MotoGP Riders and Team Managers reflect on Valencia GP

2020 MotoGP Round 13 – Valencia


Joan Mir – P1

“I’m just so happy, the Team and I put together a perfect weekend! It’s difficult to give 100% when you’re fighting for a title, because you always have to be a bit cautious, but today I saw the chance for my debut victory and I had to take it. I knew what I had to do, and I felt really great with my bike. I don’t really have words to describe how amazing it feels to be a MotoGP race winner, and it gives me an extra boost, especially after a tricky weekend in terms of conditions. Things are still close at the top, so I need to stay focused and continuing working for next weekend.”

A podium at either of the final two rounds will secure Joan Mir the title.
Alex Rins – P2

“I was leading for a large part of the race, and I was hoping to lead from start to finish, but I missed a gear at Turn 11 on the 17th lap, and I went wide and Joan got through. Once he was at the front it was very hard to stay with him, even though I tried, because his pace was really good. But even if the result wasn’t perfect for me, it was a fantastic day for the Team. Joan got the victory that he really wanted, Suzuki got a one-two finish, and I got 20 points to add to my championship tally! So, I’m happy! Ready to go again next week and see what I can do, there are still plenty of points on the table.”

First Suzuki 1-2 since 1982
Pol Espargaro – P3

“It was hard, so tough with these guys. They were fast but I was catching back on brakes. I lost a bit of corner speed and through the apex but we went for the hard front and medium rear tires and it was a perfect choice. We had zero data for that selection but we gambled and I was gaining time. I’m really pleased. Another podium for KTM and myself, a great feeling.”

Pol Espargaro
Takaaki Nakagami – P4

“It was a great result, a great race and we had good pace until the end. As you can see, I never give up until the end, the last lap, the last corner, so I gave my best and this is a real positive. I was really, really close to my first podium finish, but another P4 and top independent, so it was a great result for us. I think we must be happy and already I’m looking forward to the next race here in Valencia. We have to keep pushing, keep believing; believing in my team and myself because we have another opportunity for a great result. I want to thank my team as we were competitive all weekend, now on to the next one.”

Takaaki Nakagami
Miguel Oliveira – P5

“I’m happy about this race. We were a little bit scared, because we didn’t know what we are going to find. I think the strategy in the Warm Up payed off in the race. We managed to have a good balance in the bike and a good setting. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep the pace seven, eight laps to the end. I started to struggle a lot to have a good transfer on the bike and to load the front and the rear tyre. After a couple of moments almost crashing, I decided to calm down and bring the bike to the garage, still make a good race and score decent points for the team.”

Rins, Mir, Espargaro, Oliveira
Jack Miller – P6

“Sixth to start, sixth at the finish … doesn’t sound like a lot to get too excited about at Valencia this weekend, but it could have been better and worse at the same time.

“Better, because when the track was a bit sketchy with rain and whatnot all weekend, I was fastest or close to it, so a podium looked possible. But worse could have been the outcome too because I got a very average start and was back in 11th two corners into the race. Nobody in front of me crashed and I had to do the hard yards for the next 27 laps, so in the end it was a bit of a salvage job to at least break even. So, not quite what we imagined.

Jack Miller on the grid at Valencia

“The sun came out for the first time since we got here on race day so we were all in the same boat, none of us had much info on what dry tyres to use, what they’d do in the race over 27 laps … definitely a journey into the darkness, and a gamble for everyone. For the guys fighting for the title, they had a lot to potentially lose – for me, that wasn’t in my thinking. I went with the hard front tyre, which we’d done no laps on all weekend, and the idea was to not go too hard too early and let the race come to us a bit. So much for that … I had to fight after the start didn’t go my way, and in the end I paid for that because I got stuck behind (Johann) Zarco for what seemed like 100 laps – it was about six or seven I think – and by the time I got back to sixth I ran out of laps to do a lot more, it was too little too late to catch up with (Miguel) Oliveira. A bit frustrating for sure because I was less than nine seconds off the win and those guys ahead of me all had pretty clean races, but that’s on me.

