did, then this is what can happen in the first few corners. Was a good old whack too, I’m pretty thankful that I feel OK now because both shoulders and knees copped it and the seat was basically destroyed, so I was pretty happy to walk away. And it wasn’t like I had an amazing result taken from me, based on how things had gone all weekend.

MotoGP riders head towards turn one, some didn’t come out the other side…

“All day Saturday I was losing grip coming into the corners, the last corner especially, and I was still pretty much scratching my head after qualifying. In the long left-handers like the last corner, the others just seemed to have way more grip than I had at any stage on corner entry. I was a bit surprised that we hadn’t made much progress since we were here a week ago, I felt I was riding at the limit, but clearly that limit wasn’t good enough. I just didn’t have any feeling whatsoever. It obviously wasn’t going to be easy from that far back on the grid, so I guess we had to cross our fingers and hope for something magical on Sunday. I didn’t see much happening to be honest … turns out I was right about something this weekend. That’s three DNF’s in the last five – a tear-off in the airbox in Misano, the engine problem in Le Mans and then this. Not a lot I could do about any of them really.

“Speed-wise, we just didn’t have it here – last weekend was pretty average but it was good compared to this one. I was quietly confident that I could do something in the race and I went for the medium tyres again like last week, hoping I could just be calm in the first few laps and then pick a few blokes off as the race wound down. I was hardly on podium pace or anything but there were some top-10 points for me. The plan was to be there at the end, not on my arse in two corners. But it is what it is.

Jack Miller

“As for the championship, we have three races to go now and it’s probably (Joan) Mir’s to lose. I mean, he’s just super consistent and to get third from 12th on the grid on a day when the others like Fabio (Quartararo), Mav (Maverick Vinales) and ‘Dovi’ (Andrea Dovizioso) struggled again … you’ve got to hand it to him. He’s just doing what he needs to do, and the others are making all of the mistakes. He’s not won a race yet and some people are trying to say he needs to win one if he’s to be considered a proper champion if he takes it out, but I don’t agree, it doesn’t devalue it at all. He’s playing it the right way so far, so fair play to him.

“Anyway, that’s a lot of talking for a race that I could have summed up in one sentence! I’m pretty glad Aragon is over, and I’d like to go home thanks … I’m looking forward to get out of here, and to finish my time with the Pramac guys better than this in the last three races. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks to give it a crack in Valencia.”

Brad Binder – DNF

“I had quite an ‘OK’ start and as I went up the inside of Turn1 I then changed direction like a regular lap and got bunched up. It was a big mistake on my behalf and I’m so sorry to wipe out Jack’s race. I want to apologise not only to my team but also to his. We’ll have to restart and go again in Valencia.”

Takaaki Nakagami – DNF

“First of all, I want to say sorry to all of my team because this weekend all of the sessions we were really competitive and were ready to get a great result on Sunday. But unfortunately I had a small mistake on the first lap which was after the start and I’m very disappointed to end up in the gravel. Now I’m very disappointed how it finished, but we’ll try to be positive as all the weekend we were so fast which showed that our potential is there. Anyway, we’ll try to keep focused on our job in Valencia where there are more back-to-back races. We’ll be strong and try to have a good weekend there and a big thank you to all my fans who support me.”

Taka Nakagami led up to exactly about this point….

Franco Morbidelli – P1

“I am very happy with this win; it feels a little bit different to when I won in Misano. It comes from the hard work that the crew has put in; they have done an unbelievable job and worked so well together to get this win. The bike was perfect during the race, I was feeling great and I just had to focus on getting the bike to the finish line in the shortest, fastest, time possible. This victory is for them, for my crew. Without their work it would not have been possible. So thank you. Now we are just 25 points from being at the top of the championship standings, which means that it is time to go super aggressive into the final three races of this year.”

Franco Morbidelli
Alex Rins – P2

“Obviously I was hoping to win again today, but another podium is an awesome feeling anyway. It was really hard to do battle with Franco today, he was very strong and he got a good start. I was happy with my tyre choice but I did feel a little bit of drop part way through the race, I knew that I had a decent gap on Joan so I kept things smooth and went for second place. I was really happy to see Joan there in third because it means another great day for Suzuki with both of us on the podium again! Joan is so consistent, but I’m also feeling better every race so let’s see what can happen in the next few races. Anyway, I’m really pleased to be on the podium again at MotorLand!”

