Rins resists Marquez for Aragon MotoGP win; Mir leads after Quartararo shocker

Suzuki is celebrating as Alex Rins claims its first win of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship season in Aragon, while Joan Mir is the new points' leader
Alex Rins, French MotoGP, 10 October 2020
Alex Rins, French MotoGP, 10 October 2020

Alex Rins has become the eighth different race winner of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship season after completing Aragon MotoGP victory over an exceptional Alex Marquez, while Suzuki team-mate Joan Mir is the new series leader after Fabio Quartararo suffered a shocking day to finish outside the points.

On a weekend of shifting momentums, it was two manufacturers yet to taste the winners’ champagne - Suzuki and Honda - that would take control of Sunday’s Motorland Aragon race, with Rins and Mir at one stage controlling proceedings as they ran 1-2.

However, a week after stunning the paddock with his 18th to second place charge in the wet at Le Mans, Marquez produced arguably an even better performance this weekend as he clawed his way up the order from 11th to come painstakingly close to snatching a hugely unexpected win in the dry.

On a landmark day for Suzuki, Joan Mir’s third place means he is the new 2020 MotoGP Championship leader with four events remaining after erstwhile front runner Quartararo failed to score in a shocker of a race for the youngster.

Indeed, though some pre-event predictions (Ducati’s form in particular) had gone awry by the time we had reached race day, the final outcome of the Aragon MotoGP still threw up numerous surprises.

Up front Fabio Quartararo started from pole but while it was Franco Morbidelli getting the hole-shot as they dipped for the tight turn one left-hander, his wide exit duly allowed Maverick Vinales to take turn two as the formal early leader from the Petronas SRT Yamaha pair.

Coming into the race vowing to be more aggressive at the start, Vinales was making good on his promises to develop a slight lead over his stablemates. However, it was soon apparent this was less to do with his own pace than the bad performance coming from Quartararo’s Yamaha  in particular, the Frenchman struggling to hit his apexes and hold his lines, something he notorious for otherwise.

What isn’t clear is whether Quartararo was feeling the effects of his bruising accident on Saturday, or whether he was getting a rough deal from the front tyre.

Either way, his struggles invited the chasing pack to descend on both himself and Morbidelli, who was also struggling albeit to a lesser extent. First to attack was Rins, whose inspired straight braking line into turn one at the start - as his rivals bumped one another to his inside - had already lifted him from ninth to fourth, quickly dispatched of Morbidelli and then Quartararo to move into second place.

Shortly afterwards his team-mate Mir followed suit with a beautiful ‘two-for-one’ into the final corner, placing the GSX-RRs second and third and on the hunt for Vinales.

To his credit, Vinales had been holding steady out front but once Rins was released into second place it was inevitable he would pass, the Spaniard getting the move done on lap seven. Mir was soon through too, passing on lap 11 to form a Suzuki 1-2.

You need to go back to Hockenheim 1982 for the last time Suzuki finished a premier class race 1-2 and the odds were looking good to end that drought today, were it not for the stunning charge of one Alex Marquez, a line used last weekend too when he stunned the paddock with his 18th to second wet weather effort.

Even then though, Marquez tempered celebrations by saying it will mean more to him if he can do it in the dry. Just like that he’d get his wish exactly one week later as he catapulted himself up the order from 11th on the grid, picking off his rivals one by one with some deft overtakes to find himself onto a provisional podium.

Coming up against sterner opposition in the two Suzukis, Marquez bided his time and against script successfully managed to dispatch of Mir with six laps to go, with his target now set on Rins to grab a wholly unexpected maiden win around the circuit his brother Marc and Repsol Honda have made their own in recent years.

However, with Rins putting on a masterclass in fast defensive riding and Marquez getting a few warning signals from his increasingly loose Honda, it was the Suzuki man taking the chequered flag.

His third career MotoGP win, it makes him - remarkably - the eighth different race winner in ten races.

Perhaps even more surprising is the fact his team-mate’s third place finish means he is now the new championship leader with four events to go, despite not being one of those riders to have topped the podium in 2020. He leads Quartararo - who could only manage 18th in the end - by six points.

Vinales spared some Yamaha blushes in fourth position, while Takaaki Nakagami snatched fifth place on the final lap from Morbidelli to maintain his excellent top ten finishing record in 2020 on a memorable day for Honda’s unsung heroes.

Following Saturday’s drama, Andrea Dovizioso will be counting his lucky stars for Quartararo’s issues as he closes the gap down to the front again with his modest seventh place, ahead of Cal Crutchlow - who went from third to 11th at the first corner after contact from a rider ahead - in eighth, while Jack Miller and Johann Zarco rounded out the top ten.

A desperate day for KTM ended with Brad Binder its best representative in 11th place, ahead of team-mate Pol Espargaro, while Aprilia’s season muddles along with Aleix Espargaro in a distant 13th having started 10th. Iker Lecuona and Danilo Petrucci complete the points’ paying positions, finishing ahead of a forlorn Quartararo.

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