Jack Miller

“Normally my starts are pretty good and I got off the line alright, but I had a wheelie in fourth gear and the bike started heading towards the wall, so I had to roll out of it on the front straight and got spat back into the pack. It’s always hard to pass at Valencia, so the first lap was all she wrote really. Some of the passing and defending on the first lap was a bit unnecessary, shall we say, and when you get in the midfield on the first lap it kind of feels like anything goes. When you qualify up the front you get a bit soft maybe, a bit gun-shy. You definitely don’t want to go down early in the race two races in a row, and that was what I was thinking after what happened at Aragon. Some of the boys were doing a few kamikaze things on the first lap and it got a bit hectic there.

Jack Miller

“As you can probably imagine we all did a lot of talking about COVID for most of the weekend, it’s hard not to with everything that’s going on in Europe at the moment, and we just have to find a way to get the season done now we’re so close to the end. (Iker) Lecuona missed the race because his brother caught it and he’s a close contact, obviously (Valentino) Rossi missed a few races … we’re all being as cautious as we can be, but it’s around and it affects every decision you make. For sure, it’s always in the back of your mind. I mean, this year, between the races, I’ve basically not done much outside besides doing some cycling, go out and ride my dirt track bike or whatever, but even when I do that I try to minimise contact with other people.

Jack Miller

“Unfortunately in this day and age you can never be safe, because you just never know. It’s like getting an injury, except you haven’t had a crash. It can keep you out, like with Rossi. Our job is to be here and perform and unfortunately that’s one of the criteria of this year, just actually being able to come here and perform. It’s definitely not easy. I think it’s something a lot of guys, me included, have been very careful about. But we’re nearly at the end now and for the sake of the guys fighting for the championship I hope we get there, we get there safely, and we get a legit champion. (Joan) Mir got his first win here and it looks like it’s his championship to lose, so hats off to him because he’s done a really solid year and the others around him have had their dramas and made their mistakes, so full credit for what he’s been able to do.

“Anyway, a bit of a frustrating day, but we live and learn … it was a good race and I enjoyed it, but I felt we had more pace. We’ll be back here in Valencia to have another crack next weekend.”

Jack Miller – Check out that squat!
Brad Binder – P7

“The race started OK but I got a bit boxed-in through the first two-three corners. I didn’t want to take too much of a risk with the full fuel tank and I knew the Long Lap penalty was coming early on. As soon as I did it I dropped down the order and worked to catch back up but then Cal Crutchlow crashed in front of me and I had to run off the track! I lost a few more seconds that lap. The comeback was not bad. I felt good and the bike worked really well today. Even when the tires were used we could keep the same lap-times. It was a shame about the result because we had the pace for much better but I’m really happy and I think we can do a good job next weekend.”

Brad Binder
Andrea Dovizioso – P8

“I wasn’t feeling very well physically today, but fortunately, I managed to be consistent in the race. In the first laps, I recovered several positions, but in the beginning, my feeling with the bike wasn’t good. Only towards the end of the race, I was able to have a good speed, and this is an interesting aspect that we will have to focus on. I’m not happy with today’s result, but now we have some interesting data to work on ahead of the next GP, which will take place here in Valencia again next Sunday”.

Andrea Dovizioso and Brad Binder
Johann Zarco – P9

“Happy with today’s race, I made a good start and the pace of the first half of the race was good but it wasn’t enough to catch up with the riders in front of me.  A little disappointed with the end of the race, especially with the last two laps, but we got a lot of information from today’s race for Ducati and we know we can be on the podium next week.”

Zarco chasing Nakagami
Danilo Petrucci – P10

“I managed to make a good comeback today in the race, and I am quite satisfied with the tenth place. Today’s result was affected by my grid position, but considering that we didn’t have much time to test in the dry, I had a good pace in the race. Now we will work on the data collected to try to improve the setup and the start in the next Grand Prix that will take place once again here in Valencia.”

