MotoGP 2020 Round 07 San Marino

Nakagami Ninth, Honda Monopolizes Misano Moto3 Podium

Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Italy, September 13, 2020
Rd.7 Gran Premio Lenovo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini

Report

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.

Comments

MotoGP

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 9th
 MotoGP Takaaki Nakagami“Today was definitely quite a positive race for us because yesterday and Friday we were losing time and we did not put in a good enough performance in qualifying - 14th on the grid is not good for the race. But with the new holeshot device we are definitely improving at the start, and during the race the lap times were quite consistent around 33.1 or 33.2. But this morning we got the top time in warm-up, which was really, really good for the team and were able to do a 32, but in the race we were not able to do that, so we need to understand what the difference was between the warm-up and the race. It’s another top ten and we need to see how we can improve for the next race, but definitely in the next race we can fight for the podium again. We are really looking forward to another Misano race weekend, we’ll stay positive and keep working hard to get that first podium.”

Alex Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 17th
 MotoGP Alex Marquez“Our pace today was good, especially towards the end of the race where I was able to lap at a similar speed to the leaders. My fastest lap of the race was my last one. We have made a big step from yesterday with the bike and it felt good today. It was a good race; I had a hard battle with [Danilo] Petrucci and we touched a couple of times. But it was really the grid position that hurt us today, otherwise I think we could have been up with Binder and Oliveira. Compared to where we started this weekend it’s not so bad, but we still need to be more consistent.”

Stefan Bradl, Repsol Honda Team: 18th
 MotoGP Stefan Bradl“It was a frustrating race, I had a problem with the nerve in my right elbow that started yesterday but in the race it became worse. It’s not arm pump, but my two small fingers were going numb. Because of this I was about one second off my normal pace. Already it was not in the plan for me to test here Tuesday, so I will use the time to rest the arm. Hopefully we can come back next week stronger.”

Moto2

Luca Marini, Sky Racing Team VR46: 1st
“A great race - I really enjoyed the battle with Marco. I had a great feeling all weekend. The team did a great job, we were both fast and competitive. I did well in qualifying and in the race, except for the false neutral I got once at Turn 14, everything went in the right way.”

Marco Bezzecchi, Sky Racing Team VR46: 2nd
“I am very happy with this podium at my home GP. I had a great start and I tried to give my best, but Luca was very fast. We had a good fight, but he had something more in the race and in the last laps. We have been competitive all the weekend, the team has done a great job and I can't wait to get back on track next Friday.”

Enea Bastianini, Italtrans Racing Team: 3rd
“I am very happy with this podium because last night I felt sick, which made me worried for the race. Today I felt better and I was able to ride well and my team worked so hard to give me a great bike. When I nearly crashed and saved the fall with my elbow I thought of all the times I have watched Marc Marquez do this! That lost me some time and although I closed the gap again on Luca and Marco I was not able to overtake them.”

Somkiat Chantra, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 18th
 Moto2 Somkiat Chantra“I cannot be happy with this result. From the beginning of the race I tried to follow the riders of the first group, but three times I made a mistake, getting a false neutral, which lost me a lot of time and the ability to go with the group. In sector one, throughout the weekend, I was too slow. I hope next weekend I will find the solution to be competitive.”

Andi Farid Izdihar, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: DNF
 Moto2 Andi Farid Izdihar“I crashed in Turn One with 10 laps to go. It's a pity because I was doing many things well. I understood how important the start of the race is and the two first laps. This time I did those laps well and I was in the top 20. I tried to stay there, but I struggled on some points. Even if I crashed, I think the balance is positive because I've learned a lot, now I'm a better rider than before I arrived here."

Moto3

John McPhee, Petronas Sprinta Racing: 1st
 Moto3 John Mcphee“I’m over the moon! It’s a dream come true to be on the top step here after the last race and all the problems there. I tried to set all my times on my own on Friday and then I completely let the team down in qualifying, by having a crash right at the start. That race just couldn’t have gone any better for me though: it went perfectly to plan and I felt so strong. I knew it would be hard to make my way through, but on the first lap I was already up to P11 so I just tried to keep calm and creep my way forward. I found myself back in 14th so I just tried to mount a charge to see what happened. On that last lap I felt really strong, so I knew I could pass one or two guys in the last few corners if I needed. I just want to say a massive thank you to the team; I couldn’t have done it without them. It’s still early days in the championship, it’s good to close the gap but let’s see what happens next weekend.”

Ai Ogura, Honda Team Asia: 2nd
 Moto3 Ai Ogura“A tough race with a good prize. I’m happy with the position. But I struggled a lot from the beginning to the middle of the race. We need to work on that point for the next weekend. The other riders were very strong in the battle. We have to be ready both for the battle and to be fast. This will be my target for next weekend. To be second in the championship is good, but I just always do my best on the race. Nothing changes.”

Tatsuki Suzuki, Sic58 Squadra Corse: 3rd
 Moto3 Tatsuki Suzuki“I am very happy with this podium at the team’s home race, because this race was really, really tough. There were so many riders pushing so hard - brushing elbows and everything - so it’s great to finish with a good result. The last three races at Brno and in Austria we really struggled. Now let’s see what we can do here next weekend!

Yuki Kunii, Honda Team Asia: 23rd
 Moto3 Yuki Kunii“Today in the warm-up I started to try to change my mentality on riding. And I’m still in the process. I wasn’t completely focused. During the race I tried to apply the same formula, being more relaxed riding, not so stressed. I started to understand that I need to ride more relaxed. I was too scared for some possible injury if I crash. Riding relaxed I’ve seen that I can go faster and nothing happens. This weekend I was not afraid about the result. The important thing was to recover the feeling for the future. I know that I can do it much better."

