The 2020 MotoGP World Championship won't be forgotten in a hurry and not just because of coronavirus...

Winners and podium dwellers galore, there hasn't been a more unpredictable season in living memory, which makes this Top 10 ranking even trickier to decipher. But we have and attempted to justify our choices... comment below to let us know if we're right (or probably wrong!)

Crash.net MotoGP Top 10 Riders of 2020: 10th - JOHANN ZARCO

From where he ended 2019 to where he was going come the conclusion of 2020, Johann Zarco probably experienced the most significant - and unexpected - change in fortunes over the past 12 months.

His well documented and gnarly divorce from KTM cast an unflattering light on the Frenchman’s following his inability (and apparent unwillingness) to adapt to the RC16, while his downbeat attitude and critique via the media didn’t endear to anyone with the power to potentially rescue him.

Following a false dawn with Honda (where the latter point appears to have cost him the chance to take Jorge Lorenzo’s Repsol Honda seat), Zarco stared down the barrel of a return to Moto2, a series he remains unique in winning twice and one - his divisiveness notwithstanding - he didn’t deserve to be consigned to.

So in comes stage right Ducati in red shining armour to not only save his 2020 hopes with a spot at Avintia Racing but arguably his career overall by setting him back on track towards the upper echelons of the sport.

Even then Zarco wasn’t terribly endearing himself even in the face of obscurity, rather shaming Avintia as an uncompetitive team and going to some lengths to point out he signed for Ducati and not the Spanish outfit.

Still, the deal worked both ways; Zarco had pretty good machinery that belied the minnow team’s status, while Avintia got a quality rider it wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Furthermore, with the fairly solid GP19 still proving quick in the right hands, coupled to the fact the GP20 development had gone in an iffy direction, Avintia ended up having the better bike on several occasions.

Even so, it took Zarco to wring the most from the machine and he did so with aplomb in 2020, his smooth compliant style working very well with the GP19 characteristics.

While there were numerous ‘no way’ moments in 2020, Zarco’s pole position in Brno remains one of the (maybe THE) most unexpected occasions all year. Indeed, if he’d achieved that at the final round after a year of several standout races, it would have made us step back, but here he was in Round 3 starting first...

A landmark day for Avintia Racing, Zarco went on to follow it up with a run to third place - via the BEST execution of a long lap penalty ever seen in grand prix - and the results remained on the cusp of that success with three top fives come season end.

As for our scores, well there were errors and from good positions, including Valencia, while he was of course the trigger - in the FIM’s eyes at least - for that Austria accident that a few inches either way could have been catastrophic for four riders. He loses a bit for team work because, well, of those comments but gains some back by giving them a chance.

For 2021, Zarco is moving on up to the Pramac Racing team and is perfectly placed if Pecco Bagnaia - after a very disappointing end to the year - can’t make the most of his factory opportunity.

It will be très intéressant

 

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