After a hot and heavy start to the 2020 MotoGP World Championship season in Jerez, the series heads east for round three and the Czech Republic MotoGP in Brno.

With long, sweeping turns with plenty of elevation change, the Masaryk Circuit is in stark difference to that of Jerez and one that could provide a better clue as to who will be the rider to step up and prove their title credentials in the absence of one Marc Marquez



Opportunity knocks for Yamaha duo

Of course, this weekend’s event will be missing its erstwhile dominant world champion after an untimely second operation ruled Marquez out again, putting his title defence in further jeopardy.

While other riders are quick to play down the effect of Marquez’s absence – not to mention the pointed remarks that suggest it has any bearing on the ‘validity’ of a title win – there is no doubt they will be aware an opportunity is presenting itself right now.

To date,Fabio Quartararo has been the rider to take full advantage, his two impressive and well-judged wins proving if it needed to that he has the credentials of a title winner. However, those successes were achieved on a favourable Yamaha circuit, with Brno arguably representing the sterner test that will showcase exactly whether the Frenchman can lead from the front.

With this in mind, the more experienced Maverick Vinales could be considered a greater favourite heading to Brno and though the Spaniard was pleased with his brace of seconds in Jerez, he will need to get the better of Quartararo in the Czech Republic to claw back some momentum.

After all, as delighted as it will be to see Quartararo winning for Yamaha, the manufacturer will surely prefer a title winner from its own stable to be wearing the official colours…

Crunch time for Ducati, Dovizioso

On paper at least, Ducati and Andrea Dovizioso should be considered the pairing to beat, not only in Brno but the following double-header at the Red Bull Ring.

Circuits that have favoured the Ducati Desmosedici in recent years, it is where Dovizioso has taken on – and regularly defeated – Marquez. Without the Spaniard there, stats suggest the path should be clearing for the Italian to succeed.

However, Dovizioso hasn’t been singing the praises of the GP20 to date and while he may have been Marquez’s closest challenger for the past three seasons, if he doesn’t win one or more races over this three-week stretch then one would have to question whether it has the machine to rack up the necessary points elsewhere too…

Has Valentino Rossi turned a corner?

It seems to have been a long time coming, but Valentino Rossi appeared to finally turn a corner on the latest generation Yamaha M1 as he made a long-awaited return to the podium in the Andalusia MotoGP.

Granted his final result was elevated by a few factors – namely a fairly high attrition rate – but Rossi’s step up in competitiveness was evident from start-to-finish as he rode high in practice, qualifying and the race, while at times he had the measure of team-mate Maverick Vinales too, something he hasn’t been able to say for some time.

However, for now at least the podium is an anomaly against the backdrop of ongoing struggles to get the tyres working on his Yamaha M1. As a result, this weekend’s Brno event – scene of his first-ever GP success way back in 1996 – will be watched closely to see whether Rossi has gotten to the bottom of those troubles.