Valencia MotoGP: Mir crowned champion as Morbidelli wins last-lap thriller

Joan Mir has clinched the 2020 MotoGP championship, ending a 20-year wait for Suzuki, as Franco Morbidelli won a last-lap Valencia Grand Prix thriller from Jack Miller

Valencia MotoGP: Mir crowned champion as Morbidelli wins last-lap thriller

Mir is the first new MotoGP champion since Marc Marquez in 2013 and becomes the first rider to win the world crown in Moto3 and the premier class, after coming home a safe seventh place in the Valencia GP.

Miller got the better run into Turn 1 off the line, but ran wide and allowed Morbidelli to come back through, while his SRT team-mate Fabio Quartararo went off at Turn 2 after running out of room in the braking zone.

This dropped Quartararo down the order, with his race lasting until lap nine when he crashed at Turn 6 having once again dropped out of the points, completely ending his championship hopes.

Mir navigated the opening lap safely, putting his Suzuki into 10th while Suzuki team-mate Alex Rins had leaped up from 14th to seventh.

Morbidelli engaged supremely consistent pace in the opening laps to quickly build a buffer over the chasing Miller and KTM of Pol Espargaro.

By lap seven his lead stood at seven tenths of a second, with Morbidelli opening that gap up to 1.2s by the 13th tour.

Then the SRT rider's lead started to come down, with Miller getting to within one second by lap 18 and continuing to eat into Morbidelli's advantage over the next few tours.

With five laps to run, Miller was just three tenths behind Morbidelli, though the Italian responded in turn to get his lead back up to half a second.

Miller nailed his run out of the final corner to use the brute power of the Pramac Ducati to pass Morbidelli into the first corner at the start of the final lap, and just about held on despite running wide.

Morbidelli threw his Yamaha back up the inside of Turn 2, with Miller retaliating at Turn 4 - though this was once again countered with a daring raid on the inside of Turn 5 from Morbidelli.

The Italian clung on by 0.093s on the run to the chequered flag to score his third win of the 2020 season, with KTM's Pol Espargaro a distant third.

Alex Rins was fourth on his Suzuki, but it wasn't enough to delay Mir's coronation. Rins beat Brad Binder (KTM) and the Tech3 of Miguel Oliveira.

Mir pipped Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso to seventh, with Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro and Yamaha's Maverick Vinales rounding out the top 10.

The final points were taken by Pramac's Francesco Bagnaia, Yamaha's Valentino Rossi, Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda, Stefan Bradl (Honda) and Ducati's Danilo Petrucci.

Takaaki Nakagami crashed out late on at the final corner attempting to take third from Espargaro, while Joahnn Zarco fell from his Avintia Ducati on lap six.

Not since Kenny Roberts Jr in 2000 has Suzuki won the riders' title in the premier class, with Mir becoming just the sixth Suzuki rider in history to be crowned MotoGP world champion.

Valencia MotoGP Results - 27 Laps

Pos Rider Team Gap
1 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha 41m22.478s
2 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati 0.093s
3 Pol Espargaro KTM 3.006s
4 Alex Rins Suzuki 3.697s
5 Brad Binder KTM 4.127s
6 Miguel Oliveira Tech3 KTM 7.272s
7 Joan Mir Suzuki 8.703s
8 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 8.729s
9 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 15.512s
10 Maverick Vinales Yamaha 19.043s
11 Francesco Bagnaia Pramac Ducati 19.456s
12 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 19.717s
13 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 23.802s
14 Stefan Bradl Honda 27.430s
15 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 30.570s
16 Alex Marquez Honda 30.619s
17 Tito Rabat Avintia Ducati 42.365s
18 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 46.472s
- Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Retirement
- Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha Retirement
- Johann Zarco Avintia Ducati Retirement

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Joan Mir , Franco Morbidelli
Teams AB Motoracing
Author Lewis Duncan
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