MotoGP riders reflect on the ups and downs of Catalunya

2020 MotoGP Round Nine – Catalunya

Rider and Team Manager Quotes

Fabio Quartararo – P1

“This is the best moment that I have had in a long time! We have had some tough times since Jerez, so this actually feels better than those wins. I was not expecting to be so fast in the opening laps, but those two guys were so fast at the end of the race. We need to look at why we are struggling at the end of the race. We know that our bike is better in qualifying, so we need to balance this a bit better, but at the end of the day the race result is the most important thing and we won. It feels so good though to be back on the top step of the podium. I am also so happy that I am able to race at my home GP next, because there are not many races in this season. My thanks to the team because this victory is well deserved.”

Fabio Quartararo now leads the MotoGP World Championship on 108-points to Joan Mir’s 100
Joan Mir – P2

“It was quite a tough race, especially starting from the third row. It means you have to push in the early laps and it can be a bit risky. I tried to avoid any trouble and keep my head down whilst also over-taking some riders. When I was behind Miller I knew I needed to stick with him and be ready to take advantage. I got close to the victory today, maybe with a couple more laps it could have been possible, but Fabio was managing everything really well and he did a great race. It’s so nice for Suzuki to have two riders on the podium after a long time and I’m really pleased with today’s work!”

Joan Mir and Alex Rins chased down and passed Morbidelli
Alex Rins – P3

“I’ve been struggling a lot in the last weeks, and to take a podium here today at my home race feels fantastic. Since my shoulder injury in Jerez things haven’t been easy, and I have found it hard to be physically strong enough to compete at the very front. But I’ve worked hard off the bike and the team have worked super hard and have supported me a lot, so I want to thank them. I also want to thank the fans for their support and for standing by me in this tricky season. I’m so happy.”

Alex Rins worked his way to the podium from 13th on the grid
Franco Morbidelli – P4

“I’m a little angry about finishing fourth, but it is a positive thing as it means we are at a good level and want more. I’m angry because I made a mistake in the race: I started a bit too hot and wore the tyre out too much early on. When fighting with Fabio I was too much on the limit and trying to recover in braking, in the end I lost two seconds running wide and the chance for a podium. I still feel like this was the best strategy though. However I cannot complain about this weekend; I got pole position and I was really fast in general, so I’m happy. Now we rest a little bit and try to also be fast at Le Mans.”

Franco Morbidelli
Jack Miller – P5

“Ride fast, but not too fast … open the gas, but don’t spin the rear tyre … there’s races where you can go for it from first lap to last, but Sunday in Barcelona was a day of riding on eggshells as well as you could and seeing if you could get away with it. I did and managed to come home fifth which was something, because it was a day where it could have gone wrong so easily. Shame to miss out on a podium and all that, but it would have been a shame to be on the floor as well after doing so much work. So I’ll definitely take it. I’ve been happier, but I’m not disappointed, let’s say that.

Jack Miller

“Why was it so hard here compared to usual? I know talking about weather and tyres isn’t the most exciting thing in the world but it’ll help me explain. Last year we raced here in June (like we always do) and it’s bloody hot in Barcelona at that time of year. It was about 25 degrees, the track was over 50, so that affects what tyres you choose and how you approach it. This year, because we’re here in late September because of the calendar being shuffled and delayed with COVID and all of that, it was cold all weekend. We’re racing in the middle of the afternoon in autumn and it was only 17 degrees, and the track was only 20 when we started, and there was no sun at all. The track was just so cold. The hard tyres we have were too hard for that temperature and gave you no grip, so nobody used them. The soft had decent grip, but using them for 24 laps around here was about tiptoeing around to make sure you had something left at the end.

Jack Miller

“We all just about managed it, and you can see how close it was at the end because (Takaaki) Nakagami was seventh and less than four seconds behind Fabio (Quartararo), who won it but said his tyres were destroyed afterwards. I was more than two seconds a lap slower at the end of the race than I was at the beginning when we had a full tank of fuel. So it was definitely a race where we tried to hang on instead of being in attack mode.

