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Sport MotoGP 2020: Mir the merrier as title contenders target Spain gains

20:25  21 october  2020
20:25  21 october  2020 Source:   performgroup.com

MotoGP title rivals Quartararo and Mir insist no team orders yet

  MotoGP title rivals Quartararo and Mir insist no team orders yet Current MotoGP points leaders Fabio Quartararo and Joan Mir insist their team-mates won't be issued team orders in the coming triple-header to aid their title bids . © LAT Images Title rivals Quartararo, Mir insist no team orders yet Petronas SRT's Quartararo leads Mir by eight points following the Frenchman's Catalan Grand Prix victory last month, with 31 points now splitting the top five down to Franco Morbidelli.Morbidelli insisted at Catalunya that he has had to re-evaluate his aims for this season following his San Marino GP win, as his speed deficit to the other Yamaha riders was too great.

Alex Rins became the eighth different winner in as many MotoGP races as Motorland Aragon once again proved to be a happy hunting ground for home riders last weekend.

MotoGP championship leader Joan Mir © Getty Images MotoGP championship leader Joan Mir

The podium was filled by Spanish riders at the Aragon Grand Prix last weekend, Rins taking the victory ahead of Alex Marquez and Joan Mir claiming third spot to replace Fabio Quartararo as the championship leader.

Quartararo will be looking to banish the memories of a nightmare race when the battle for the title continues in the Teruel Grand Prix at the same track this week.

The Petronas Yamaha rider finished 18th after starting on pole, his worst result in the premier class giving Mir the chance to move into a six-point lead.

Mir predicts "great fight" with Yamahas in MotoGP Aragon GP

  Mir predicts Joan Mir is expecting a "great fight" with the Yamahas ahead of him in Sunday's MotoGP Aragon Grand Prix as the Suzuki rider starts from sixth . © LAT Images Mir expects Qualifying has been Suzuki's biggest weakness in 2020, with championship contender Mir only twice qualifying on the front two rows prior to Aragon.However, the Spanish sophomore managed sixth with a 1m47.679s in Q2 at Aragon on Saturday and could have found more time had he not been "disturbed" on his best lap.

Mir is the first Suzuki rider to lead the classification in the top category since Kenny Roberts Jr. in 2000.

Here, we reflect on another dramatic round and look ahead to what might happen this weekend.

LAST TIME OUT

Quartararo astonishingly took a second successive pole last weekend despite suffering a heavy crash in the final practice session, having also hit the deck on Friday.

Once again the Frenchman was unable to convert that into maximum points, quickly dropping back to seventh as his Petronas Yamaha struggled for grip.

He continued to drop back after Rins shot ahead of Maverick Vinales and stayed out in front, with a Suzuki one-two on the cards when Mir moved into second place.

Suzuki's Mir believes he 'cares less' about the MotoGP title than other riders

  Suzuki's Mir believes he 'cares less' about the MotoGP title than other riders Joan Mir says he cares less about the MotoGP title currently than "probably other riders" and won't change his race-by-race approach despite leading the standings after the Aragon Grand Prix . © LAT Images Mir 'cares less' about the title than other riders The Suzuki rider leads the championship for the first time in 2020 by six points after finishing third on Sunday at Aragon, while erstwhile standings leader Fabio Quartararo plummeted to 18th owing to a front tyre issue.

Alex Marquez went ahead of Mir and applied late pressure on Rins, but a wobble on the final corner gave Rins the chance to increase his lead.

Vinales made it an all-Spanish top four, while Andrea Dovizioso salvaged seventh place after starting in 13th.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN THE TERUEL GRAND PRIX

It is nine years since a non-Spanish rider won at MotorLand, although it has been so difficult to predict what will happen this season.

Quartararo is the only rider to have won more than one race, but he was not even close to adding a fourth victory to his tally last weekend.

Valentino Rossi was a notable absentee last week after testing positive for coronavirus and the great Italian misses out once again.

Speculation over Jorge Lorenzo making a dramatic return in place of Rossi was dismissed by Yamaha, who will not replace the seven-time MotoGP champion.

Marc Marquez is also set to miss out again as his brother, Alex, attempts to go one better and claim a maiden win.

Joan Mir new MotoGP championship leader: "Just keep going"

 Joan Mir new MotoGP championship leader: Joan Mir is Suzuki's first world championship leader in 20 years, but doesn't want to be distracted by looking at the points - not entirely happy with his Aragon race. During teammate Alex Rins won the Aragon Grand Prix on Sunday and thus secured the first MotoGP win of the 2020 season for Suzuki, after finishing third in the race, Joan Mir is the first Suzuki rider in 20 years to win the overall ranking of the premier motorcycle class - World Cup leads.

With just three races to come after this one, there is little margin for error in the fight to be crowned champion.

TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Mir of the same - No other MotoGP rider has finished on the podium in more races than Joan Mir this season (five in the last seven races).

Poles mounting for Quartararo - Quartararo is the first French rider and the 20th in history to secure 10 pole positions in 500cc/MotoG

Rins hits double figures - Rins is the eighth Spanish rider to achieve 10 podiums in 500cc/MotoGP.

High five - No other Suzuki rider has finished on the podium in more races in a MotoGP season (since 2002) than Mir (five).

Flying the flag - After Casey Stoner's first two victories (2010 and 2011), only Spanish riders have won in the following eight races at MotorLand (Marc Marquez, five; Lorenzo, two; Dani Pedrosa and Rins both one).

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 121

2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 115

3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 109

4. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 106

5. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) 92

Teams

1. Suzuki Ecstar 206

2. Petronas Yamaha 202

3. Ducati 171

4. Monster Energy Yamaha 167

5. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 144

Mir doesn't need a MotoGP race win to claim the title - Dovizioso .
Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso doesn't think championship leader Joan Mir needs to claim his maiden win to take the 2020 MotoGP championship . © LAT Images Dovizioso: Mir doesn't need a race win to claim title Suzuki rider Mir leads the standings by 14 points from Petronas SRT's Fabio Quartararo after securing his sixth podium of the 2020 campaign with third place last weekend at Aragon, with the spread across the top six from Mir down to team-mate Alex Rins just 32 points.With three rounds to go, Mir is the only one of the top six title contenders yet to win a grand prix in 2020.

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