European MotoGP: Mir puts one hand on title with maiden win, Quartararo crashes



Suzuki’s Joan Mir took his maiden MotoGP victory in a dramatic European Grand Prix to put one hand on the title, after a crash for Petronas SRT’s Fabio Quartararo.

Of the top six in the standings ahead of the first Valencia race, Mir was the only one yet to win a grand prix in 2020, but his first – making him the ninth different winner of the year – has given him a 37-point lead to put the title within sight.

Poleman Pol Espargaro got the holeshot into Turn 1 ahead of Alex Rins on the sister Suzuki, with Takaaki Nakagami holding third off the line on the LCR Honda.

Quartararo leaped up to ninth from 11th on the opening lap and was looking to get ahead of Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro at the Turn 8 left-hander when both slid off their motorcycles.

The Frenchman was able to remount at the back of the field, some 15 seconds adrift of the pack, and salvaged two points through misfortune for others – but his title hopes are all but over now, with his deficit to Mir now 37 points.

Rins scythed past Espargaro at the Turn 11 right-hander on the second lap, with Mir copying the move two tours later.

Rins absorbed the pressure from his team-mate behind for a number of laps, with Espargaro just about staying in touch.

But a mistake from Rins on the run into Turn 11 on lap 17 opened the door for Mir to come through into the lead, with the number 36 immediately opening up a gap of half a second.

From this point, Mir took total control of the race and continued to extend his advantage over Rins, coming under no threat through to the chequered flag.

Rins held onto second to give Suzuki its first 1-2 in grand prix racing since 1982, but is now 37 points behind Mir in the championship equal on points with Quartararo – though the latter holds second place in the standings owing to his greater number of wins.

Espargaro completed the podium on the KTM, with Nakagami overhauling Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira in the latter stages to claim fourth, while Jack Miller was sixth on the Pramac Ducati.

Brad Binder recovered from the long lap penalty he was forced to take as punishment for wiping out Miller at Aragon last month to finish seventh and edge a lead in the rookie of the year battle.

Andrea Dovizioso was eighth on the factory Ducati and was lucky not to be wiped out by a crashing Honda of Alex Marquez at Turn 1 on lap 24 having just overtaken the Spaniard.

The top 10 was completed by Avintia’s Johann Zarco and the sister works Ducati of Danilo Petrucci, with Franco Morbidelli the first Yamaha in a lowly 11th as his gamble to run the hard front and rear tyre seemingly backfired.

Stefan Bradl on the Honda followed him home, while Maverick Vinales recovered from his pitlane start to 13th on the works Yamaha ahead of a distraught Quartararo.

Valentino Rossi’s first race since returning from COVID-19 ended in lap five with a technical issue with his Yamaha, while there were crashes for Pramac’s Francesco Bagnaia, Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori and LCR’s Cal Crutchlow.

Aleix Espargaro never remounted from his lap one crash, while Avintia’s Tito Rabat was forced to retire with an issue.

European MotoGP Results – 27 laps

Pos Rider Team Gap
1 Joan Mir Suzuki 41m37.297s
2 Alex Rins Suzuki 0.651s
3 Pol Espargaro KTM 1.203s
4 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda 2.194s
5 Miguel Oliveira Tech3 KTM 8.046s
6 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati 8.755s
7 Brad Binder KTM 10.137s
8 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 10.801s
9 Johann Zarco Avintia Ducati 11.550s
10 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 16.803s
11 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha 17.617s
12 Stefan Bradl Honda 24.350s
13 Maverick Vinales Yamaha 25.403s
14 Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha 39.639s
Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia Retirement
Alex Marquez Honda Retirement
Tito Rabat Avintia Ducati Retirement
Francesco Bagnaia Pramac Ducati Retirement
Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Retirement
Valentino Rossi Yamaha Retirement
Garrett Gerloff Yamaha Withdrawn
Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Retirement

Riders’ Standings

Pos Rider Points
1 Joan Mir 162
2 Fabio Quartararo 125
3 Alex Rins 125
4 Maverick Vinales 121
5 Franco Morbidelli 117
6 Andrea Dovizioso 117
7 Pol Espargaro 106
8 Takaaki Nakagami 105
9 Jack Miller 92
10 Miguel Oliveira 90
11 Danilo Petrucci 77
12 Brad Binder 76
13 Johann Zarco 71
14 Alex Marquez 67
15 Valentino Rossi 58
16 Francesco Bagnaia 42
17 Iker Lecuona 27
18 Aleix Espargaro 27
19 Cal Crutchlow 26
20 Stefan Bradl 16
21 Bradley Smith 12
22 Tito Rabat 10
23 Michele Pirro 4

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