2020 makes Alex Rins the 8th different winner of the season, ahead of Alex Marquez and Joan Mir.
Alex Rins took his first win today since Silverstone 2019; except last time, he was up against another Marquez. While the Petronas riders flew off the start line, it was Maverick Viñales who took the lead out of Turn 1 and didn’t look back. The Monster Energy Yamaha had his most competitive Sunday in a long time, as the Spaniard was immediately on the ball from the opening lap. Viñales managed to hold onto the lead for 8 laps before losing out to Rins. Despite eventually coming in 4th, Viñales had one hell of a race; a very admirable return to the front for the 25-year-old.
Starting from P10 on the grid, it was figured that we would see a glimpse of the #42 bike making a steady climb up the board within a few laps. What we didn’t expect, however, was to see Rins take to P5 within the opening corners of the race. The Suzuki rider didn’t give fans time to register his phenomenal start, as the Spaniard took Jack Miller’s fourth spot almost immediately, allowing the Aussie no comeback. It was nothing but up for Rins from Lap 1, making light work of Franco Morbidelli to soon begin hunting title-leader Fabio Quartararo with 21 laps remaining. With Rins’ pace, the Yamahas had little chance of survival, as his inevitable lead was no longer a question of if, but when. Said lead came into fruition with 15 laps to go, and, while there was still ample time remaining – who could possibly have challenged Rins’ strength?
The answer to that would be Repsol Honda’s Alex Marquez, because what’s a Rins win without a Marquez to challenge it?
It was a battle of the Alex’s in the final stages of today’s race, as Marquez stormed the pack from P11 on the grid to hunt Rins down at the front. The 24-year-old made light work of every rider he came across in the early stages of the race. Marquez looked set to take the win by the final few laps, but a moment with 3 laps to go gave Rins the leeway needed to defend the front. Despite losing out on the win, a back-to-back podium proves monumental for the rookie, and shows that the HRC man can perform well in both the wet and dry. The Spaniard has definitely made huge steps this half of the season.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the previous podium placer in Le Mans – Pol Espargaro. The KTM rider matched his P12 qualifying result in somewhat of a lacklustre race, finishing behind rookie teammate Brad Binder. Along with the added controversy from a collision in qualifying involving Alex Marquez and brother Aleix, did the Spaniard lose his spark this weekend?
Despite having a front-row start on the grid, LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow had somewhat of a disappointing result in comparison. Dropping down the order from the opening lap, Crutchlow failed to capitalise on his flier of a start; sinking down to 11th, the Brit managed to recover only a number of places to finish 8th.
The Suzuki Ecstar team had a good day at the office, as Joan Mir rounded out the podium also. Starting in 6th, Mir made a valiant effort in taking P2 from Viñales; however, Marquez remained on his rear tyre as the pair worked to bridge the gap to the lead. Despite his best efforts, Mir couldn’t defend his position from the Honda rider’s now-signature Turn 16 overtake. While unable to recover second place, Mir’s third position has granted him to take the championship lead, with Suzuki now leading the Constructor’s Championship as well. Not a bad day for the boys in Blue!
Speaking of bad days, former title leader Fabio Quartararo surely had one to forget. While the Petronas SRT rider had a good start, the Frenchman sank like a stone down the order by the half-way mark. His ending result in 18th place has demoted the 21-year-old to second in the title race, 6 points below Mir.
Yet again, Takaaki Nakagami had a commendable ride today to finish in fifth. The Japanese rider fought the likes of Jack Miller and Morbidelli to boost himself up to a matching P5 in the championship, just 29 points from the title lead and 14 points from Andrea Dovizioso in P4 – who also finds himself back in crown contention.
Next week, we stay in Aragon for the Gran Premi Liqui Moly de Teruel round. Can Rins keep up his streak, and can Mir keep his crown?
Feature Image: MotoGP.com