“I was fourth most of the race but those Suzukis had way better pace than us near the end so I couldn’t fight them, there wasn’t much point. When my teammate Pecco (Bagnaia) came by me on the last lap I fought that one though! I got him back and had just enough to hold him off in the end, and I didn’t lose a spot in the championship so that’s good, I’m still sixth with six races to go so I’m still in it. It felt like a salvage day for the championship, one where you take your points and go home, basically.

Jack Miller

“We got to about 10 laps to go and my plan was to start pushing on and trying to reel in those Yamahas, and then with about seven laps to go the rear tyre fell off a cliff and died in the arse, more or less. I was a bit of a sitting duck from there, and the Suzuki boys, (Joan) Mir and (Alex) Rins, seemed to have more tyre life than the rest of us. As we were coming back in on the cool-down lap I noticed their tyres didn’t even have any lines on them, where mine and all the Yamahas did. The Suzukis could have handled a few more laps, but I reckon the rest of us were pretty happy that it ended when it did.

Jack Miller

“It’s been a crazy busy time for all of us, eight races in about 11 weeks I think it’s been – I’ve kind of lost count to be honest! So, a week off before we head to Le Mans if definitely something to look forward to – it’ll be a quick chance to recharge and then get set for these final six races, they’re going to come thick and fast …”

Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya
Pecco Bagnaia – P6

“It was a difficult weekend because Friday I was not able to adapt to the situation, and I lost one day. Unfortunately starting so far back does not help, but the pace was fast. If we had started from the front maybe we could have fought for the podium, but it was my mistake and you learn from mistakes, we will try again at Le Mans.”

Pecco Bagnaia
Takaaki Nakagami – P7

“It was a bit of a difficult race as the track temperature was very low from the warm up session to the race, so it was really difficult to warm the tyre. We raced a soft compound on the front and the rear and, at the beginning of the race, my pace was not strong enough and I dropped some positions. Then I tried to keep consistency on my laps and started to close the gap on the riders in front of me. I had the opportunity to pass some riders and the second part of the race I was into the top 10 – P9, then P7 – and at the end of the race I had a really strong pace compared to the other guys in my group. So the podium could have been there, but I had no chance to overtake or even try to and I finished P7. It’s another top 10 and a good result and we were only 3.6 seconds behind the race winner, so it was very close and this was positive. We’re now looking forward to Le Mans and we’ll keep pushing.”

Takaaki Nakagami chasing Oliveira, Bagnaia and Binder
Danilo Petrucci – P8

“I’m delighted with my performance today and, in general, with how this weekend went. Today I felt comfortable in the race, and I was able to manage the tyres well. Unfortunately, I was struggling a lot in the straights, where I got passed by most of the riders that overtook me. Maybe, if we had qualified better, we could have aimed for an even better result, but I think it was a good race overall and that after last weekend in Misano, we are gradually returning to our levels”.

Maverick Vinales – P9

“There was no issue at the start, the only weak point is our top speed. I couldn‘t pass anyone, especially in the first fifteen or sixteen laps. So I was just riding around. I‘m really disappointed because if you don‘t start from first or second, you have big problems. I couldn‘t do anything and was just losing positions. We will see in Le Mans. This result after winning last week is difficult to swallow. The championship could go any way. This weekend we made a mistake in the qualifying and we paid the price.”

Maverick Vinales
Cal Crutchlow – P10

“It was a positive day to finish the race and be in the top 10 today, I expected a little more but I was unable to get a good start. I always knew the start was going to be a challenging part of the race as I was probably the only rider on the grid without the start device. But I think we did a good job in the race to be battling with riders who had good results last week and, not having been on the bike for a long time, it was good to get race distance under my belt. I had some pain and problems with my arm, but I felt I didn’t finish the race too bad and with a different setting on the bike we could have been a little bit better. But we did a good job as a team this weekend and we look forward to Le Mans.”