Gran Premio Liqui Moly de Teruel
Joan Mir – P3

“My feeling was good today, but on the last laps today I wasn’t able to make up the difference – I had the same speed as Alex and Franco but I couldn’t manage to go quicker to close the gap. That was a bit of a shame, but it’s always hard to start further back on the grid and I lost some time while overtaking other riders. But anyway, I’m glad to have been able to collect points today and I’m satisfied because my target was the podium; I knew that was needed to keep a hold on the championship lead, so I’m happy that I achieved that. I will be giving my best in the next three races.”

Gran Premio Liqui Moly de Teruel
Pol Espargaro – P4

“Much happier than last week, a super-different race. The position was better from the grid and the beginning of the race – even if we can still improve this – and the pace was nice. I still didn’t have ideal rear edge grip but I could change direction with confidence and gain where the bike was good. I could overtake and I really enjoyed the race: when that happens the result comes. 4th feels good and I believe it was well-deserved for all the work we did as a team this weekend.”

Pol Espargaro had to work hard for his P4
Miguel Oliveira – P6

“I’m happy. I felt I could have been a bit more in front, at least in fifth place, but it was quite hard for me to overtake. I felt strong, competitive and I think it was a great comeback from last weekend. It was a consistent and very good weekend for us with eighth place on the grid and sixth place in the race, so I think we did our job. We need to take this as a positive and carry it on to the last three races in November.”

Miguel Oliveira chasing Fabio Quartararo
Maverick Vinales – P7

“I‘m sure that for us the soft-soft tyre option was the right one. We saw in the last race that Fabio chose the medium front and the pressure was too high, so he lost a lot of positions. We preferred to ride with the soft tyre which was, let‘s say, ’the safer option‘. With the soft tyre I can normally ride really well, so I thought for me this wouldn‘t be a problem, except today I had no grip on the tyres, only in the first three laps. Then I had a big drop in both tyres and chatter, so I couldn‘t do anything. We need to face facts. Today it is what it is. The only positive is that we aimed to finish in front of Fabio, the top Yamaha in the standings, and we did this. We‘re going to try to do better in Valencia and learn from the things we did wrong during this race. For sure, this result is far from our potential, and we need to understand it so we can put the best version of our bike on the track.”

Maverick Vinales
Fabio Quartararo – P8

“Really I wanted a bit more from the race today, as we found something this morning that improved the bike, but it didn’t help as much as we thought it would in the race. The feeling was not great but we scored some points today and we actually had a fairly good race, I was able to fight and defend my position. We will try to be faster in the next race at Valencia, which is a track that I like and I had a great feeling there last year. Also we don’t seem to suffer tyre drop off there, like we have done here. There are three races left this year and we know how fast we can be, so I might not be so happy with the result today, but I know we have some good opportunities coming and I’m looking forward to being there.”

Fabio Quartararo
Iker Lecuona – P9

“Obviously I’m very happy about today. In the first laps of the race I was fighting a lot with many riders and I also made some mistakes, so I lost contact to the big group ahead of me. But lap by lap, I tried to recover and tenth by tenth I finally caught them again. I felt really strong and I have the feeling that I could have even finished further in front. Eventually I was ninth again, which equals my best result, so it’s a decent one.”

Gran Premio Liqui Moly de Teruel
Danilo Petrucci – P10

“It was a pretty uphill race, considering that we started way back. Fortunately, this morning we were able to find a good setup that partly solved our problems. I tried to manage the tyres well in the first laps, and towards the end of the race, I was able to do some overtakes. Unfortunately, we still suffer the lack of speed in the straights, but in general, the feeling with the bike has improved. Today our goal was to finish in the top ten, and we succeeded also taking important points for the standings”.

Danilo Petrucci chasing Stefan Bradl
Cal Crutchlow – P11

“Today wasn’t a good day, finishing outside the top 10. Our main issue was the rear tyre, we chose a soft rear tyre and had great grip at the start of the race, but when I got passed, it became quite apparent that on the exit of a corner that my competitors had a lot more rear grip and I was unable to continue to improve and be fast.”

Cal Crutchlow
Stefan Bradl – P12

“It can always be a little bit better, but I am happy with this result as we have improved compared to last week, so this is a positive. We want to continue on this trajectory and today shows we are making progress. The start was a bit difficult but after that I was able to fight, maybe I was fighting a bit too much in the opening laps, then I relaxed and was able to catch the factory Ducatis. The speed was good overall, a strong weekend.”

