The absence of Marc MARQUEZ has created one of the most unpredictable and exciting MotoGP seasons in recent memory, the action has been unbelievable.
Yet it must be said that no one rider has really stepped up to take on the mantel of class leader, in fact it has almost seemed like no one actually wants to win the 2020 MotoGP title.
So with 7 rounds run and another 7 to go, we thought we give each rider a score card out of 10 on their season so far.
Andrea DOVIZIOSO – 5.5
5.5 might seem a little harsh for the man currently leading the championship. We just think Desmo Dovi has just been too inconsistent in terms of raw pace.
Clearly there are a lot of politics in the Ducati camp and Dovi has struggled to find a good base setting for the 2020 machine. However, Dovi has been Ducati’s num 1 rider for years plus he has had a lot of say in their development path.
Dovi has had a lot of time and opportunities to get the job done. With Marquez away he should be running away with this title, but he is not.'
Fabio QUARTARARO 6.2
Last years rookie sensation hit the ground running at the beginning of this season. Quartararo was in scintillating form, after the first 2 rounds he had bagged the maximum available 50 points. Since then though, he has only managed a further 33 points within 5 races which has included 2 x DNFs that were his own fault.
Fabio’s pace has remained quite strong however he needs to deliver solid points even when he and his Petronas SRT Yamaha isn’t the strongest package.
In Misano 1, while he crashed out from a silly self-inflected error his teammate went on to comfortably win the grand prix. Misano 2 he lost the podium because apparently didn’t see the warning on his dash. While the track limits rule may suck but a rider knows when they are exceeding track limits and shouldn’t need to see a warning.
Still 2020 has seen him take his first 2 MotoGP victories so there are positives but he needs to deliver more.
Maverick VIÑALES – 7.5*
We found scoring Maverick a little hard. On one side of the fence a rider of his experience should be constantly delivering come Sunday. Apparently following Misano 2 Mav and team are confident they have found a solution to his lack of Sunday pace. The jury is still out on that one.
On the other side of the fence Mav has had some serious difficulties to deal with. In recent times facing the media scrutiny on his lack of Sunday pace and let’s not forget what happened at the Red Bull Ring.
First, he was nearly decapitated by Zarco’s Ducati, then the following weekend he suffered brake failure at nearly 300Km/h. Those incidents in quick succession would rattle anyone. The fact that Maverick bounced back with 2 x Pole positions and a race win last weekend is why we have scored him higher than his Sunday form warrants. That shows some serious determination.
*Maverick also score extra credit for his dismount when his brakes failed. It was very quick thinking, well executed and saved him from very serious injury.
Marc MARQUEZ– 4.5
He might be absent, but we are still going to score the 8 times world champion. First off, he should score 20 out of 10 for that absurd front end save at Jerez in the first round. Then a 15 out of 10 for his fight back through the field before it all went wrong.
While the mistakes were of his own doing, it is now very clear to how much he has been out riding the Honda.
The reason we have scored him so low was his attempted comeback and what that approach has done to his recovery time. While at the time it may have seemed heroic it was a massive injury and if you took a proper step back you could see how equally absurd the attempted comeback was. If instead he rested properly straight away, he might well already be back and still have an outside chance of the title.
Marquez’s win at all costs mentally was always going to catch up with him at some point.
Joan MIR – 8.2
Joan Mir entered the MotoGP with a lot of hype surrounding him and now we are starting to see why. We have to remember Mir suffered big injuries in the post-race test at Bruno in 2019, from which he has steadily climbed his way back to form.
The Vinales brake failure and subsequent red flag cost him a certain victory in the Styrian Grand Prix. On the negative side Mir has crashed out of a race twice this year, first in the first round at Jerez and second at the Chec Grand Prix. In the 5 other grand prix Joan has finished in the top 5, twice on the podium and if wasn’t for that red flag he’d probably be leading the championship.
One lap qualifying pace has been a struggle for the Suzuki’s however Mir more than makes up for it with his canny race craft and super ballsy, yet calculated passes that stick!
If it wasn’t for the 2 crashes Mir would have scored well into the 9s and is still our highest scorer on this list.
