The words ‘weird’ and ‘crazy’ have been used more than once this week to describe the 2020 MotoGP World Championship after Franco Morbidelli became the fifth different winner in six races, in so doing prising title fight open just a little bit over.

This Emilia Romagna MotoGP event, however, could well be the weekend where things start to become clearer… finally!. 

Indeed, with one weekend of racing at Misano under their belt, plus a one-day mid-week test, there really will be no excuses for mistakes or a lack of competitiveness this time… and the main players will surely know this.

The pressure is growing, who will come out on top?

2020 Emilia Romagna MotoGP Preview - Misano

Pivotal MotoGP weekend for Quartararo, Vinales 

Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales head into this weekend’s Emilia Romagna MotoGP facing up to some awkward questions after a torrid Sunday that raised doubts about their title credentials.

In Quartararo’s defence, as a rider not to have been in the heat of battle in Moto2 and Moto3, his rocket ascension from barely known debutant to superstar rookie to title favourite in little over 18 months would be enough pressure to wobble even the steeliest of nerves.

Indeed, the Frenchman appeared edgy around a circuit he knew he could be quick on based on 2019, when the same event propelled him from plucky pretender to genuine victory contender. Except last year he was doing so without the consequence of a title looming over him/

Coming back to Misano this weekend will be crucial for him - perform well and he’ll be putting some demons to rest, another error-strewn repeat and it’ll play on his mind.

The same could be said for Vinales, though his trend of blistering one lap pace followed by a nondescript race is not unusual. If Quartararo needs an example of what happens when the demons creep in, he only needs to glance at a very demoralised looking Vinales.

Andrea Dovizioso’s ‘weird’ championship lead

Andrea Dovizioso is having a disappointing season by his high standards, it has to be said. And yet, leading the championship despite just the single win is probably the most Dovizioso thing he has ever done.

Metronomically consistent, while pre-Ducati divorce Dovizioso is clearly unhappy with the bike underneath him (and seemingly the team around him), he keeps plugging away, riding around his issues, notching up the points.

So yes, he is right, leading the championship when by his standards his results have been below par, is indeed ‘weird’. It’s unclear where he stands coming into this weekend’s second Misano race, but if he keeps it sunny side up, even with an underperforming Ducati, he has some very favourable circuits coming up

Who's got their money on Joan Mir?

Could Joan Mir emerge as the most unexpected title contender in 2020? Almost unseen, the Suzuki man has not only crept into the battle just 16 points off the overall lead but he’s snatched status as team leader from right under Alex Rins’ nose.

Having become a little too familiar with the floor in his rookie season, Mir - just like fellow sophomore riders Quartararo and Pecco Bagnaia - have stepped up their game in 2020.

Better still, unlike Quartararo and Bagnaia, Mir has the full weight of factory support behind him and of all the bikes on track, the Suzuki doesn’t look like it is being entirely maximised yet, with single lap and early race performance lacking.

However, over a race distance, the Suzuki appears to be the most consistent, to the extent that it’s no coincidence Quartararo and Dovizioso say it is the machine they fear most when they see it towards the front of the grid. 

Except it was Rins they were worried about before, now it is Mir too, and as his Austria performances and his beautiful pass on Rossi in Misano last week showed, they looking like a very complete package in a season that really could go any which way.

 

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