World Champion 2020
Alex Rins: 4th (+ 3.697)
Joan Mir: 7th (+ 8.703)
The penultimate race of the year, the Valencia GP, was a tense affair for Team Suzuki Ecstar as Joan Mir faced the first match point of the season. However, the young Mallorcan rode an extremely measured and intelligent race, doing enough to take the 2020 MotoGP World Championship crown in style with a round to spare.
Starting the 27 lap race from 12th and 14th on the grid, Mir and Alex Rins knew it would be tough to repeat the 1-2 result they achieved a week earlier at Ricardo Tormo. However, both riders made solid starts to gain useful places in the early laps.
While Rins began to chase down the lead group, Mir played it safe and ensured he had enough heat into his hard front tyre before lining up those ahead of him.
Rins worked his way into a decent fifth place by Lap 11, and Mir moved up into eighth one lap later.
With just a handful of laps left, Rins had settled into a strong rhythm and he was keeping his rivals at bay. He took a strong fourth place finish to keep himself in the hunt for second in the Championship, simultaneously helping Team Suzuki Ecstar to secure the 2020 Teams’ Championship.
Aware of what needed to be done to take the much coveted crown, Mir took a calm and clever approach to the race, keeping his cool in the high pressure situation and avoiding unnecessary risk. He finished the Valencia GP in seventh place, but crucially has a gap of 29 points in the standings, meaning he is confirmed as the 2020 MotoGP World Champion, an incredible achievement in only his second season in the class, and a momentous day for Suzuki who win their first title for 20 years whilst also celebrating their centenary year and 60 years in racing. Ken Kawauchi - Technical Manager:
“First of all, I have to say a big congratulations to Joan! This season has been very difficult, not only because of the strength of all the competitors but also because of the global situation with Covid-19. Alex has also had a good day and helped us to get the Teams’ Championship, another great achievement! Thank you to everyone who has been fighting with us to make this season a special one, especially to all our staff, sponsors, and fans. I’m very happy, finally we’ve achieved our biggest dream.” Davide Brivio - Team Manager:
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, we could not have hoped for more! To win the title this year, when it’s Suzuki’s 100th anniversary and the 60th year in racing, and also 20 years since the last title - in my wildest dreams I couldn’t imagine something as good as this, it’s truly great. Huge congratulations must go to Joan, he was so consistent and professional throughout. Alex also did a really good job today to get decent points and 4th place. Finally I must thank all the staff - whether at home, in Japan, or here at the circuit - they’ve all worked incredibly hard for this. Thank you so much for everything.” Joan Mir:
“World Champion? It sounds amazing! It’s really hard to find the words at the moment, but I must say thank you to so many people; to Suzuki for this opportunity, I’m so happy to give them a title! To be the person who brings them another crown after 20 years is an unbelievable feeling and a true honour. The entire team did an incredible job, and I’m just so overjoyed with this championship win. I’ve come a long way since being a child with hardly any money to go racing, and my family are to thank for this. I worked very hard to get to the top and this reward is amazing. Today’s race wasn’t easy, but I got the result I needed and I hope to have a great end in Portimao. It’s time to celebrate but we must do it responsibly.” Alex Rins:
“In the end, I wasn’t able to get the title, but I’m so happy for Joan and all of Team Suzuki! It’s incredible that he won the championship in only his second year, and the entire team have worked so hard to achieve this. So the feeling is amazing, even for me. Today Franco had a very strong pace and the best I could do was 4th, but I’m still fighting to get second place in the standings, so I’m happy with the result. I’m hoping to finish the season on a high when we go to Portimao!”