MotoGP Riders and Team Managers reflect on Valencia GP II

2020 MotoGP Round 14 – Valencia

It was decided by less than a tenth but it’s Morbidelli who comes out on top, gloves off to take his third win of the year and move up to second in the standings. Miller was forced to settle for second in the end, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) once again completing the podium. This is what the riders and team managers had to say in the post race interviews.

2020 Valencia II MotoGP podium
1. Franco Morbidelli* – Petronas Yamaha SRT – Yamaha 41:22.478
2. Jack Miller* -Pramac Racing – Ducati +0.093
3. Pol Espargaro -Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – KTM +3.006

MotoGP Rider Quotes

Franco Morbidelli
Franco Morbidelli – P1

“It was the best victory of the year, maybe even the best one of my life! It was a complicated race: I felt that we had good potential all weekend, but then we opted for the hard front tyre in the race and I had to change my riding style slightly. I couldn’t pull away from Jack [Miller] like I wanted to, despite trying so hard, and I knew that he would be a strong competitor if he got close to me. It was all about giving more than you have on the last lap and that’s what both of us did. We had a really nice, clean fight. I’ve always liked battling Jack because he is tough but clean in his battles, and he was strong today so congratulations to him. I am so happy with the win today so thank you to the team as well. I also want to say congratulations to Joan [Mir] for winning the title this year; he has been a really strong competitor this year.”

Franco Morbidelli – Race winner
Jack Miller – P2

“That was so, so close … when you get beaten in a MotoGP race by about five metres after 27 laps you’d think I’d be disappointed or even a bit angry, but definitely not today. That was great fun out there, I did everything I could, and I got a great result. Less than a tenth of a second from it being a greater one, but Franky (Morbidelli) was faultless and you have to hand it to him. But finishing second and having as much fun as I did, that’s a good Sunday for me. Hope you guys enjoyed it too.

Morbidelli and Miller

“It was a fantastic last-lap battle with Franky, you really enjoy fights like that and even more on a tight track like Valencia is. Battling with these big bikes when it’s that tight, just unreal. It was like a Moto3 race! Imagine how the crowd would have gone off if we’d had fans in the stands … it was about the one thing that was a shame today. I gave it my all, fought as hard as I could, gave as good as I got and just missed out. No regrets because I gave it everything. Full respect to Franky too because it was a clean and sporting fight, nothing dirty or unfair, and that’s how it should be when the stakes are as high as that. 

Morbidelli and Miller

“I went for the medium tyres here this week after running the hards last week, and I figured that it was the second race at the same track, I’m in a good position on the grid on the front row, so why not go for it? What did I have to lose, really? I had a sneaky feeling it would go alright. I thought they’d last well but the tyre life even surprised me, and to set the fastest lap of the race – that’s only the second time I’ve ever done that in my MotoGP career – with a single-digit number of laps left on the lap board was a nice surprise. 

Morbidelli and Miller

“The race, once I held my second position after the first lap, I had this mega plan in my head that it was going to be 20 laps managing the tyres and then seven laps hunting down Franky. The grand plan was to sail past him on the front straight on the last lap and then ‘sorry Franky, see you later’ … I got that bit right, but I couldn’t get the bike stopped into Turn 1 with the tailwind we had today. And so then we had a nice little battle – him back in front at Turn 2, then me at Turn 4, then him at Turn 5 … he got the better of me there and he had all of the other options covered for the rest of the lap, and I tried all of them! I went the Hail Mary option on the last corner, squared it off and hoped the Ducati power would do the rest, but then I got a drift as I cranked the power back on, and that was that. But it was an awesome weekend for me and I absolutely love riding here, so it was a lot of fun. Just wasn’t to be today, but it was a fun Sunday anyway. 

“As well as praising Franky, I have to say a massive congratulations to Joan (Mir) and the whole Suzuki team for winning the championship, they completely deserve it and it’s awesome to see. He’s been the cream of the crop most of the year, and he’s kept his head screwed on and done the business. Full credit to him. I like an underdog story, and him winning the championship, that definitely counts as one of those. He’s dealt with all the hype better than anyone, and he fully deserves everything he gets.

