Morbidelli dominates Teruel GP as Nakagami and Marquez crash

by Matt Beer
4 min read

Petronas Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli became only the second rider to claim a repeat MotoGP win in 2020, dominating the Teruel Grand Prix at Aragon.

Morbidelli inherited the lead when LCR Honda poleman Takaaki Nakagami crashed immediately on the opening lap, and was never headed from there, winning the race by 2.2 seconds.

Suzuki rider Joan Mir bagged a sixth podium in eight races and extended his lead in the championship, having beaten all his main title rivals.

Pre-race favourites Nakagami and Honda stablemate Alex Marquez were the only two full-time riders to have finished every race this season heading into the Teruel GP, but Honda’s hopes of a first win in 2020 were extinguished when Marquez also crashed out.

At the start, Nakagami had got a good launch from pole position to keep the lead at Turn 1, although then had to defend position at the next corner – as Morbidelli, having got a poor launch and dropped down to fourth, slingshotted out of the corner to regain the positions he’d lost and challenge Morbidelli.

And when the LCR rider was wide exiting Turn 4 and hit the deck as he tried to tip in for the Turn 5 left-hander. Morbidelli inherited the lead.

He and Aragon Grand Prix winner Rins (Suzuki) swiftly began to break away from third-placed Johann Zarco (Avintia Ducati), putting two seconds between themselves and the chasing pack in the first third of the event.

They were never seriously threatened by anyone else from there on, and while Rins stayed within half a second of Morbidelli in the first half of the race, the latter broke away in the final 10 laps.

Further down the order, Mir and Marquez, who had both started on the fourth row, were already into the top five by the seventh lap. The former dispatched Maverick Vinales under braking to Turn 12 and the latter getting past him exiting onto the back straight.

They soon arrived at the back of Zarco, but it took Mir until the 11th lap to finally overtake the 2019-spec Ducati, sliding down the inside of Zarco at Turn 4. Marquez followed suit at Turn 16, but was overtaken on the main straight, only to then copy Mir’s Turn 4 move and complete the pass for good.

Yet by then Mir was a second up the road, and after failing to make up much ground in the next few laps Marquez fell at Turn 2, dropping out of contention for a third consecutive podium.

Mir ran the rest of the race a very lonely third, either unable or unwilling to push to make inroads on the leaders.

Zarco’s pace faded in the closing stages and he was overtaken by his former team-mate Pol Espargaro (KTM) late on, before then coming under pressure from the Tech3-run KTM of Miguel Oliveira, fending off the Portuguese rider by 0.038s at the flag.

Yamaha works rider Vinales and Morbidelli’s team-mate Fabio Quartararo both looked nowhere near matching Morbidelli’s pace as they tumbled down the order, although both limited the damage to their championship aspirations.

Vinale held on to seventh, while Quartararo was half a second back in eighth, earning a late reprieve when Aleix Espargaro, who had been chasing after him, pulled up with mechanical issues while en route for Aprilia’s best finish of the campaign.

Quartararo now trails Mir by 14 points with three races to go, with Vinales and Morbidelli a further 5 and 11 down respectively.

Tech3 KTM rider Iker Lecuona matched the best finish of his rookie campaign so far in ninth, while Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci beat LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow to 10th in a last-lap duel.

It was a predictably painful race for Andrea Dovizioso after starting 17th, even though the Ducati man had made good progress initially.

But when running ninth and putting pressure on Quartararo Dovizioso suddenly appeared to run out of grip as he lost several positions in successive corners and came home 13th.

While Dovizioso retains an outside shot at the title, 28 points down on Mir, the championship campaign is as good as over for his fellow Ducati rider Jack Miller (Pramac), who was wiped out by KTM’s Brad Binder at Turn 2 on the first lap.

The only other retirement besides the aforementioned was Bagnaia, who called it a race five laps in after hitting some unseen trouble.

Race Results

Pos Name Team Bike Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 23 23 41m47.652s 1m48.089s 0 25
2 Alex Rins Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 23 0 +2.205s 1m48.235s 0 20
3 Joan Mir Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 23 0 +5.376s 1m48.508s 0 16
4 Pol Espargaró Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 23 0 +10.299s 1m48.568s 0 13
5 Johann Zarco Avintia Racing Ducati 23 0 +12.915s 1m48.483s 0 11
6 Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 23 0 +12.953s 1m48.467s 0 10
7 Maverick Viñales Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 23 0 +14.262s 1m48.527s 0 9
8 Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 23 0 +14.72s 1m48.863s 0 8
9 Iker Lecuona Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 23 0 +17.177s 1m48.758s 0 7
10 Danilo Petrucci Ducati Team Ducati 23 0 +19.519s 1m48.793s 0 6
11 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 23 0 +19.708s 1m48.84s 0 5
12 Stefan Bradl Repsol Honda Team Honda 23 0 +20.591s 1m48.954s 0 4
13 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team Ducati 23 0 +22.222s 1m48.833s 0 3
14 Tito Rabat Avintia Racing Ducati 23 0 +26.496s 1m49.247s 0 2
15 Bradley Smith Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 23 0 +31.816s 1m48.758s 0 1
Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 20 0 DNF 1m48.763s 0 0
Alex Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda 13 0 DNF 1m48.186s 0 0
Francesco Bagnaia Pramac Racing Ducati 5 0 DNF 1m50.077s 0 0
Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Honda 0 0 DNF 0s 0 0
Jack Miller Pramac Racing Ducati 0 0 DNF 0s 0 0
Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 0 0 DNF 0s 0 0
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