Brad Binder – P11

“Today was a bit different to what I had in mind. Coming into the race my pace seemed really good and I had a good feeling with the bike. In the race it just didn’t quite go to plan. I tried my best at the start but when we hit lap sixteen things became a bit more difficult with the rear tire. It was tough, for sure. Not a great result in the end but we’ll learn from this and use it for the future. We’ll stay focused, look ahead to the next race and try to make things right there.”

Brad Binder
Aleix Espargaro – P12

“The conditions of this track are certainly not the best for us, and we struggled again today. The lack of grip kept me from being incisive. I was able to stay with the other riders, but I wasn’t able to overtake them. Finishing the race was important to be able to provide the engineers with as much data as possible, but these are certainly not the positions I like to battle for.”

Alex Marquez – P13

“A difficult race today. We were expecting warmer conditions and we couldn’t use the soft front; we went with the medium. That was my mistake, I pushed the team hard to use the medium but during the race the temperature dropped a lot. In the first laps I lost a lot of time after my good start, then in the middle of the race I felt better but in the end I slowed again. It’s my mistake, sometimes this happens as a rookie and I have been able to learn from this. We also found a few things this weekend, so we are still improving and learning and now we look to Le Mans and also a quick visit to Portimao to learn the layout.”

Iker Lecuona – P14

“In the end, I’m quite happy that I finished the race, which was my target, as it was a difficult weekend for me. Finally, I could enjoy the race a bit and managed to regain a better feeling. I was fighting with a small group and finished in the points. Thanks to the team for all the support this weekend. I’m sure we will be better in Le Mans.”

Tito Rabat – P15

“Yesterday I did not qualify well, so today we would have to gain positions in the race.  The first laps were good, and I was in a group of four riders, so we continued to take steps.  Today we have done a good analysis of this race, I am not happy, but not satisfied either.  One more point for the championship and now to think about Le Mans.”

Bradley Smith – P16

“We knew this would be a complicated circuit for us because it highlights one of our weak points, namely traction coming out of turns. The positive aspect is that I battled with good riders and good bikes and, at certain times, I was even able to overtake them. We’re lucky to be staying here for a day of tests and we’ll be able to focus on grip, hopefully finding some solutions that can help us on the upcoming tracks.”

Stefan Bradl – P17

“It was cooler than everyone thought it would be, everyone had to manage it. For me it’s tricky to understand the rear tyre and I was struggling a bit. At the end of the race I had to slow down a lot because the rear dropped off a lot. In the middle of the race I was not so bad, and I was near the points, fighting well. Sadly, the rear then dropped and we fell back. But we keep working with the Repsol Honda Team, trying different things and pushing. Now we have a little break before heading to Portimao for a test which will be important for me and Honda.”

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi – DNF

“It‘s a great shame, two mistakes in a row. This was a very different crash from last week‘s. In Misano we did something different on the bike, and technically I was not very strong. I didn‘t feel very good, and also on Saturday and Sunday I was not 100% me. I didn‘t feel very well. This weekend was very different, because I was always competitive. I was good on the bike, I rode well, and I also improved practice by practice. This is very good. Today I was at the limit, because I was behind Fabio and I didn‘t want to lose a lot, I wanted to stay with him. On the left is always dangerous, especially with a low temperature, and I lost the front. It‘s a great shame because I think I could have fought for the victory and for sure for the podium, that was our target. This year my speed is not too bad, but as for the results I have to do better. We still have a lot of races until the end of the season, so our target is to be competitive again starting from Le Mans, work well in the garage with the team, and try to stay at the top.”