Franco Morbidelli – 7.8
Franco’s break through win at Misano was simply a master class. Everyone watching the race probably expected Morbidelli to fade as the race went on, but he actually got stronger.
He didn’t get to back up that strong performance due to illness and Aleix Esparagaro almost taking him out on lap one.
Franco suffered a mechanical DNF while in 4th place in the 2nd Jerez Grand Prix and who could forget that frightening incident with Zarco at the Red Bull Ring.
Another positive was his pace at Brno where he finished a strong 2nd to the brilliant Brad Binder.
It’s been a strong 3rd year for Franco in MotoGP
Jack MILLER – 7.3
Our own Jack Miller has had a pretty dam good season so far. While jack is still having probably a few too many crashes they are becoming less frequent on race day. His ability to dust himself off and push through the pain barrier has also been very impressive.
Jack has had great pace most of the time and when he hasn’t he is still scoring points rather than throwing it away as he used to do all too often.
Tyre management over race distance remains and area Miller needs to continue to work but the progress from jack has been positive.
If it wasn’t for retched luck last weekend at Misano Jack would be higher than 6th in the points right now.
Takaaki NAKAGAMI - 7.1
Taka has had flashes of brilliance this year holding up the HRC banner quite well. Nakagami also doesn’t get enough praise for how much he has had to fight his own injury battles following his off season shoulder surgery.
The Honda has been a hard to handle bike and young Taka has done it best of all so far, we give him more than a pass mark.
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Cal CRUTCHLOW – 1.3
Sorry Crutchlow fans but it seems that Cal has spent more time injured over the last 4 years than fit. There is no doubting his pace on his day, but those days are just too far and few between these days.
Now we learn he has ruptured his left ankle ligaments as he slipped in the paddock upon his arrival to Circuit de Catalunya. Seriously you would think MotoGP 2020 is a scripted sitcom rather than real life sport.
Maybe it’s time for Cal to return to WSBK, either that or take up permanent residency in a hospital?
Miguel OLIVEIRA – 6.5 (7.5)
It’s been a bit of a yoyo season for Miguel, he has taken his first ever MotoGP win but also has had his fair share of bad luck and inconsistent results. Twice he has been taken out by one of the KTM factory riders.
His win in the Styrian Grand Prix was clever but a little bit of a Bradbury taking advantage of others tripping over each other rather than having outright race winning pace, still you have to be able to take advantage of those situation.
We would have scored Oliveira 7.5 instead of 6.5 if it wasn’t for his post-race win celebrations. Miguel you’re not Gene Simmons, no one needs to see that much of your tongue.
Valentino ROSSI – 6.9
The doctor has had a pretty consistent season, often having strong race pace albeit not race winning pace. He has been the top Yamaha more than once; he made a rare mistake crashing out last weekend and has also had a DNF due to a mechanical failure on his M1.
All things considered, in terms of pace this has been one of Rossi’s stronger seasons in recent years. Rossi also seems to have more of his old humor back too.
Pol ESPARGARO – 6.5
Scoring Pol was hard to be honest. We have been very critical him this year with his silly mistakes under pressure and his carry on afterwards. Deservedly so we might add.
He has had strong pace but has to push so hard in order to obtain that pace that he is crashing frequently. At least he openly admits this.
Pol has scored 2 podiums this year and his last one was brilliant. The length of time he held off Quartararo after his tyre had completely fallen off the cliff was very impressive. Under heavy pressure he made no mistakes and kept fighting even though it was a battle he was always going to lose. Fighting so hard meant he was close enough to capitalise on Fabio’s post-race penalty, that’s the sort of ride we need to see from Pol more often than not. Well done!
Brad BINDER – 8.0
The brilliant Binder scores high in our midyear assessment as we are putting it in context, this is his rookie season!
It’s not up to him to play smart or consistent yet, it’s up to him to make his mark and find pace in the MotoGP class. His win a Brno was on pure pace and merit, it was nothing short of brilliant!
He has made a few errors and taken a couple of riders out but that’s what we would expect from a rookie. His goal should be finding pace. We love his no nonsense approach we just need to see better qualifying pace to score him any higher, which he started to show at the most recent round.