Stefan Bradl battling with Petrucci
Andrea Dovizioso – P13

“We knew it was going to be a tough race and unfortunately, my feelings with the bike weren’t good. We didn’t have the speed to recover, and at the end, the soft tyre had a major drop, which prevented me from riding as I would have wanted. I struggled a lot and, especially in the last laps, I was also struggling with arm pump. Now we have to try to move on and start focusing already on the next three races that we have left.”

Andrea Dovizioso
Bradley Smith – P15

“The race began well. I stayed with Petrucci and we were making up ground on the group. My speed in the early laps was good and my tenth place on the list of fast laps proves that, but then, with the tyre deterioration, we were unable to maintain the pace. We know that this is one of our weak points and I hope that the data collected in these races will help the guys at Aprilia to improve the 2021 project. It’s frustrating to always run into the same difficulties, but we won’t give up. Down to the final race, we’ll work hard to improve.”

Bradley Smith and Tito Rabat
Alex Marquez – DNF

“It was completely my mistake; I lost some time with Zarco and Mir was escaping and I was probably pushing too hard to catch him. I was thinking about the podium a bit too much today because I really think we had the pace, but we need to remember to always be patient. It was another rookie mistake but we should be proud of the weekend and these three races in a row overall. Two podiums and a strong weekend here fighting. We have made good progress but stay realistic, be calm and see what our target is. I want to say thank you again to the Repsol Honda Team for their work.”

Alex Marquez was looking very strong and certain for a podium before going down
Aleix Espargaro – DNF

“I have to be satisfied with my overall performance this weekend. We greatly improved the setup compared to last week. Yesterday in qualifying, I was extremely fast and today in the race I also gave it my all. I made some good passes with a top-5 pace and a few laps from the end I had easily caught up with Quartararo and Viñales. Just as I was about to attack Fabio, the engine stopped and there was nothing I could do. It’s a hard pill to swallow but, as I said, I am satisfied with the work done here in Aragón.”

Aleix Espargaro
Pecco Bagnaia – DNF

“Today in race from lap two I felt an engine power drop and I was forced to stop at the pit on lap four. Analyzing the data we saw that there was a technical problem, regardless of this I have nothing more to say after two very difficult weekends. I hope to get to Valencia and find my way back.”

Team Managers

Razlan Razali – Petronas SRT Team Principal

“That was a really strong race from Franco! I am so happy for him and also for the team, who did an amazing job as well. He is now back in contention for the world championship, with just three rounds to go and only 25 points shy of the leader. The bike looks good and he looks comfortable on it; we are very happy that he’s achieved his second MotoGP victory.  We need to analyse Fabio’s race and see how we can improve, but other riders also had the same problems that we did. We need to all sit down and see how we can make it better for the final three races. He is only 14 points off the leader in the championship and there are still plenty of points on offer in the next races. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this final triple-header of the year will play out.”

Franco Morbidelli
Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager

“This weekend we are feeling very happy and satisfied because both riders took the podium again. It would have been nice to see Alex get a double win, but second is still great. Joan also did a really strong job to get third place and continue his lead of the championship. It’s fantastic to see both our riders up on the podium and also leading the Teams’ Championship. One thing that has helped us in these last couple of races is the riders’ great starts, our ability to conserve tyres, and our consistent lap times. I would say these three things have been the key to our success. Thank you to all the Suzuki team.”

Two Suzukis on the podium once again
Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager

“It’s been another great day, and I want to congratulate Alex and Joan again for their great results. Franco Morbidelli did a very good race, so congratulations also to him. Alex was right there from the start, but he couldn’t quite battle Franco for the win, but this second place is fantastic and brings him closer to the top of the championship. Joan was brilliant today, he started from 12th but he recovered really well to take another podium and he did exactly what he needed to do. Having both riders on the podium today is a wonderful feeling, and we’ll give our best to continue this trend. Thank you very much to all the Suzuki staff, those working from home and everybody here at the circuit; these great results also belong to them.”

Two Suzuki men on the podium again and Mir extended his championship lead
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager

“After a tough weekend last week we had quite a big plan to change our bike strategy for this race. On Friday all four riders were trying things and that gave us quite a good base for the second race weekend, so thanks to the teams for all their work. Three KTMs in the top ten is a good result. Pol, Miguel and Iker made a great race pace and were able to fight for positions, which was nice to see. We’ll head to Valencia and try to make another good event.”

