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Teruel GP: Morbidelli makes most of Nakagami nightmare to stage late title tilt

Monday, 26 October 2020

The LCR Honda rider was the man to beat all weekend.

Franco Morbidelli kept his remote MotoGP™ title hopes alive as he climbed to fourth in the standings with a second win of the season, though only after Takaaki Nakagami crashed out at the Teruel Grand Prix.

With defending champion Marc Marquez ruled out for much of the year due to a fractured arm, there is a tense tussle for the crown in 2020.

Morbidelli was down in sixth coming into Sunday's race at Aragon but had refused to write off his championship hopes, with this victory pushing him into contention.

The Italian benefited from the early exit of Nakagami, who was sharp off the mark after a debut pole but quickly ran wide and skidded off the track before the first lap was up.

It was a miserable day for those on Honda bikes as rookie Alex Marquez - second in the previous two races - climbed from 10th in pursuit of a breakthrough win, only to depart at Turn 2 with 10 laps remaining.

Nakagami and Marquez, the brother of Marc, had been the only two riders to finish every grand prix this season until this point.

Season leader Joan Mir, who is still waiting on a first race win, enjoyed another strong outing, moving through the pack having started down in 12th position.

Mir picked off rider after rider to reach third and kept his cool as the overeager Marquez crashed out. Contenders Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo were down in seventh and eighth respectively.

Mir sits 25 points clear of fourth-placed Morbidelli, who leapfrogged Nakagami and Andrea Dovizioso, the three-time runner-up surely no longer in the mix.

TOP 10
  1. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
  2. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +2.205s
  3. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +5.376s
  4. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +10.299s
  5. Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) +12.915s
  6. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) +12.953s
  7. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +14.262s
  8. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) +14.720s
  9. Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) +17.177s
  10. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +19.519s
  1. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 137
  2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 123
  3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 118
  4. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) 112
  5. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 109
  1. Suzuki Ecstar 242
  2. Petronas Yamaha 235
  3. Ducati 80
  4. Monster Energy Yamaha 176
  5. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 157

There is time to reflect on this race before the riders return to action on November 8 with the European Grand Prix at Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo.