25 Sep, 2020 @ 13:30
2 mins read

MotoGP Barcelona preview: Leaders begin push for title in Marquez-less championship

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AFTER last weeks spectacular display from factory Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales gave the 2020 MotoGP Championship its sixth winner, this weekends Spanish GP promises to be equally as impressive.

In a championship that has been turned on its head through the absence of runaway title favourite Marc Marquez, as the season enters its final stages, riders are now aiming to cement their case to claim the 2020 crown.

Just 27 points covers the top ten, with currently unsigned Andrea Dovizioso leading the pack by just a single point from French sensation Fabio Quartararo.

The top two, along with Vinales and Suzuki youngster Joan Mir appear to be the title favourites, and show signs of breaking away from the chasing pack.

Mir is currently on form, with four consecutive top four finishes and a new wave of confidence in the GSX-RR, the 23-year-old Mallorcan is the only rider in the top four to show any sort of consistancy in the past rounds.

He remains modest however as he aims to claim his first victory before he will consider himself a title contender.

“I don’t feel like a title contender because I haven’t won any races,” he said. “I am fully focused to win my first race because to win a championship I think you have to win races, so it is important to win and then think about the championship. It’s true our consistency is high and this is good but I’m missing the wins.”

Newly unemployed Dovizioso will be hoping to put his inconsistent form behind him and edge out a lead over Vinales, aiming to show the Ducati bosses that they have let yet another top rider slip through their grasps.

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Dovizioso will want to put a mediocre Misano behind him as he aims to extend his championship lead

The vacant seat however has spurred satellite Pramac riders Miller and Bagnaia to show their worth before an announcement for 2021 is decided.

Australian Miller, the long time favourite for the factory seat has seen his position challenged in recent rounds as the young Italian has strung together a series of strong performances before a freak accident in Misano left him with a minor leg injury.

Vinales is coming off his Misano victory with optimistic caution as he still struggles with his YZR-M1’s pace in the early stages.

“Our main priority is to start on the front row because you can take the lead,” he said. “We struggled in the last race because I was able to close the gap to Bagnaia but I don’t know if I was able to overtake.”

Team mate Valentino Rossi is also having a stellar season as he announces his all-but-completed agreement with the Petronas Yamaha Tea for 2021, quashing retirement rumours that have haunted him for a number of seasons.

The Catalan GP will also be a pivotal race for hometown heroes Pol and Aleix Espargaro.

The brothers are currently experiencing polar opposites in form leading up to this weekend.

Aleix, on paper, is having a lacklustre season on the Gresini Aprilia, despite claims that the 2020 RS-GP is ‘light years’ ahead of last years bike.

Pol on the other hand is riding the wave of a completely sorted KTM RC-16, a bike that has claimed two victories and a podium in their best season to date.

With a best result of third, Pol will be aiming to climb to the top step in front of his home crowd.

James Warren

"James spent three years spent working as a junior writer at various English language newspapers in Spain before finding a home at the Olive Press. He previously worked for many years as a bid writer for an international motorsports company. Based in Cordoba since 2014, James covers the southern Subbetica region, northern and inland Malaga and the Axarquia area. Get in touch at [email protected] with news or trustworthy tips that you would like him to cover in these areas"

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