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MotoGP Catalan GP 2020 Pre-race Talking Points

A Yamaha party in Spain amid big news on the 2021 rider line-up

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It was the kind of day that made you wonder if some things happen by design. On a day when the Petronas Yamaha team announced that Valentino Rossi signed with them for the 2021 season, the team took a 1-2 in qualifying for the MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix. Franco Morbidelli topped the timesheets with Fabio Quartararo in second place ahead of Rossi. 

Yamaha rules

Four of the top five riders in qualifying for the Catalan GP are Yamaha riders, underlying the YZR-M1’s handling capabilities around the technical Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Jack Miller managed to stick his Ducati in fourth place to prevent a Yamaha sweep of the top four positions. Judging by the fourth practice session where riders tend to concentrate on race pace, the winner of tomorrow’s race is likely to be far from a foregone conclusion. 

One (or more) last hurrah


Valentino Rossi’s legion of fans, especially those who make the effort to attend a race, can rejoice. The Italian will race for at least one more year after signing a deal for the 2021 season with the Petronas Yamaha team. The deal was a long time coming, but was finally made official today. It will come as a boost for MotoGP too as 2021 is expected to be a more normal year with progress being made on COVID-19 vaccines. It should allow fans to attend races and more relaxations on international travel restrictions. 

Dismal Dovi


Andrea ‘Desmo Dovi’ Dovizioso is the unlikely MotoGP championship leader after the first seven rounds of an extremely eventful 2020 season. The Italian, who has not been retained by Ducati for 2021, holds a one point lead over Fabio Quartararo. It was an unexpected turn of events given Quartararo’s dominance in the opening two rounds. With Dovizioso only managing 17th place in qualifying, holding on to that lead looks highly unlikely. 

The outsiders


On a day when Yamaha appeared unstoppable in practice and qualifying, it is still worth looking at riders who could make life difficult for them. Suzuki’s Joan Mir was eighth in qualifying and with a measured ride, the championship outsider could be a factor late in the race. Mir is currently just four points behind Dovizioso in the championship and could spring a surprise. KTM’s Pol Espargaro and satellite Ducati rider Johann Zarco are seventh and sixth, respectively and should not be discounted either.

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