Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) was Honda’s top finisher in today’s San Marino MotoGP race, with the manufacturer’s fastest riders Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) unable to race.
Earlier in the day Honda totally dominated the highly competitive Moto3 race, with the first seven riders crossing the finish line aboard NSF250RW machines, which have won the last three Moto3 Riders and Constructors World Championships. Brilliant Japanese teenager Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) finished the race in second place, just behind John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW), to move closer to the series points lead.
The Moto3 result also moved Honda back into the lead of the 2020 Moto3 Constructors World Championship.
Today’s MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 races at Misano will be followed by another three days of action at the seaside venue next weekend. A feature of this year’s MotoGP World Championship - compressed into 15 events due to COVID-19 - are five double-header rounds at the same tracks: Jerez, Red Bull Ring, Misano, Aragon and Valencia. This eases the logistical difficulties of arranging events during a global pandemic.
This wasn’t the easiest weekend for Nakagami - who scored his first MotoGP front row and was fast enough for a podium at the last race. Misano had been fully resurfaced for 2020 but the new asphalt is very, very bumpy, which has caused many riders problems.
Nakagami and his crew worked hard to adapt his 2019-spec RC213V to cope with the bumps. They lowered the bike to make it more friendly to ride, but every adjustment in racing comes with a trade-off, so the bike didn’t react to rider inputs quite as quickly as usual.
The 28-year-old from Chiba started from 14th on the grid and did well to work his way forward during the 27-lap race, even though for some reason he couldn’t run the pace he expected. By half-distance he was tenth, battling with Johann Zarco and Pol Espargaro. And by the finish he claimed eighth place. However, on the final lap he exceeded track limits by a fraction, which carries a one-place sanction, so he was credited with ninth.
Once again Honda went racing without reigning MotoGP king Marquez, winner of six of the last seven MotoGP World Championships with RC213V machines. The 27-year-old is currently recovering from a broken arm sustained during July’s season-opening Spanish GP.
Crutchlow was hoping to race here. He rode on Friday but was declared unfit yesterday morning due to post-surgery issues with his right arm. The 34-year-old three-times MotoGP race winner hopes to return at the Catalan GP at the end of this month.
Reigning Moto2 World Champion Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) and former Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) finished today’s race just outside the points, nonetheless learning plenty that will help them take steps forward when practice for next weekend’s Emilia Romagna GP commences on Friday.
Rookie Marquez took the flag in 17th, 22, seconds behind the winner, a difference of just nine tenths of a second per lap, which only goes to show how incredibly close and competitive is the premier class. However, he was not happy with his ride because he was only able to ride at his best during the closing stages.
HRC test rider Bradl, who once again substituted for Marquez Senior, finished one place behind his rookie team-mate. The 30-year-old German suffered from a nerve problem in his right elbow, which caused numbness in his fingers. Although there is a group MotoGP tests planned for Tuesday here, he will not take part, so he can rest the arm in time for next weekend.
Moto2 victory went to local hero Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex), who very nearly led the race from start to finish, chased by Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex), winner of last month’s Styrian Moto2 race.
Marini got the holeshot from pole position and quickly settled into an unbeatable rhythm, followed by Bezzechi and Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex), winner of the Andalusian and Czech rounds. Only when Marini hit a false neutral a few laps from the finish did Bezzecchi snatch first place. The team-mates swapped the lead on several more occasions, Marini finally winning the day.
Thus the half-brother of former MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi topped an all-Italian podium, with Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex) the only other rider in sight, finishing 2.177 seconds behind Marini.
Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) finished 18th, just three positions away from scoring World Championship points, after losing time hitting several false neutrals. The 21-year-old Thai rider will now analyze the data from this weekend’s race to improve for next weekend’s action at Misano.
Andi Farid Izdihar (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) made a strong start to the race but sadly slipped off in the closing stages. However, the 23-year-old Indonesian rider feels that this was mostly a positive weekend, because he learned a lot that will help him here next Sunday and in future races.
Today’s Moto2 race lacked title challenger Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo Kalex), who last week tested positive for COVID-19. The Spanish youngster was therefore not allowed to attend this race and is self-isolating at home.
Moto3 pole-position man Ogura rode a superb race to move to within five points of the Moto3 World Championship lead. The 19-year-old from Tokyo finished second, 0.037 seconds, behind winner McPhee and 0.195 seconds in front of Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW).
The 150th MotoGP race was utterly dominated by Honda, with NSF250RW riders taking the first seven finishing positions. The all-Honda podium was covered by just 0.232 seconds, while the top seven were separated by 0.833 seconds.
Ogura and Suzuki made their own bit of history - they are the first Japanese duo to stand together on a Moto3/125cc podium since Youichi Ui and Honda’s Noboru Ueda finished first and third at the Africa GP of April 2001.
The race was a thriller even by Moto3 standards. When the checkered flag was waved the top ten riders were covered by 1.121 seconds.
McPhee’s first victory of the year was a minor miracle, because he had to fight back from 17th on the grid, the result of a minor tumble in yesterday’s qualifying sessions. The result put him back in the title hunt, following a crash at the Styrian GP three weekends ago.