Hervé Poncharal – Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Manager

“A much better weekend for Red Bull KTM Tech3 here in Aragón compared to the previous week, where we were honestly struggling a bit. It’s good to finish with our two riders inside the top 9. I think together with KTM we improved our package a lot, which is very interesting. Honestly, I can’t hide that I’m a little bit disappointed because Miguel was having an incredible pace. He was the fastest in the last part of the race, as soon as he was on his own, but we lost a bit of time passing some other riders and the last fight we lost with Johann (Zarco) was not something I enjoyed a lot, but we have to take the positives. As I always say, let’s see the glass half full. Miguel is sixth, Iker is ninth, strong points for both in the Championship. We’ve been fighting with almost every other manufacturer and I think we got a really strong package, which is great news. Anyway, thanks and congratulations to both, Miguel and Iker. Thanks to the team for their hard work and as usual after three weeks back to back, let’s take a few days rest and hopefully the next and the last triple races of the 2020 World Championship will be on the same level than the race we had today.”

Morbidelli leading early on
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director

“We expected a totally different race. This has happened to us many times. We face problems on a Sunday that we didn’t have on the Friday and Saturday. Now it’s very difficult to give our verdict about what happened. We need time to check the data before we make any statements. Frankly speaking, we chose the tyre option that gave us the best performance, which was the soft-soft, thinking we would be able to exploit the grip these tyres provide. We thought we would be fighting for the podium today. We don’t know yet why Maverick didn’t feel like he had any grip from the beginning to the end. One thing we can exclude from the list of potential reasons is the Moto2 rubber on track, because this time we raced before them. Naturally, we’re not happy at all about this race. We will try to transform this disappointment into extra drive to get a good result at the upcoming GP in Valencia.”

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager

“This has been a very rewarding and positive weekend. The weather was much better and with the extra rubber on the track from last week, plus less wind, it gave much better conditions for all. The increases in temperature meant that all the specifications were tried this weekend, with only the hard rear going unused in the race. Race time was much improved on last week and we also saw a new lap record in the race, so obviously we are pleased with that as this is a very difficult track that offers little grip because it is now getting quite old. We saw some very interesting battles in the race and many riders had the confidence to push as it wore on, demonstrating the increased durability, consistency and performance we have incorporated in this year’s rear tyre. We now head to the last three races of the season with the title still wide open, which is great for the show and we will be looking to go out in style, firstly at a circuit we know well at Valencia and then a totally new track in Portugal, which will be a challenge, but one we are looking forward to after such a strange season.”

Franco Morbidelli

MotoGP Race Results

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 41m47.652
2 Alex RINS Suzuki +2.205
3 Joan MIR Suzuki +5.376
4 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +10.299
5 Johann ZARCO Ducati +12.915
6 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +12.953
7 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +14.262
8 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha +14.72
9 Iker LECUONA KTM +17.177
10 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +19.519
11 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +19.708
12 Stefan BRADL Honda +20.591
13 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +22.222
14 Tito RABAT Ducati +26.496
15 Bradley SMITH Aprilia +31.816
Not Classified
Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 3 Laps
Alex MARQUEZ Honda 10 Laps
Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 18 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 0 Lap
Jack MILLER Ducati 0 Lap

MotoGP World Championship Standings

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Joan MIR Suzuki 137
2 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 123
3 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 118
4 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 112
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 109
6 Alex RINS Suzuki 105
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 92
9 Jack MILLER Ducati 82
10 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 79
11 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 71
12 Brad BINDER KTM 67
13 Alex MARQUEZ Honda 67
14 Johann ZARCO Ducati 64
15 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 58
16 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 42
17 Iker LECUONA KTM 27
18 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 27
19 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 26
20 Stefan BRADL Honda 12
21 Bradley SMITH Aprilia 12
22 Tito RABAT Ducati 10
23 Michele PIRRO Ducati 4

2020 MotoGP Calendar

Rnd Date Circuit
1 08 March (Moto2/Moto3) Losail International Circuit
2 19 July Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto
3 26 July Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto
4 09 August Automotodrom Brno
5 16 August Red Bull Ring-Spielberg
6 23 August Red Bull Ring-Spielberg
7 13 September Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
8 20 September Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
9 27 September Barcelona – Catalunya
10 11 October Le Mans
11 18 October MotorLand Aragón
12 25 October MotorLand Aragón
13 08 November Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo
14 15 November Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo
15 22 November Autodromo Internacional do Algarve

Source: MCNews.com.au

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