Joan Miller congratuled by Jack Miller

“So all of a sudden it’s one race to go, the year’s gone really fast and it’s pretty crazy to think we’d not even started the season in July, and now we’re off to Portugal for the last race next weekend. My last race with the Pramac boys too, so it’ll be good to sign off on three seasons with these guys with another strong result, that’d be a perfect way to finish a really big three years of my life for me here. I’ve only done a few laps of Portimao on a road bike just before Le Mans this year and it’s a pretty interesting place, we don’t go anywhere that’s as up and down as that track is so it’ll be a good challenge just keeping that front wheel down over all those crests! And then it’ll be time to come home which is something to look forward to, for sure.”

Pol Espargaro – P3

“That was fantastic. I’m super-happy. We didn’t expect the podium this weekend. We felt that we deserved it but Nakagami was pushing me hard until he crashed. We were great from the beginning until the end and I was on the limit with the pace I could make. No mistakes. We’re again on the podium – the fifth of the season – unbelievable.”

Valencia MotoGP
Alex Rins – P4

“In the end, I wasn’t able to get the title, but I’m so happy for Joan and all of Team Suzuki! It’s incredible that he won the championship in only his second year, and the entire team have worked so hard to achieve this. So the feeling is amazing, even for me. Today Franco had a very strong pace and the best I could do was 4th, but I’m still fighting to get second place in the standings, so I’m happy with the result. I’m hoping to finish the season on a high when we go to Portimao!”

Valencia MotoGP
Brad Binder – P5

“Today was a positive race for us. I didn’t get the best of starts but I managed to find good pace, pass a few guys and work my way towards the front. I gave my absolute best today and unfortunately it was not enough to get us into that podium fight. Overall, I’m happy with how we have made steps this weekend; from Friday through to the race. We have a lot of learning to do still but we’re looking forward to Portimao already. Thanks to the team and everyone for their hard work. We’ll push again next week.”

Miguel Oliveira – P6

“I’m happy about the race. My start was really good again, although I found it a little bit more difficult to keep the pace in the middle of the race. I couldn’t find good grip and basically I wasn’t able to stay close to the top five. Anyway, this is, what we take home and now we go to the home GP. I’m very excited. I hope we can have fun in the final race.”

Joan Mir – P7

“World Champion? It sounds amazing! It’s really hard to find the words at the moment, but I must say thank you to so many people; to Suzuki for this opportunity, I’m so happy to give them a title! To be the person who brings them another crown after 20 years is an unbelievable feeling and a true honour. The entire team did an incredible job, and I’m just so overjoyed with this championship win. I’ve come a long way since being a child with hardly any money to go racing, and my family are to thank for this. I worked very hard to get to the top and this reward is amazing. Today’s race wasn’t easy, but I got the result I needed and I hope to have a great end in Portimao. It’s time to celebrate but we must do it responsibly.”

Andrea Dovizioso – P8

“I am quite satisfied with today’s result, considering that I started from seventeenth on the grid. Today we could have done more, seeing that Jack Miller was able to bring his Ducati on the podium, but unfortunately in the final laps, I had a problem with the left handlebar, and I couldn’t ride as I wanted. I’m disappointed, because now the fight for the remaining positions on the championship rostrum becomes more difficult, but there’s still one race left, and we’ll fight till the end. I want to congratulate Joan Mir on winning his first MotoGP World Title because he 100% deserved it!”

Andrea Dovizioso and Aleix Espargaro
Aleix Espargaro – P9

“A top-10 finish today is definitely a good result, especially because we were ahead of fast and very competitive riders. However, I must be honest and say that I expected more. During practice I am able to do good laps and in qualifying, risking a lot, I can take the RS-GP close to the leaders, but over race distance, it is more difficult to stay consistently at the limit. In the early laps I also lost a few tenths because, mindful of my crash in the last race, I managed a bit without risking. In any case, this is clearly the right direction for me and for Aprilia.”

