There are only two races left in the crazy 2020 MotoGP season and a champion could be crowned after the Valencian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The field are returning to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo for a second straight week after last Sunday’s European Grand Prix, when Joan Mir’s first win of the season took him to the brink of the title.
The Suzuki star has shot 37 points clear of Fabio Quartararo in the standings, meaning that a podium finish would be enough to make him world champion in only his second season in the premier class.
Back-To-Back Wins Have Been Elusive
Anyone expecting a repeat performance in the second race at the same track within eight days might do well to note that only one of the previous four back-to-back weekends in this unusual season has produced the same winner of both races.
Indeed, the only double win all season came from Quartararo in the first two races of the campaign at Jerez.
Rounds four and five were both in Austria, when Andrea Dovizioso scored his only win of the season in the first race but finished only fifth behind Miguel Oliveira a week later.
Rounds six and seven were both in Misano, when Franco Morbidelli won the first event before finishing ninth behind Maverick Vinales the following week.
And rounds ten and 11 were both hosted at Aragon, with Suzuki’s Alex Rins winning the first race and being runner-up to Morbidelli a week later.
Is 2020 Title a Mir Formality for Joan?
Mir ended talk that he would not be a genuine world champion if he took the crown before he scored his first career victory by standing on the top step of the podium last week.
It was his first win in 29 career MotoGP starts but his consistency after a slow start to the campaign has been critical – last week’s victory was his seventh podium finish in the last nine races.
Mir crashed in two of the first three rounds of the season, masking his potential, but he has finished outside the top five in only one of the ten events he has completed.
With another strong performance likely at Valencia, where he qualified fifth and was fastest in the Sunday warm-up last week, and the final race of the season at Portimao as a safety net, it’s no surprise the 23-year-old is considered a near-certainty for the title.
Who Else is in the Hunt for a Valencia Victory?
With Mir needing only a podium place to capture the crown, the most likely alternative winner is his Suzuki team-mate, Rins.
The Spanish rider has finished first, second and second in the last three races and finished on the podium in four of the last five rounds.
Rins and Quartararo are both on 125 points and a Suzuki one-two in the championship looks a realistic possibility.
Quartararo has been on a terrible run, finishing no higher than eighth at the last four races and the biggest threat to the Suzukis could come from the KTM riders.