Danilo Petrucci
Franco Morbidelli – P11

“I think the biggest issue we had today was with the pressure in the front tyre. When we are running in the pack, we are noticing some problems with the pressure and we cannot fight how we want. Today, I was able to manage the situation and at the end of the race I was able to cross the finish line in 11th, which is not bad considering the situation. Although the gap to the leader in the championship has widened, we have closed in on the second position this weekend. Of course, I will fight for the best position possible in the championship until the end.”

Franco Morbidelli
Stefan Bradl – P12

“My start was not so bad; I was maybe a little too careful in the opening laps looking back on it. But in any case, we went into the race with a lot of unknowns, just like everyone else. I had some problems with the front tyre and I lost some confidence in it which caused me to lose some time and I had to manage the situation. Overall, we’ve worked well with the Repsol Honda Team and have had a strong weekend overall. We’re showing that we are growing and making improvements.”

Stefan Bradl
Maverick Vinales – P13

“Today‘s race was always going to be difficult. The bike wasn‘t perfect, because we had so little time to prepare for a dry race, but that is just the way it is. Finishing in 13th place when starting from pit lane is not horrible, but it‘s not fantastic either, especially considering the championship. But I don‘t want to think about that too much. I prefer to focus on improving the bike and trying to enjoy the second race in Valencia and the upcoming round in Portimão.”

Fabio Quartararo – P14

“At the beginning of the race another rider crashed in front of me and in trying to avoid it, I crashed as well. In these conditions it is easy to do. Unfortunately it meant that we lost points in the championship, at a race that wouldn’t have been our best but, where we thought we would do quite well. The feeling was a lot better in the dry today, but still not quite how I want it. Although everyone had difficulties, I do think we could have had a better feeling and more pace today. I think we need to try some things next weekend and try to have fun in these last two races; we still have good possibilities to end the season well.”

Cal Crutchlow – DNF

“Well, crashing out the race after five laps is not what we imagined or intended. Coming from a bad qualifying position and a bad start, it was difficult to make headway to the guys in front. Unfortunately, I got sucked in the draft in the braking zone to turn eight and went wide towards the dirty part of the track with the front brake and lost the front tyre. It was completely my own mistake and we hope for a better outcome next weekend where we believe the track conditions will be a lot more stable and we can work with the team to have a better base setting for the race.”

An ignominious early end to the race for Crutchlow
Pecco Bagnaia – DNF

“Too bad because I did a good start, I was going really fast and the feeling with the bike was great.  I made a mistake and I paid for it. Unfortunately, starting from this far back leads you to push very hard to recover the gap. My goal will be to try to start as far back as possible for the next race and make the most of the bike’s potential.”

Pecco Bagnaia
Alex Marquez – DNF

“We were having a good race; I made an OK start and I found myself in a good rhythm riding in the top ten. I was feeling comfortable and able to make some progress. Unfortunately, when Dovizioso passed me I was in the slipstream for Turn 1 and even though I was braking at the same point, I was a little bit faster, so I fell. I tried to save it and fortunately I am OK. It’s disappointing to not score for two races in a row as we had another good opportunity for points this weekend. We will come back and used what we’ve learned next week.”

Alex Marquez
Valentino Rossi – DNF

“For me personally, not being able to finish the race today is a great shame, because I needed these 27 laps, just to do a race again. I also needed them to collect data to understand how to be stronger for next weekend’s race here in Valencia. I was there in the race today, and I was just trying to understand how to ride in the best way, but unfortunately the bike stopped. The situation is not easy in Valencia. Last week, in Aragon, Yamaha won with Franco, but we are struggling to find grip here. It wasn’t a great weekend for me to find a way to improve, but we will see what we can do next week.”

Valentino Rossi chasing Stefan Bradl
Aleix Espargaro – DNF

“I’m very disappointed, but these things happen in racing. I started well, but in the early stages of the race, everyone was very aggressive. A rider ahead of me was on a bit of a strange line, going wide and then coming back in, and that threw off both Quartararo and me. I’m comforted by the fact that I was consistently competitive, in every session an in every condition. In five days, we’ll be back here on the track to make up for it.”