Maverick Vinales – P10

“The start was difficult, but I tried to concentrate, get the rhythm, and be better. Somehow I never really got that feeling that I had some races ago. But I did the maximum I could in the race, and now all we can do as a team is to try to understand what we can improve for the final round. The next race we ride in Portimão, which is a track I like, and we will try to go fast. We hope to have a bit more grip there so we can get a better result. I want to say congratulations to Joan. He is a deserving winner of this year’s title.”

Maverick Vinales
Pecco Bagnaia – P11

“It was not the race I expected. Until this morning we were strong and competitive, we had a good pace – we had everything working for us to do a good race. Today was essential for me to finish the race today after not finishing the last 3 consecutive races, but we were in trouble and we did not expect it. The only “salvation” was to put the hard tire at the front to compensate as much as possible the lack of grip at the rear.”

Pecco Bagnaia
Valentino Rossi – P12 

“At this level, coming back strong is something you have to do step-by-step. I needed this race, because last week I did just four laps. I had six consecutive zero-point results because of mistakes, a problem with the bike, and Covid-19. We know that here it’s difficult for me, because this is my worst track in my whole career. We tried everything. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a lot of grip, but in the end we finished the race. I wasn’t fast enough, but I was consistent all the way to the end, and also physically I feel good. This is important. Now we hope we can feel better with the bike and the tyres in Portimão next week. We will try to be more competitive. I think Mir deserves this championship. He is mature for his age and doesn’t make mistakes in crucial moments, so congratulations to him.”

Cal Crutchlow – P13

“It was a tough race today. I got a fantastic start, but unfortunately got moved out into the first corner on to the outside of the track where it seems I hit some water that was off the track and I lost six positions, so I was disappointed to lose that and not be able to come through straightaway. I made some good passes and got up to not a bad group and not a bad battle, but unfortunately today I had a really bad feeling with the front tyre. It was not too hot, it was not over-pressured in any way, it was just the grip on the hard front tyre was not there today. I tried my best, it was a difficult weekend for us and the team and now we go to Portimao and we’ll see how we get on there.”

Stefan Bradl – P14

“It was not a bad race considering our starting position. Here in Valencia is one of the trickier circuits to overtake so I was really having to fight with Petrucci and Alex to get past. My speed overall wasn’t so bad but it was a trickier race than some of the previous ones. From my side I’m content, we achieved our target of more points and none of them were gifted. Now we have a test and then the final race of the year, a busy end to a busy year but we keep working and pushing.”

Danilo Petrucci – P15

“It has been a rather tough race. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make up positions at the start, and immediately after a few laps, I started to have problems with the left grip. Controlling the bike had become really difficult, but fortunately, I was able to stay focused and complete the race finishing in the points. Congratulations to Joan Mir for winning the World Title: he is a quiet and very strong guy, and I think he absolutely deserved this success”.

Danilo Petrucci and Stefan Bradl
Alex Marquez – P16

“The problem today was that I had no power in my wrist, it was a tough race but we had to finish the race after two DNFs. It was about building confidence and preparing for Portimao. I’m happy to have finished the race, I think our result isn’t too bad considering the fall yesterday. Now the objective is to recover as much as possible for the last weekend of the year and finish my rookie season off. I want to congratulate Mir as well, we were team-mates in 2018 in Moto2 and has had a very consistent season – a deserving champion.”

Tito Rabat – P17

“I felt very good, I had a good start and I stayed with the group for several laps.  Then I don’t know why but I haven’t been able to keep up with them.  We have finished the race, adding kilometers and in Portimao we will give our best as always.”

Lorenzo Savadori – P18

“More miles and more information gathered, which I hope will help us for the final race in Portimão. If we look at my pace, I almost made up the entire gap that developed in the early stages. Apparently I am still lacking the right confidence with a full tank to push straight away like the others do. In any case, I am still satisfied. Without knowing the bike and track, I was able to improve every time I went out. A week from now I expect to take another step forward.”

