A spectacular display from the boys in blue at last weekends Aragon GP has turned the 2020 MotoGP title race on its head once again as the Ecstar Suzuki squad close in on a landmark title charge.
A lackluster performance from former title leader Fabio Quartararo gave title rival Joan Mir valuable points to edge a six-point lead in the standings.
The weekend also produced this season’s eighth winner in the form of Alex Rins, who rode to a masterful display of fuel management and patience to lift the trophy.
Quartararo was at an immediate disadvantage coming into Sunday’s race after a high speed crash in practice injured his hip, however the young Frenchman pushed through to start from pole.
After a strong start, Quartararo would find himself dropping quickly down the order as a front tyre pressure issue led to braking and cornering problems, finally crossing the line in a career worst result of 18th.
“We had the pace to fight for a top five or six, but for some reason the front tyre gained pressure and we don’t know why.”
“We were running great until lap three when we gained too much pressure, much higher than normal, I was totally out of control,” said Quartararo.
In the early stages of the race, Monster Energy Yamaha font runner Maverick Vinales got the early advantage, with his soft front tyre giving him early grip to edge a gap between himself and the rest of the pack.
Vinales’ tyre would begin to drop the Spaniards pace around lap eight and a hard charging Rins scything through the field from 10th to eventually claim the lead.
Rins would be followed by his Suzuki team mate Mir and a rejuvenated Repsol Honda rookie Alex Marquez, who found fresh pace on the troubled RC213V.
Marquez would tussle with Mir for the next three laps before before comfortably claiming second and working to close in Rin’s 1.2 second lead.
By Lap 21, a visibly pushing Marquez would be on the Suzuki’s tail but it would be too late, with Rins crossing the line 0.263 ahead of his fellow Spaniard.
Mir would hold off a last lap charge from Vinales to claim the last step of the podium and gain valuable points to clinch the title lead by just six points.
Still to take his first victory in the premier class, Mir remains focused on the task at hand before putting title pressure on his shoulders.
“It’s true that we are showing serious consistency,” Mir told Motorsport.com.
“But the important thing is when you struggle to get good results to get podiums, and this is why I’m the leader at the moment. This was the key in all the races. And, also the way I’m approaching the championship. I go race by race, I don’t care a lot about the championship.”
After the Aragon GP, Mir has put the Suzuki at the top of the standings for the first time in 20 years, the last time being Kenny Roberts Jr in 2000.
In the support classes, Brit Sam Lowes claimed his second victory in two races in the Moto2 category after a last lap crash from title leader Marco Bezzecchi.
In Moto3, Leopard Honda’s Jaume Masia claimed a stunning victory while a seventh position extended Aspar’s Albert Arenas’ title lead.