Just before the incident, Morbidelli, Aleix Espargaro and Quartararo
Lorenzo Savardori – DNF

“At the start, I was able to overtake Rabat straight away and I wasn’t pushing too hard. I was waiting for the fuel to drop a bit in order to begin setting my pace. Unfortunately, I lost the front end at a place where I didn’t expect it. I re-joined, but obviously the bike was not in perfect shape. I continued, partly to get experience and gather data, until an alarm on the dashboard forced me to retire. It’s obviously a shame, but we’ll have a chance to try again in a few days.”

Tito Rabat – DNF

“It was a very difficult weekend, in which today in the race we have taken a step forward. It’s a shame we had to retire due to a problem with the brake, we hope to take another step next weekend.”​


MotoGP Team Managers

Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager

“Today was a perfect result for the team, congratulations and thank you very much to Joan and Alex! It’s great to have first and second places in the race, it’s the ideal situation – and it was super to see Joan get his first victory! We didn’t have much of a chance to set up the bike for dry conditions, so we’re even more impressed with the performance of our riders and our bike. I want to thank the entire Team staff, and we’ll try to do the same again next week.”

First Suzuki 1-2 since 1982
Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager

“It’s been an unbelievable race, I’ve been dreaming of a Suzuki 1-2 for a long time and today we managed it! Thank you so much to all the Team, and to Joan and Alex of course! We’re doing something fantastic this season – we’re leading all three championships and our riders are so strong in the races. I would like to have this wonderful feeling forever, but we still have two races to focus on, so we will stay calm and keep our heads down. Let’s try to continue in this way!”

Pol Espargaro was the early race leader
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager

“The weekend started well with Pol’s Pole Position but Miguel and Brad were also in the top ten so we were competitive in those wet conditions. Then race day changed a lot and tire choice was very difficult; we didn’t have enough dry laps to make a thorough set-up for the bike but the RC16 was still strong enough to fight for those results. Pol was excellent and Miguel had a superb race to the top five and bravo to Brad for coming back all that way. All three bikes in the top seven is a pretty great day for us and I have to thank the whole team and the factory. In 2018 we took our first podium here and you can see now the amount of progress we have made in such a short time. We hope we can continue like this.”

Valencia 2020 MotoGP podium
1. Joan Mir -Team Suzuki Ecstar – Suzuki 41:37.297
2. Alex Rins -Team Suzuki Ecstar – Suzuki +0.651
3. Pol Espargaro -Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – KTM +1.203
Hervé Poncharal – Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Manager

“A really, really great result for Miguel Oliveira and the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team. It’s been a tough weekend with the never-ending changing weather conditions. With just the Warm Up on a full dry track, but still quite cool, it was difficult to decide on the setting and tyre strategy. But Miguel managed to qualify quite well and he had a great start. He was in the top four for the first part of the race, hanging out there, right behind Pol (Esparargo). Halfway through the race, when Nakagami passed him, he just tried to follow Nakagami. The setting was not ideal, but he just did, what he was supposed to do. He put his head down, kept a good pace without taking too much risks. He brought the bike home in fifth position, which equals his second-best result of the season. That was a strong race, with no crash in front of him, so it’s a real fifth position. We know there is room for improvement for next week, but now we are really happy. We are also very proud to show together with KTM how good the bike is now, because we got three KTM in the top seven and this is quite an achievement. Of course, I can’t end up without thinking about Iker Lecuona, who was waiting all year long for this event in Valencia. This is his home Grand Prix, he knows the track very well and is fast here and when he we see how competitive the three KTM were, I’m sure he would have been together with the others. I hope he didn’t cry too much behind the screen and I really hope we can have him back with us next week, because he more than deserves to be here and we miss him a lot. So, ‘Come on, Iker, push! Try to get out of there, try to stay negative!’ and hopefully, we have the full team here next week. That’s all I can say. Big congratulations to Miguel, to the crew, I think everybody worked really well and we’re a happy team tonight.”

