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

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 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.

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.

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

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