Turn Two melee took down Zarco and Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso – DNF

“Crashing out at the second corner is always difficult to digest, and I’m sorry for how the race went today. I had focused on making a good start, and at the end of the straight, I managed to recover several positions. Unfortunately, I got involved in an accident on the first lap, which was the result of a normal race dynamic. The Championship is potentially still open but, if we want to challenge for the title, now more than ever, we need to return to the levels of competitiveness to which we are used to”.

Turn Two melee took down Zarco and Dovizioso
Johann Zarco – DNF

“I am sad after today’s race because I thought I could have a good race.  The start was not bad, with a good first braking but in the change of direction Petrucci had a scare, I braked and crashed.  Dovizioso couldn’t help it and crashed next to me.  Now we have to think about Le Mans.“

Dovizioso saw his championship lead disappear from the ignominy of the gravel trap – The Italian now fourth and 24-points behind series leader Quartararo
Miguel Oliveira – DNF

“It’s sad to end the race like this. We had very challenging conditions and expected to be competitive and for that we needed to use the medium front tire. The temperature was quite low today, so it took me just one lap with no slipstream to cool down the tire and when I went to the left side, there was no way I could save the crash. It’s a shame. This is racing. I hope we can get back to the front in Le Mans, the home race for the team. I want to do well there, also for the championship.”

Pol Espargaro – DNF

“For sure I’m disappointed. I paid for some frustration today because with the medium front tyre I could not push so hard in the left corners. I was fighting a lot with Petrucci even though I felt faster than him. I entered the corner a bit too fast and lost the front. My fault entirely. I was trying too hard. I’m keen to get to Le Mans and remove the bad taste in the mouth from here. It was my home Grand Prix and this wasn’t what I expected.”

Team Managers

Razlan Razali – Petronas SRT Team Principal

“It was a strange weekend for us, but we are glad that Fabio’s win helps to inject positivity. It would have been nice to have a double podium, but Franco’s fourth was still a strong finish. It is good for the championship, for both Fabio and Franco, but especially for Fabio who is back leading the championship ahead of his home GP at Le Mans.”

Fabio Quartararo celebrates victory with the Petronas SRT Team
Fabio Quartararo celebrates victory with the Petronas SRT Team
Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager

“It was an incredible race today. Joan has been working very well in these last weeks and I’m very impressed and pleased with his performances. Alex did an unbelievable job from 13th on the grid, and this podium is very important for him. I’m so happy to have both our riders riding so well and bringing us these great results. Thank you to everyone for their work and support.”

Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager

“We’re very happy, it’s been a super day with both our riders on the podium! This is something that hasn’t happened for a long time and it’s a great feeling to achieve it. Joan is keeping a very positive trend going and I’m really pleased for him. I’m also very happy for Alex who did a great performance in the race, especially from 13th on the grid and a difficult couple of weeks. We will celebrate inside the team, and I want to say thank you to everyone who has been working so hard, the personnel here, at home, and in Japan. This is possible because of them.”

Suzuki 2-3 with Alex Rins working his way from 13th on the grid to the podium
Suzuki 2-3 with Alex Rins working his way from 13th on the grid to the podium
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director

“It’s a disappointing end to an otherwise really good race weekend. The first corner is what cost Maverick a good result today. He was forced to brake earlier and other riders overtook him left and right, losing him a lot of positions. Once you fall back, it’s very difficult with our bike to overtake, as we know. Maverick also never had the same amazing feeling this weekend that he had in Misano. We will have to analyse the data to see how we can fix this for the next round. The team is heartbroken for Vale. He had great confidence on the bike all weekend. It‘s a shame that he crashed, losing a great opportunity to finish on the podium. We will try our hardest to create another podium possibility again at the next GP weekend in Le Mans. But first the team will have a week off, though we will certainly use this time to prepare for the next triple header.”

Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager

“We saw already earlier in the weekend that tyre choice would be super-difficult for us. We would always find a solution in the afternoon when the temperatures were higher but race day was pretty cold on track and we knew it would be tough. Pol was doing well until he crashed but, overall, we cannot be happy with our overall results: it is the first time this season that we don’t have a rider in the top ten and we have to analyze why we could not find the performance we wanted. Everybody pushed and gave what they could, but we’ll work now to know more for Le Mans.”

Hervé Poncharal – Red Bull KTM Tech3 Team Manager

“What a tough weekend here in Catalunya. It’s been very difficult. The highlight of the weekend was clearly Saturday, when we had the best track and weather conditions with a great lap in FP3. But apart from that, it was very, very difficult. We never managed to find the right tyre fitting the track grip and temperature. All top three KTM started with a medium front and we knew that was the only possibility for us to go fast. But we also knew we couldn’t afford to let it cool down and more or less this is what happened when Miguel found himself in front. He was doing a good race until then. But he said as soon as nobody was in front of him, the temperature dropped and it was a really cold front tyre. Taking the soft would have probably not end in a crash, but meaning to finish much further down, so it’s a big pity to end up the weekend with a DNF. The positive is, Miguel is still leading KTM in the ranking, but everybody is so close now. Anyway, let’s forget about this weekend and try to move on to the next. Iker had a very, very tough weekend as well and basically, we told him this morning, try to recover your confidence in Warm Up. We gave him the soft-soft front and rear option and told him, his target is to regain confidence and finish that race, which is what he did. Thanks to him, he ended up in 14th position and got two points and for sure has recovered quite a lot of confidence that he lost throughout the weekend. Outside of that, there’s not a lot to say. It was the third weekend in a row, I think it’s time we have a few days off to recover and rest. See you all in Le Mans for the French Grand Prix!”

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager

“This has been a very demanding weekend for all concerned. We have to choose the tyres before the season and we were coming to Barcelona in September instead of the usual June, but after looking at historical weather and seeing that both times of the year are similar, we picked a range of tyres with that in mind. Unfortunately, we have had unseasonally cold conditions and this made it very difficult to get the heat in the tyres and for the riders to get the grip from the track. Our Technicians worked tirelessly with every rider all weekend to assist with advice for the optimum compound for the set-ups they were using, in an aim to give the best grip that could be extracted from the asphalt. I feel that we did very well under these exceptional circumstances and stand by the choice of tyres, it is not easy to guess the weather for a track when you have not been to the circuit at that time before, with all this in mind the range provided four raceable tyres for Sunday, of which three were used, so we didn’t go far wrong with our selection. We now head home to Le Mans and another busy weekend where MotoE will join us and we will see that title decided, hopefully it will be a bit warmer than it was this weekend!”

Tyre choice and management was critical at Catalunya

MotoGP Race Results

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 40m33.176
2 Joan MIR Suzuki +0.928
3 Alex RINS Suzuki +1.898
4 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha +2.846
5 Jack MILLER Ducati +3.391
6 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati +3.518
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +3.671
8 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +6.117
9 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +13.607
10 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +14.483
11 Brad BINDER KTM +14.927
12 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +15.647
13 Alex MARQUEZ Honda +17.327
14 Iker LECUONA KTM +27.066
15 Tito RABAT Ducati +27.282
16 Bradley SMITH Aprilia +28.736
17 Stefan BRADL Honda +32.643
Not Classified
DNF Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 9 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
DNF Johann ZARCO Ducati 0 Lap
DNF Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 0 Lap

MotoGP World Championship Standings

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 108
2 Joan MIR Suzuki 100
3 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 90
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 84
5 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 77
6 Jack MILLER Ducati 75
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 72
8 Alex RINS Suzuki 60
9 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 59
10 Brad BINDER KTM 58
11 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 58
13 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 39
14 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 39
15 Johann ZARCO Ducati 36
16 Alex MARQUEZ Honda 27
17 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 22
18 Iker LECUONA KTM 17
19 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 13
20 Bradley SMITH Aprilia 11
21 Tito RABAT Ducati 8

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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