Takaaki Nakagami – DNF

“I am speechless, I’m disappointed about how it ended. I gave my best from the beginning and, as you see, I made a little mistake in the last corner when I tried to overtake Pol (Espargaro) who was in P3. I cannot say anything because I tried to the maximum and I lost the front. I want to apologise to all my team and I’ll try to be positive for the next race in Portimao. I’m happy about my performance all weekend and that is really important, as you can see we were there in every session. Now we have to be strong and look forward to the next race in Portimao.”

Fabio Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo – DNF

“Unfortunately I couldn’t do anything today to take the championship fight to the final race. We just didn’t have the pace. I was pushing with more than what I had today and that was why I made some mistakes. P10 might have been possible today, but I wanted more than that and instead I made those mistakes. We have had some good points this year and we have positives going into the future, but right now it’s tough to accept that we haven’t won this year. It’s true that we could have done better, but it’s easy to say that now. Also Joan [Mir] has been very strong and very consistent, so he deserves this championship and my congratulations go to him. I hope that we can finish this season in a good way at the final race in Portimäo.”

Fabio Quartararo
Johann Zarco – DNF

“Disappointed with the crash, it was at the beginning of the race when I was not pushing to the maximum, the front wheel closed and I couldn’t avoid it.  This weekend I have been competitive in every training session and I was hoping to have a good race.  I felt very strong, I believed that the podium could today but we will try it in the last race of the year.

Team Managers

Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager

“First of all, I have to say a big congratulations to Joan! This season has been very difficult, not only because of the strength of all the competitors but also because of the global situation with Covid-19. Alex has also had a good day and helped us to get the Teams’ Championship, another great achievement! Thank you to everyone who has been fighting with us to make this season a special one, especially to all our staff, sponsors, and fans. I’m very happy, finally we’ve achieved our biggest dream.”

Suzuki MotoGP World Champions
Davide Brivio – Team Manager

“It’s an unbelievable feeling, we could not have hoped for more! To win the title this year, when it’s Suzuki’s 100th anniversary and the 60th year in racing, and also 20 years since the last title – in my wildest dreams I couldn’t imagine something as good as this, it’s truly great. Huge congratulations must go to Joan, he was so consistent and professional throughout. Alex also did a really good job today to get decent points and 4th place. Finally I must thank all the staff – whether at home, in Japan, or here at the circuit – they’ve all worked incredibly hard for this. Thank you so much for everything.”

Joan Mir | 2020 MotoGP World Champion – Team Suzuki
Razlan Razali – Petronas SRT Yamaha Team Principal

“It was really good to see Franco take his third win of the MotoGP season, especially in a race where he was strong until the end and we had a very nerve-wracking final lap. It has given us a real boost today. On the other side of the garage, it was unfortunate that Fabio crashed out. Hopefully he will be able to finish the year with a good result in the final race next weekend. As a team, we are really happy to celebrate our second Independent Team title in only our second year in the Championship. Congratulations to all the team members, partners and fans. It has been a tough MotoGP championship this year and we tried to take it all the way to the final race, but unfortunately we weren’t able to do so. I want to congratulate Suzuki and Joan Mir on winning the championship today; they have done a fantastic job together this year.”

Petronas SRT Yamaha
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager

“Two weekends and two podiums so that’s a great achievement by the team and also Pol but the big thing today was all three bikes in the top six. We’re really happy with the work done by Brad and Miguel. Overall it is a massive credit to the company and what a great bike they have made for 2020. We have been pushing for this. Big thanks to everyone for the job and for their motivation in what has been an intense season so far.”

