Franco Morbidelli hauled himself back into 2020 MotoGP World Championship title contention with a second victory of the season in the Teruel MotoGP at Aragon.

The Italian got the jump from the first corner on Takaaki Nakagami, who ruined his hopes of a maiden victory with a crash on the opening lap, before holding a steady advantage over Alex Rins until the chequered flag.

Marking his second win of the season - and only the second rider to notch up more than a single triumph together with his Petronas SRT Yamaha team-mate Fabio Quartararo - Morbidelli’s win spears back into a more formidable title contention.

Nakagami got a good start from his first pole position, rebuffing - literally - fellow front row starters Morbidelli and Alex Rins, but his race would last no longer than five corners when he spiralled out of the lead in a startling outcome for a rider that has largely dominated all weekend and hadn’t suffered a DNF all season.

His exit came moments after a big accident involving Jack Miller and Brad Binder, prompted by the latter running into turn two too deep and clipping the back end of the Ducati ahead of him. 

From here the race settled down as Morbidelli and Rins broke away from a chasing pack initially led by Johann Zarco. As expected, Joan Mir began to make gains from his lowly 12th place starting position, anchored by a superb first lap that lifted him right up to fifth position.

Mir was up to third by lap 11 and - in a repeat of last weekend’s race - had Alex Marquez for company, but the Spaniard’s hopes of a third podium on the bounce were scuppered on lap 14 when he slid out of the race at Turn 2.

With Mir unable to make in-roads into the leaders, the fight for the win came down to Morbidelli and Rins, the Italian doing a stellar job to keep his lines faultless to rebuff the Suzuki’s efforts before pulling clear for victory by more than two seconds.

Rins and Mir held on for a third double Suzuki podium of the year, the latter extending his  lead overall again at the behest of Fabio Quartararo, who couldn’t make more of an impression beyond a lacklustre ninth position.

KTM enjoyed a much stronger Sunday at Aragon than a week ago with Pol Espargaro bringing his RC16 home fourth, ahead of Johann Zarco, who prevailed in a thrilling tussle with Miguel Oliveira to finish as the comfortably the best placed Ducati rider.

Maverick Vinales faded to eighth from Quartararo, with Iker Lecuona scoring a best result of his rookie season in ninth.

Danilo Petrucci rounded out the top ten, ahead of Cal Crutchlow and Stefan Bradl, with Andrea Dovizioso’s 13th suggesting the Italian’s title hopes are now over. Tito Rabat returned to the points in 14th, with Bradley Smith the last points’ scorer in 15th.

 

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