Valencia GP Preview: It’s crunch time for Mir

The Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Cheste will be the stage of a second consecutive World Championship round this weekend, with the celebration of the Valencia GP.

This is the twelfth and penultimate scale of a most unusual championship with numerous cancellations caused by the coronavirus pandemic. All eyes are on Joan Mir after his maiden win at the last European GP, where he extended his lead of the standings to 37 points. The pilot from Suzuki will have his first chance to be crowned this Sunday. 

Seven days ago, the Spaniard finally achieved the victory that had eluded him through the season. Despite his great performances, his resolve and his regularity, it has taken Mir this long into the season to cross the checkered flag on the lead. 

It was last week that Mir managed to shake that weight off his shoulders after a thrilling showdown with teammate, Alex Rins. Nobody can accuse him now of leading the standings, or even becoming World Champion, without having won a single race. 

Mir arrived at last week’s race in Valencia at the lead of the standings and for this upcoming appointment, he does so again with an even greater advantage. He is currently first with 162 points, 37 more than his two closest pursuers, Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and his own teammate Alex Rins. 

This will therefore be his first opportunity to become 2020 MotoGP World Champion. Even if he loses eleven points to his closest rivals, the crown would be his. We could say that Mir practically has one hand on the title already…unless something unexpected happens. 

Quartararo is running out of options 

The French pilot from the Yamaha satellite team and Alex Rins from Suzuki are tied on points (125) in their respective second and third places, 37 points behind the leader. The season started brilliantly for Quartararo with two consecutive victories in the Spanish and Andalusian Grand Prix but then it all turned into a nightmare. 

Some persistent problems with his engine eroded the reliability and performance of the M1, with the French pilot losing his confidence as a result. Quartararo plunged into a dark tunnel where he still remains.

The responsibility and pressure of heading the group of favourites have also contributed to undermining his driving, which he has failed to adapt to the ensuing technical problems. In the previous race, he fell to the ground and although he was able to re-join, he barely saved a couple of points. 

Rins would not give up 

The opposite can be said of Alex Rins whose trajectory has followed a clear upward trend. After recovering from a fall that injured his shoulder and his performance at the start of the competition, he has taken flight. 

Rins is having a sensational end to the season. He has taken a victory and two second places in the previous three races, and a total of four podiums over the last five. Fully recovered from his injury and supported by the superiority of the Suzuki machines, he is undoubtedly one of the strongest pilots in this final stretch of the championship. 

In any case, both Rins and Quartararo could in theory still be crowned as champions at the end of the season. In both cases, they would need a victory at the Valencia GP. Another rival whose title options are still open is Maverick Viñales. The Catalan pilot of the Yamaha official team is currently in fourth place, four points behind Quartararo and Rins. 

Images of Valencia GP: Suzuki Team.


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