Hervé Poncharal – Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Manager

“The second race in Valencia and the second great result of Miguel Oliveira and the whole Red Bull KTM Tech3 team. Qualifying was average, but we knew we had the right pace and one more time Miguel had a great start. He was fifth out of the gate and then he managed to keep his head down and opened a gap on the pack. Unfortunately, halfway through the race, he lost a bit of pace and Rins, Nakagami and Binder passed him. But once they were ahead of him, he recovered and on the last six, seven laps, he was nearly having the same pace like the guys in front. This was good to maintain Mir and Dovizioso behind. Honestly, another ten points for the sixth position is a great result. We are still 10th in the championship, which is our target now, but with a bigger gap to the guy following us. I think six is the number of the day for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team, because Deniz Öncü was sixth in Moto3 and Miguel Oliveira sixth in MotoGP, so six seems to be our lucky number for this weekend. Anyway, after a fifth last week and a sixth this week, Miguel is heading to his home Grand Prix, which is going to be the grand finale of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship. It’s going to be a mad and crazy event, I’m sure. The whole Portugal is waiting for Miguel and I’m quite sure, this is going to be the race, where Miguel and the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team are going to give everything they have to finish on a high note. So, we just can’t wait to be in Portimao! I would also like to add a few words about Iker, because he did everything he could to be with us from Saturday morning. Unfortunately, he was one of the victims of the Covid-19 virus. He was tested positive, so he couldn’t come in the circuit. Unfortunately, the second test was also positive, so we can now officially say that Iker will not be with us in Portimao, which is a great shame. To do the last three races without Iker is a heartbreak. We miss him and I’m sure he is missing us and MotoGP. But there is nothing else we can do. So, let’s move to Portimao and there will be some new adventures happening there for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team.”

Massimo Meregalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director

“Valencia this year has been a very difficult venue for us, more than ever before. During these last three days we spent some time trying different set-ups, also thinking about the future. Especially Maverick was quite comfortable on the bike on Friday and Saturday, but he didn’t have that same feeling during the race. Even though we improved in the braking areas, we weren’t able to find the rear grip needed to challenge out in front. We already knew this race would be difficult, but we still expected a bit more from today. In one week‘s time we have a final possibility to finish this season on a high note, like how we started the season. The riders already spent one day at the Portimão track on their YZF-R1s, so let’s see what we will be able to do.”

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager

“It has been a positive weekend for us as the whole field were able to get more dry time than last week and that showed with the consistency and pace in today’s race. The info from last weekend gave all the riders a good starting base and although we had some rain on Saturday, they were able to get back up to speed quickly and produce some impressive lap-times. All the tyres were tried this weekend, but with the warmer track temperatures today the choice seem quite straightforward for all the riders as to which tyre gave them the best performance. This meant every rider chose the medium rear as it offered the best of all things; grip, consistency and stability, with most of the field going with the hard front for the added stability on this unusual layout. On behalf of Michelin I would like to congratulate Joan Mir and Suzuki on the title, they have showed a consistency this season that has produced dividends. We now head to Portugal for another challenge to finish the season. It is a completely  new track and although we have had a test there recently we will all be learning from day one.”

MotoGP Race Results

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 41m22.478
2 Jack MILLER Ducati +0.093
3 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +3.006
4 Alex RINS Suzuki +3.697
5 Brad BINDER KTM +4.127
6 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +7.272
7 Joan MIR Suzuki +8.703
8 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +8.729
9 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +15.512
10 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +19.043
11 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati +19.456
12 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +19.717
13 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +23.802
14 Stefan BRADL Honda +27.43
15 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +30.57
16 Alex MARQUEZ Honda +30.619
17 Tito RABAT Ducati +42.365
18 Lorenzo SAVADORI Aprilia +46.472
Not Classified
DNF Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 9 Laps
DNF Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 19 Laps
DNF Johann ZARCO Ducati 22 Laps

MotoGP World Championship Standings

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Joan MIR Suzuki 171
2 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 142
3 Alex RINS Suzuki 138
4 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 127
5 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 125
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 125
8 Jack MILLER Ducati 112
9 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 105
10 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 100
11 Brad BINDER KTM 87
12 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 78
13 Johann ZARCO Ducati 71
14 Alex MARQUEZ Honda 67
15 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 62
16 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 47
17 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 34
18 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 29
19 Iker LECUONA KTM 27
20 Stefan BRADL Honda 18
21 Bradley SMITH Aprilia 12
22 Tito RABAT Ducati 10
23 Michele PIRRO Ducati 4

MotoGP Constructors Championship

Pos Constructor Points
1 SUZUKI 201
2 DUCATI 201
3 YAMAHA 188
4 KTM 175
5 HONDA 133

MotoGP Team Championship

Pos Team Points

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


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