Franco Morbidelli fought off Jack Miller to claim his third victory of 2020 in the Valencia Grand Prix, while Joan Mir secured the MotoGP riders world title with seventh.
The Italian was jumped off the initial start by Miller’s fast starting Ducati, though the Aussie swiftly fell to third after missing his braking point into Turn 1.
Morbidelli took advantage of his re-found leading position to extend his lap slowly but surely across the opening half of the contest, though he came under pressure from Miller as the Ducati came on strong across the final handful of laps.
Miller reduced to gap to less than four-tenths as he ranged ever closer, using the slipstream and the straight-line prowess of his Desmosedici to put himself in with a chance of snatching supremacy away from Morbidelli.
Miller managed to dive past the Yamaha into Turn 1 for the final time after perfecting his exit from the final turn, though the Italian cut-back straight after to re-take the initiative into Turn 2.
The Ducati found itself back in the lead moments later as Miller dived lunged back past at Turn 4, before Morbidelli made a decisive final move at the following bend as he secured himself the leading position.
Miller remained close across the rest of the final tour, but found himself unable to deny Morbidelli victory as he took the chequered flag just 0.093 behind.
Pol Espargaro meanwhile bagged a second consecutive rostrum in a lonely third, just over three seconds behind the leading duo.
The KTM pilot looked set to lose the place to a charging Takaaki Nakagami as the race entered its final stanza, the LCR man having closed a two second gap to Espargaro after passing Tech 3’s Miguel Oliviera for fourth several laps earlier.
Nakagami decided to chance a late dive down the inside of the RC16 into the final bend, but he overcooked his move slightly and lost the front of his RC213-V on entry-ending his race in the gravel for the second time in three encounters.
Espargaro was lucky to miss the Honda as he tucked back in for the corner, controlling his gap back to Alex Rins over the remaining laps.
Rins’ fourth position was not enough to take the title fight to the final race of the year as Mir came home seventh to secure Suzuki’s first riders championship since Kenny Robert’s Jr in the year 2000.
Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira kept their KTM’s ahead of the Spaniard as he tried to simply bring his GSX-RR within the top ten, while Andrea Dovizioso narrowly missed out on relieving Mir of his seventh position on the run to the line.
Aleix Espargaro had a solid run to ninth for Aprilia, while Maverick Vinales suffered with a lack of performance all race long to come home tenth.
Fabio Quartararo dropped out of title contention early on following another disastrous race for the Frenchman after dropping to the rear of the field on the opening lap after out-braking himself at Turn 2 and running well off circuit.
An early fightback was curtailed with another mistake that dropped him to 18th, before his chances were ended for good after crashing out at Turn 6 only a third of the way through the contest.
With Mir’s title now secure, all attentions will now turn to who can secure the runners-up position, Morbidelli now in the driving seat just four points clear of wins following his victory.
Vinales profited from Quartararo’s retirement to move into fourth overall-15 points down on Morbidelli-with the Petronas SRT man fifth two points further behind, while Espargaro heads to Portugal 20 points down on second overall.
2020 Valencian Grand Prix Race Result
|1||Franco MORBIDELLI||Petronas Yamaha SRT|
|2||Jack MILLER||Pramac Racing||+0.093|
|3||Pol ESPARGARO||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+3.006|
|4||Alex RINS||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+3.697|
|5||Brad BINDER||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+4.127|
|6||Miguel OLIVEIRA||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||+7.272|
|7||Joan MIR||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+8.703|
|8||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati Team||+8.729|
|9||Aleix ESPARGARO||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+15.512|
|10||Maverick VIÑALES||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||+19.043|
|11||Francesco BAGNAIA||Pramac Racing||+19.456|
|12||Valentino ROSSI||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||+19.717|
|13||Cal CRUTCHLOW||LCR Honda CASTROL||+23.802|
|14||Stefan BRADL||Repsol Honda Team||+27.430|
|15||Danilo PETRUCCI||Ducati Team||+30.570|
|16||Alex MARQUEZ||Repsol Honda Team||+30.619|
|17||Tito RABAT||Esponsorama Racing||+42.365|
|18||Lorenzo SAVADORI||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+46.472|
|19||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||9 Laps|
|20||Fabio QUARTARARO||Petronas Yamaha SRT||19 Laps|
|21||Johann ZARCO||Esponsorama Racing||22 Laps|