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Valencia GP: Mir on the brink of Suzuki first

12/11/20

The Spaniard could give Suzuki their seventh world championship.

Joan Mir claimed his first MotoGP™ win last Sunday and just seven days later can wrap up the title at the same track.

Suzuki Ecstar rider Mir opened up a 37-point lead at the top of the riders' standings with victory in the European Grand Prix, putting him on the brink of a second world championship after his Moto3™ triumph in 2017.

A podium finish at this weekend's Valencian Grand Prix would see Mir extend Spain's dominance of the top category into a ninth year, following the successes of Jorge Lorenzo in 2012 and 2015 and Marc Marquez in each of the other campaigns

Lights out is scheduled for 14:00 local time (13:00 GMT) on Sunday, which is 12:00am AEDT on Monday 16 November.

LAST TIME OUT

Mir became the fifth rider to claim their maiden MotoGP™ win in the 2020 season after overtaking team-mate Alex Rins with 11 laps remaining in the first race at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

Fabio Quartararo's hopes of keeping the pressure on the championship leader were severely dented by a crash at turn eight, from which he could only recover to finish 14th.

Rins followed Mir over the line to give Suzuki their first one-two since 1982, with pole-sitter and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pol Espargaro unable to end his wait for a first win in the premier class.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN VALENCIA

There is no significant pressure on Mir to produce big this weekend – he could seal the title without scoring any points, while finishing as low as seventh would do the job as long as Quartararo, Rins or Maverick Vinales do not win in Valencia.

Suzuki could have another reason to celebrate as well, with a first constructors' title since 1982 in reach for the Japanese manufacturer in the penultimate grand prix of the year.

Marc Marquez has confirmed he will not return this season so Stefan Bradl will hope to make the most of his final two races as the six-time champion's replacement at Repsol Honda.

Another rider looking to go out with a bang will be Andrea Dovizioso, who announced this week he will take a sabbatical in 2021 after his eight-year association with Ducati ends.

TOP FIVE STATS

Breaking new ground – Mir could give Suzuki their seventh world championship in the premier class. It would be their first in the MotoGP™ era and first since Kenny Roberts Jr in 2000.

Double digits – His success last weekend made Mir the ninth different winner in the 2020 MotoGP™ season, equalling the record set in 2016; never before have 10 different riders topped the podium in the same campaign in the premier class.

Demise of a challenger – After winning the first two races of the year, Quartararo has only reached the podium in one of the past 10 races.

Unhappy hunting ground – Vinales has not finished in the top three in each of his past five races, his worst run since going six without doing so in 2016. He is yet to score a MotoGP™ podium at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

Retiring Rossi – Monster Energy Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi has retired from four straight grand prix starts for the first time in his career in all categories. He has five abandonments in total in 2020 and has never had six in the same campaign in his 25 seasons in all categories.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
Riders
  1. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 162
  2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 125
  3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 125
  4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 121
  5. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) 117
Teams
  1. Suzuki Ecstar 287
  2. Petronas Yamaha 205
  3. Ducati 194
  4. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 182
  5. Monster Energy Yamaha 159