Suzuki’s Joan Mir has taken his maiden MotoGP victory at the European GP this Sunday in the Ricardo Tormo Circuit, Valencia. Alex Rins followed the Mallorcan home to give Suzuki its third consecutive double podium and its first 1-2. Pol Espargaro took third for a fully Spanish podium. This is the fourth time that Espargaro gives a podium position to the Austrian works.
After achieving his elusive victory, the young Spaniard has become the ninth different winner this season bringing the title within sight. Mir has extended his standings lead to 37 points over a lacklustre Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), who is now levelled on points with the other Suzuki pilot, Rins.
Mir’s outstanding performance means he would only need a fifth place next Sunday at the Ricardo Tormo in order to take the title. The #36 offered a master class on maturity and cunning, giving Suzuki a memorable win which the team last celebrated at this venue in 1982 with Sete Gibernau.
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During the race, Mir stuck behind his teammate, waiting to strike at the precise moment. On the other hand, it was a disastrous day for Yamaha. Pretty much all of its members finished outside the top ten saying goodbye to any lingering title hopes.
The best performing member of the Tuning Forks was Franco Morbidelli and his eleventh position, two places ahead of Maverick Viñales (13th) and four before Fabio Quartararo (14th). Valentino Rossi suffered an even worse fate.
The #46 took no points for the sixth time in a row on his return from a month-long convalescence with coronavirus. It was also a disappointing weekend for the Ducatis. Satellite team driver Jack Miller, saved the honour of the Italians with a sixth place. And, what about the official Desmosedici? Andrea Dovizioso was eighth, two positions ahead of Danilo Petrucci.
Pol holds on to the first place at the start
Poleman Pol Espargaro held firmly to his starting first place on exit. Similarly, Rins and Nakagami maintained their second and third positions respectively. Soon after, however, the Japanese pilot from Honda LCR, was overhauled by an outstanding Mir on an epic comeback.
Following suit, Oliveira starred in a spectacular climb to fourth place. Meanwhile, Pol was still heading the race closely followed by Rins. Soon after, however, and in the blink of an eye, the #42 took the lead, followed by his teammate Mir, who moments earlier had swallowed up ‘Polyccio’, now third. With 24 laps remaining for the finish line, a civil war was looming between the blue machines.
In case you were wondering, no team orders were given. It was just Rins and Mir, Mir and Rins, head-to-head. Competition in its purest form. Thumbs up to the Suzuki bosses.
The Suzuki boys dominate the race
From that moment on, the war between the two partners began with Rins in the lead and Mir close behind, studying his prey and conserving his tires. The defining moment came at eleven laps from the end. The #36 masterfully passed his supposed team leader and escaped towards his first victory.
Rins tried to stop him to no avail. An outstanding Pol Espargaro crossed the finish line behind the two blue machines. The pilot from Granollers was on top form as he took his fourth podium with the Austrian team. Espargaro had first uncorked a bottle of champagne here in 2018.
Nakagami was incredibly close to snatching third place from Polyccio and the Portuguese Miguel Oliveira completed the top 5.
In just seven days’ time and at this very same venue, Mir will have his first chance to be crowned Marc Marquez’s successor in the Premiere Class.
Images of European GP: Suzuki.