By half-distance the most experienced rider in the class had worked his way into 14th, then he kept cool and calm to take the lead with just three laps remaining. The final few laps were as frantic as ever, as McPhee battled back and forth with the lead group, finally crossing the line ahead of Ogura, Suzuki, Jeremy Alcoba (Kommerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW), Gabriel Rodrigo (Kommerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW), Tony Arbolino (Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) and Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW).
Ogura started from pole but found the first half of the race quite difficult. Most important was that he was able to extract the maximum from his NSF250RW when it really mattered. In the final laps he pushed towards the front and was right in the hunt for victory.
Ogura has now finished on the podium in five of the seven races - proof that he is a genuine championship challenger.
Suzuki was also delighted - back on the podium after three unsatisfying races at Brno and Red Bull Ring. The 22-year-old from Chiba won July’s Andalusian GP.
Honda riders now occupy four of the first five positions in the championship standings, with Ogura just ahead of McPhee, Suzuki and Arbolino.
Rookie Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) once again made it to the finish, learning more in his apprenticeship season. The 17-year-old from Setagaya is working hard to adjust his mentality for the race - taking a calmer approach which will allow him to ride more naturally. He took the flag in 23rd place.
The MotoGP paddock once again stays put following today’s racing, because next weekend Misano hosts the Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna. After next Sunday the 2020 action moves to Barcelona, for the Catalan GP on September 27.
|1||Franco MORBIDELLI (Petronas Yamaha SRT)|
|2||Francesco BAGNAIA (Pramac Racing)|
|3||Joan MIR (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|4||Valentino ROSSI (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)|
|5||Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|6||Maverick VIÑALES (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)|
|7||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|8||Jack MILLER (Pramac Racing)|
|9||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)|
|10||Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)|
|11||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|12||Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)|
|13||Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)|
|14||Iker LECUONA (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|15||Johann ZARCO (Esponsorama Racing)|
|16||Danilo PETRUCCI (Ducati Team)|
|17||Alex MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|18||Stefan BRADL (Repsol Honda Team)|
|19||Bradley SMITH (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)|
|RT||Tito RABAT (Esponsorama Racing)|
|RT||Fabio QUARTARARO (Petronas Yamaha SRT)|
|1||Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|2||Marco BEZZECCHI (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|3||Enea BASTIANINI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|4||Xavi VIERGE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|5||Augusto FERNANDEZ (EG 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|6||Thomas LUTHI (Liqui Moly Intact GP)|
|7||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (+ EGO Speed Up)|
|8||Sam LOWES (EG 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|9||Aron CANET (Openbank Aspar Team)|
|10||Joe ROBERTS (Tennor American Racing)|
|11||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Flexbox HP 40)|
|12||Marcos RAMIREZ (Tennor American Racing)|
|13||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|14||Simone CORSI (MV Agusta Forward Racing)|
|15||Nicolo BULEGA (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)|
|16||Jake DIXON (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|17||Stefano MANZI (MV Agusta Forward Racing)|
|18||Somkiat CHANTRA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|19||Bo BENDSNEYDER (NTS RW Racing GP)|
|20||Kama Daniel BIN KASMAYUDIN (Onexox TKKR SAG Team)|
|RT||Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|RT||Hafizh SYAHRIN (Openbank Aspar Team Moto2)|
|RT||Marcel SCHROTTER (Liqui Moly Intact GP)|
|RT||Andi IZDIHAR (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|RT||Jesko RAFFIN (NTS RW Racing GP)|
|RT||Edgar PONS (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)|
|RT||Jorge NAVARRO (+ EGO Speed Up)|
|RT||Hector GARZO (Flexbox HP 40)|
|1||John MCPHEE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|2||Ai OGURA (Honda Team Asia)|
|3||Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)|
|4||Jeremy ALCOBA (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3)|
|5||Gabriel RODRIGO (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3)|
|6||Tony ARBOLINO (Rivacold Snipers Team)|
|7||Jaume MASIA (Leopard Racing)|
|8||Romano FENATI (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)|
|9||Dennis FOGGIA (Leopard Racing)|
|10||Andrea MIGNO (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|11||Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)|
|12||Ryusei YAMANAKA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|13||Riccardo ROSSI (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy)|
|14||Stefano NEPA (Valresa Aspar Team)|
|15||Carlos TATAY (Reale Avintia Moto3)|
|16||Deniz ONCU (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|17||Kaito TOBA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|18||Davide PIZZOLI (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy)|
|19||Jason DUPASQUIER (CarXpert PruestlGP)|
|20||Filip SALAC (Rivacold Snipers Team)|
|21||Khairul Idham Pawi (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|22||Maximilian KOFLER (CIP Green Power)|
|23||Yuki KUNII (Honda Team Asia)|
|24||Barry BALTUS (CarXpert PruestelGP)|
|25||Sergio GARCIA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|RT||Albert ARENAS (Valresa Aspar Team)|
|RT||Darryn BINDER (CIP Green Power)|
|RT||Ayumu SASAKI (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|RT||Alonso LOPEZ (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)|
|RT||Raul FERNANDEZ (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|RT||Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46)|