Razlan Razali – Petronas SRT Team Principal

“It has been a difficult weekend. Although we lost some ground in the championship fight with Fabio and Franco, we are still upbeat and ready to give our best for the final two races. We have been analysing the data from the race today and hope to improve next weekend when we’re back racing here at Valencia. Of course we’ll be aiming to be back on the podium and to continue the progress the whole team has made this year. We’re leading the Independent teams’ competition, plus our riders are second and fifth in the riders’ standings, so it’s a good position to be in.”

Massimo Meregalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director

“It was a very difficult race weekend for us here in Valencia, and race day was no different. Maverick made the most of the situation, though. He had to start from pit lane, which naturally lost him a lot of time. Yet he had a good rhythm, especially in the second part of the race, even though he wasn’t fully happy with the set-up of the bike. But this was to be expected as we didn’t have any fully dry sessions this weekend before today. It’s tough to accept that – besides Maverick having to start from pit lane – Valentino had an issue with his bike in the same race. We had really hoped that his return to MotoGP would have ended on a higher note. But the data collected by him and Maverick today helps the team for next week‘s Valencia GP, which is also held at this circuit. We don’t always like racing at the same place twice, but in this case we want to make the most of the upcoming second round in Valencia to have a do-over. Despite the difficulties that we are facing, we are going to keep giving it our all. The challenge of winning the rider and constructor championship titles is really tough right now, but we‘re not going down without a fight.”

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager

“We have had another demanding weekend as we had to cope with many different weather conditions, but it did give us the opportunity to analyse how all the tyres performed on wet, drying and dry track surfaces. The lead-up to the race, as the temperatures rose, made tyre choice a very important decision and to see all of our guys supplying the information to all their respective riders to make sure they had the best data at hand, even if it was about a tyre that some had not tried all weekend due to the changeable conditions, was especially rewarding. This demonstrates the trust the teams and manufacturers have in our crew, even though the final decision is always with them and their riders. Again five of the six specifications were used in the race and all the wets were tried on Friday and Saturday, they all performed well and gave the riders the grip they needed no mater what the asphalt was doing. We now stay here for another race next week, hopefully the weather will be more consistent, but if not we have lots of info to work with no matter what greets us.”

First Suzuki 1-2 since 1982

MotoGP Race Results

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Joan MIR Suzuki 41m37.297
2 Alex RINS Suzuki +0.651
3 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +1.203
4 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +2.194
5 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +8.046
6 Jack MILLER Ducati +8.755
7 Brad BINDER KTM +10.137
8 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +10.801
9 Johann ZARCO Ducati +11.55
10 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +16.803
11 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha +17.617
12 Stefan BRADL Honda +24.35
13 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +25.403
14 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha +39.639
Not Classified
DNF Lorenzo SAVADORI Aprilia 2 Laps
DNF Alex MARQUEZ Honda 4 Laps
DNF Tito RABAT Ducati 14 Laps
DNF Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 22 Laps
DNF Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 22 Laps
DNF Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 23 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
DNF Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 0 Lap

MotoGP World Championship Standings

Pos

Rider Bike Points
1 Joan MIR Suzuki 162
2 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 125
3 Alex RINS Suzuki 125
4 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 121
5 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 117
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 117
7 Pol ESPARGARO KTM 106
8 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 105
9 Jack MILLER Ducati 92
10 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 90
11 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 77
12 Brad BINDER KTM 76
13 Johann ZARCO Ducati 71
14 Alex MARQUEZ Honda 67
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 16
21 Bradley SMITH Aprilia 12
22 Tito RABAT Ducati 10
23 Michele PIRRO Ducati 4

MotoGP Constructors Championship

Pos Constructor Points
1 SUZUKI 188
2 DUCATI 181
3 YAMAHA 163
4 KTM 159
5 HONDA 130
6 APRILIA 36

MotoGP Team Championship

Pos Team Points
1 Team Suzuki Ecstar 287
2 Petronas Yamaha Srt 205
3 Ducati Team 194
4 Red Bull Ktm Factory Racing 182
5 Monster Energy Yamaha Motogp 159 159
6 Pramac Racing 138
7 Lcr Honda 131
8 Red Bull Ktm Tech 3 117
9 Repsol Honda Team 83
10 Esponsorama Racing 81
11 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 39

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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