Alex Rins scores the win at Aragon
Rins becomes the eighth winner in the last eight MotoGP races, after a heated battle with the younger Marquez
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) took the win at the Gran Premio Michelin de Aragon edging out Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda) by 0.2 seconds after a hard-fought encounter. For his part, nevertheless, Marquez picked up his second consecutive MotoGP podium. Additionally, the weekend’s results takes the MotoGP championship to another twist, as Rins’ teammate Joan Mir now leads the overall standings – the first Suzuki rider to do so since 2000 – after polesitter Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) came in P18 at the chequered flag.
Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was off the starting line like a bat out of hell, as the Spaniard and Quartararo almost came into contact heading into Corner 1. Up the inside of the duo was Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) into the opening left-hander but the Italian went wide, allowing Vinales and Quartararo to come through as the Monster Energy Yamaha man took to lead – and started to take off. Rins, who started off from P8 on the grid, was up to P4 on the opening lap, just ahead of Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), with Mir staying put in P6. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) got shuffled down to P12 on the opening lap from Row 1 as Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) made good early progress into P8 from P13.
Vinales’ gap was up to 0.7 on Lap 1, but Quartararo went quicker on Lap 2 to close it down to half a second. Meanwhile, Rins was up the inside of Morbidelli at Turn 1 as the Suzuki star set his sights on the leading two Yamahas. Morbidelli was then dropped slightly by Rins and Quartararo as the latter then lost out to Rins at the final corner, Quartararo running slightly wide. Vinales’ gap had been up to 0.8 seconds but Rins was flying and the gap was soon under half a second, with Morbidelli gaining pace to creep up to the tailpipes of his teammate. Fifth-placed Mir was the fastest man on track on Lap 5 and Miller and Alex Marquez, just behind, were having a belting scrap.
On Lap 6, Rins was 0.6 seconds faster than Vinales and heading onto the seventh lap of 23, Rins was breathing down his compatriot’s neck. Quartararo had dropped slightly, with Morbidelli and Mir right behind him. Morbidelli then passed Mir and the Petronas Yamaha SRT teammates were alongside each other down the straight. However, not wanting to hand the position over, meant both went wide at Turn 16, allowing Mir to clinch P3. Morbidelli took P4, and Quartararo P5, while Le Mans podium finisher Marquez, now the fastest man on track crept up behind Quartararo.
On Lap 8 at the final corner, Rins passed Vinales to snatch the race lead, while Marquez grabbed P5 off Quartararo, before picking off Morbidelli and on the next lap, was the only rider in the 1:48s –0.2 quicker than even Mir, who was just ahead of him. Meanwhile, with a timing in the late 1:50s Quartararo was being hounded by Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), with Miller, Dovizioso and Crutchlow also coming into the fray, ultimately dropping him to P9.
Up front, the leading four were split by just 1.2 seconds, with Rins leading, while Marquez and Mir in pitched battle. Fifth-placed Morbidelli had no answer for the quartet’s pace. With 10 to go, Marquez was into P3, with a Suzuki 1-2 of Rins and Mir. Further back, Quartararo had fallen to P15, as Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing), Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo of Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder were all through.
Back at the front, Marquez was still consistently in the 1:48s, and Vinales had no answer for the leading three. On Lap 16, Mir and Marquez closed Rins down, with a gap of only 0.6 seconds covering the trio. With seven laps to go, Vinales was nearly two seconds off the front guys and it seemed it was just between the two Suzukis and Alex Marquez for Aragon GP victory. Meanwhile, Quartararo was now P17, running in the 1:51s, as Miguel Oliveira and Red Bull KTM Tech3 teammate Iker Lecuona were through.
With six laps left, Rins’ lead was three-tenths, though Marquez showed no signs of letting up. Down into the penultimate corner, Marquez cut past Mir, snatching P2. The former Moto3 teammates Rins and Marquez were 1-2 and the gap was coming down – in one lap, Marquez over three-tenths quicker, and was turning it so much tighter around the double apex last corner with the medium front tyre. A major warning came Marquez’ way at the final corner, though. With two laps and a corner to go, Marquez was out the seat as he squeezed on the gas – the black tyre mark left was mind-boggling. Marquez then went slightly wide at Corner 1 with Mir not in the fight for victory now.
Two laps to go! Rins had a three-tenth lead over Marquez, which he maintained coming onto the last lap. Mir had to keep an eye out for Vinales, while Morbidelli had Nakagami for company in the battle for the top five. All eyes were on the battle at the front though and Marquez was right there, trying to get into the slipstream down the back straight. It was all about the drive down the 1km long run but Rins got his GSX-RR hooked up nicely. Marquez wasn’t close enough to try his inside sweeping move and Rins made no mistake. Rising over the brow of the hill, Rins took victory by 0.2 seconds ahead of Marquez, another stunning ride by the HRC rider.
Below are the final results of race ten of the 2020 MotoGP season:
Rins’ victory and Mir’s podium hands Team Suzuki Ecstar the lead in the Team’s Championship. Talking of Mir, his sixth podium in his last eight races sees the Spaniard leap ahead of Quartararo for the championship lead, with a six-point advantage over El Diablo heading into the second Aragon race in seven days’ time.