Suzuki rider Joan Mir has been proclaimed 2020 MotoGP World Champion after finishing seventh in the Valencian Grand Prix. Aware that he only needed a handful of points to conquer the crown, the Spaniard rode a cautious and intelligent race.
Besides the star of the day -and of the season-, victory at the second consecutive round in Cheste has gone to Franco Morbidelli.
Following a spectacular battle with Australian Jack Miller, third, the Italo-Brazilian pilot from Petronas SRT has taken his third triumph of this most unusual of seasons, marked by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bronze went to Pol Espargaro for whom this was his second consecutive podium and fifth during a remarkable KTM farewell season.
A robust and deserving champion
It was an unforgettable day for Suzuki, who also secure the constructor’s title. Furthermore, the Asian team could be in for further celebrations next week.
If one of the Hamamatsu machines finishes ahead of one of the Ducaties in Portimao, they will conquer their first Triple Crown, and at no other than their one hundred anniversary year, sixty decades of which they have been taking part in MotoGP.
This season will always be remembered by the coronavirus pandemic and the absence of Marc Marquez, but in any case, Joan Mir has been, without a doubt, an outstanding competitor and a very worthy winner of the title. His consistency has been key to his triumph during this his fifth season at the top motorcycle category.
Unlike his rivals, the Spaniard has hardly made any mistakes. It was one of those mistakes that gave #93 his dreadful injury. Now Mir breaks his four-year winning streak to become his unexpected successor.
The #36 has also defeated his teammate Alex Rins, even though the Catalan pilot was on his fourth year with the GSX-RR, a significant comparative advantage. Before the start of the year, Rins extensive experience seemed to placed him well above Mir.
Against those who put the merits of the Mallorcan pilot in question, stand his seven podiums over last 13 Grand Prix and his only two races out of the points, which happened to occur during the first three rounds. The numbers speak for themselves.
At one of the most inconsistent World Championships in memory (9 different winners), the regularity and intelligence of the #36 have prevailed.
As numbers started to add up, Mir has performed in the most measured and calculated way. Right at the time when the old controversy about the worthiness of a title with no single victories was most heated, Joan took his first win of the season at the European Grand Prix.
Mir didn’t even need to wait for the final race of the year in Portimao to be crowned. And while he publicly claimed that he was in no rush to rise to the throne, he has succeeded as soon as the first opportunity has presented itself. The sign of a true champion.
Morbidelli dominates from start to finish
Morbidelli kept his pole position and remained at the lead throughout the race. Australian Jack Miller and Catalan Pol Espargaro kept hot on the heels of the Italo-Brazilian, in an attempt to prevent his escape.
Soon, his partner in the Asian team, Fabio Quartararo, lost all title chances after crashing on the ninth lap. Before that, he already had a close encounter with Viñales and Mir at turn 2 of the first lap, after a hasty manoeuvre to avoid ramming them.
He returned to the track in the twentieth position. Then, disaster came for the Frenchman, who had dominated the season until the Aragon GP with three wins.
The Suzukies lived up to the expectations thanks to their respective comebacks but today it was not the day to take unnecessary risks.
At five laps to the checkered flag, Miller caught up with Morbidelli. The heart-stopping final lap, with both swapping places in several occasions, ended up with the #21 taking the win ahead of the Australian and with Espargaro following soon after.
After the race, all the pilots demonstrated their affection and camaraderie by surrounding Mir in celebration.
Images of Valencian GP: MotoGP.