The MotoGP World Championship enters its home stretch with the last three consecutive races, two in Valencia (Spain) and the last one in Portimao (Portugal). The next one of those thrilling appointments will take place this next weekend (November 6-8) at the European GP, Cheste’s Ricardo Tormo Circuit.
Following eleven races, eight different winners, fifteen different podium holders and no less than six title bidders, every one of the remaining races could be decisive.
With 75 points still up for grabs and without having won a single race, Joan Mir will arrive in Cheste as leader of the standings. The Suzuki driver is 14 points ahead of Maverick Viñales (Yamaha Factory) and 19 over Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT).
He might not admit it but Mir will be competing this Sunday with his calculator in one hand, protecting his precious advantage. His consistency, with six podiums over eight races, will also be key to his success in Valencia, where Marc Marquez won´t be back.
Suzuki: Mir & Rins, teammates & enemies
By the way, if he does manage to win on Sunday, this season would come up level with that of 2016 in record of different winners. His teammate Alex Rins will be one of his main adversaries on Sunday, despite being currently 32 points and five positions below him. He might be the one snatching some points off of the leader.
The Hamamatsu bosses have declared that as long as both pilots stand a chance for the title, there will be no team orders. Rins is certainly following that premise, at least in his head. His victory and his second place in Aragon are proof of his excellent state of form. That, together with the second place he achieved in 2018, make him one of the favourites for Sunday.
But Mir will not only have to keep an eye on his partner. As he sets foot on the track, the empire of the tuning forks will be waiting for him.
Yamaha´s army vs Mir
Second in the standings is Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT). Despite having lost a bit of strength over the past appointments, a victory would re-launch the bid of the Frenchman, the only triple winner in 2020.
Maverick Viñales, third in the standings, is in a rather similar position. The pilot from Girona must strive to take his second victory of the year in order to shorten the gap to the top, and, perhaps more importantly, to assert his superiority. This would somehow compensate by his great inconsistency which has kept him away from the podium since the Emilia Romagna GP.
After his crushing triumph at the last GP of Teruel, Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) has fully entered the fight for the World Championship Crown. Despite being fourth in the standings with 25 less than the leader, he is very motivated and free from excessive pressure. Both he and his teammate, Quartararo, are the only contenders to have repeated victories in this oddest of seasons.
Ducati & ‘Dovi’
Andrea Dovizioso is currently one place below Morbidelli. The main man from Ducati is having a lacklustre season. After earning second place in 2017-2019, everyone assumed that, without the black beast blocking his way to the throne, he would be one of the strongest rivals. Nothing is further from the truth. His exit from the Borgo Panigale team at the end of this year has put him in a difficult situation.
On top of that, the Desmosedici is not very fond of the Ricardo Tormo. The pilot from Forli is going to need all the stars to be aligned if he wants to repeat that memorable performance (2018) under the rain. At least it seems the weather is going to be on his side. In any case, the poor performance of the red bullets in both of the Aragon rounds gives no reason to be very optimistic.
Images of European GP: MotoGP.