Results

MotoGP

1Franco MORBIDELLI (Petronas Yamaha SRT)
2Francesco BAGNAIA (Pramac Racing)
3Joan MIR (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
4Valentino ROSSI (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
5Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
6Maverick VIÑALES (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
7Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
8Jack MILLER (Pramac Racing)
9Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)
10Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
11Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
12Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
13Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
14Iker LECUONA (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
15Johann ZARCO (Esponsorama Racing)
16Danilo PETRUCCI (Ducati Team)
17Alex MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
18Stefan BRADL (Repsol Honda Team)
19Bradley SMITH (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
RTTito RABAT (Esponsorama Racing)
RTFabio QUARTARARO (Petronas Yamaha SRT)

Moto2

1Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
2Marco BEZZECCHI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
3Enea BASTIANINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
4Xavi VIERGE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
5Augusto FERNANDEZ (EG 0,0 Marc VDS)
6Thomas LUTHI (Liqui Moly Intact GP)
7Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (+ EGO Speed Up)
8Sam LOWES (EG 0,0 Marc VDS)
9Aron CANET (Openbank Aspar Team)
10Joe ROBERTS (Tennor American Racing)
11Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Flexbox HP 40)
12Marcos RAMIREZ (Tennor American Racing)
13Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Italtrans Racing Team)
14Simone CORSI (MV Agusta Forward Racing)
15Nicolo BULEGA (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
16Jake DIXON (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
17Stefano MANZI (MV Agusta Forward Racing)
18Somkiat CHANTRA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
19Bo BENDSNEYDER (NTS RW Racing GP)
20Kama Daniel BIN KASMAYUDIN (Onexox TKKR SAG Team)
RTTetsuta NAGASHIMA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
RTHafizh SYAHRIN (Openbank Aspar Team Moto2)
RTMarcel SCHROTTER (Liqui Moly Intact GP)
RTAndi IZDIHAR (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
RTJesko RAFFIN (NTS RW Racing GP)
RTEdgar PONS (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
RTJorge NAVARRO (+ EGO Speed Up)
RTHector GARZO (Flexbox HP 40)

Moto3

1John MCPHEE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
2Ai OGURA (Honda Team Asia)
3Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
4Jeremy ALCOBA (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3)
5Gabriel RODRIGO (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3)
6Tony ARBOLINO (Rivacold Snipers Team)
7Jaume MASIA (Leopard Racing)
8Romano FENATI (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)
9Dennis FOGGIA (Leopard Racing)
10Andrea MIGNO (SKY Racing Team VR46)
11Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
12Ryusei YAMANAKA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
13Riccardo ROSSI (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy)
14Stefano NEPA (Valresa Aspar Team)
15Carlos TATAY (Reale Avintia Moto3)
16Deniz ONCU (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
17Kaito TOBA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
18Davide PIZZOLI (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy)
19Jason DUPASQUIER (CarXpert PruestlGP)
20Filip SALAC (Rivacold Snipers Team)
21Khairul Idham Pawi (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
22Maximilian KOFLER (CIP Green Power)
23Yuki KUNII (Honda Team Asia)
24Barry BALTUS (CarXpert PruestelGP)
25Sergio GARCIA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
RTAlbert ARENAS (Valresa Aspar Team)
RTDarryn BINDER (CIP Green Power)
RTAyumu SASAKI (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
RTAlonso LOPEZ (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)
RTRaul FERNANDEZ (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
RTCelestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46)

Photos

 MotoGP Takaaki Nakagami

 MotoGP Takaaki Nakagami

 MotoGP Takaaki Nakagami

 MotoGP Takaaki Nakagami

 MotoGP Takaaki Nakagami

 MotoGP Alex Marquez

 MotoGP Alex Marquez

 MotoGP Alex Marquez

 MotoGP Stefan Bradl

 MotoGP Stefan Bradl

 MotoGP Stefan Bradl

 Moto2 Somkiat Chantra

 Moto2 Somkiat Chantra

 Moto2 Somkiat Chantra

 Moto2 Andi Farid Izdihar

 Moto2 Andi Farid Izdihar

 Moto2 Andi Farid Izdihar

 Moto3 John Mcphee

 Moto3 John Mcphee

 Moto3 John Mcphee

 Moto3 John Mcphee

 Moto3 John Mcphee

 Moto3 Ai Ogura

 Moto3 Ai Ogura

 Moto3 Ai Ogura

 Moto3 Ai Ogura

 Moto3 Ai Ogura

 Moto3 Tatsuki Suzuki

 Moto3 Tatsuki Suzuki

 Moto3 Tatsuki Suzuki

 Moto3 Tatsuki Suzuki

 Moto3 Tatsuki Suzuki

 Moto3 Jeremy Alcoba

 Moto3 Jeremy Alcoba

 Moto3 Jeremy Alcoba

 Moto3 Gabriel Rodrigo

 Moto3 Gabriel Rodrigo

 Moto3 Gabriel Rodrigo

 Moto3 Tony Arbolino

 Moto3 Tony Arbolino

 Moto3 Tony Arbolino

 Moto3 Jaume Masia

 Moto3 Jaume Masia

 Moto3 Jaume Masia

 Moto3 Dennis Foggia

 Moto3 Dennis Foggia

 Moto3 Niccolò Antonelli

 Moto3 Yamanaka Ryusei

 Moto3 Filip Salac

 Moto3 Khairul Idham Pawi

 Moto3 Yuki Kunii

 Moto3 Sergio Garcia

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