MotoGP: David Emmett – What am I looking forward to at Jerez?
Throughout the 2020 season David Emmett, editor of Motomatters.com, will be providing Racing Lowdown with some exclusive analysis of what he sees in MotoGP.
This will take the form of the topics that David is most interested in before and after every Grand Prix.
What can a fully fit Marquez do?
This is the fittest that we’ve ever seen Marc Marquez in MotoGP. His shoulder is back to full fitness and even though the bike needs some work Marquez is very well placed to do well. He was fast in testing and has dominated races at Jerez in recent years. That’s what makes it interesting to see what he does this weekend. Jerez, being a double header, is a very important part of the season and setting the tone for what we can expect. It’s even more important than normal to start this season strong.
Can Yamaha take advantage of their progress?
The new Michelin is supposed to suit the Yamaha and throughout testing we’ve seen a much improved YZR-M1. The bike is now much stronger in braking and it now has more edge grip with this tyre and that is helping it to improve in the acceleration zone. Yamaha has focused on improving on their weaknesses from last year and now the question becomes what can Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo do?
Last year at Jerez we saw both Petronas Yamaha riders perform strongly so can they do the same again this year? Qualifying will be very important because the Yamaha still needs to be in front of other bikes because it’s so good when it can pick its lines but once it’s in a battle it becomes very difficult. Qualifying on Saturday is very important for Yamaha to start on the front row and Vinales said it was important to get into Turn 1 in the lead and then set his own pace.
Reliability rather than performance is the big question mark for Aprilia
Aprilia made huge steps over the winter with their new bike and it’s clearly a vast improvement on last year’s bike in every area. It’s more powerful, stops better and turns better but there is a big question mark about reliability now. If Aprilia can find reliability the much improved RS-GP and an incredibly motivated Aleix Espargaro could be very strong. It will also be interesting to see how Bradley Smith does with this bike too because he’s fighting for his future. If he wants to get back on the MotoGP grid again he needs points in the opening races and then top ten finishes.
Has KTM made a step forward?
The bike looks much improved and even though it’s still a point and squirt bike it now turns much better. The hard work of test rider Dani Pedrosa is now paying off. Their rider line-up is very strong and Pol Espargaro is motivated to show what he can do as a development rider because he’s been key in this bikes development. Miguel Oliviera is now recovered from his shoulder injury from last year and he’s a very promising rider. He’s one to watch because he was fast during the test this week and looked strong. I’m very interested to see how Brad Binder does because he’s always been a fast learner and he’s got a great attitude for making the step up to MotoGP.
Bogey track for Ducati
Jerez has always been a bogey track for Ducati. They’ve not won here since 2006 and Andrea Dovizioso has never stood on the podium here. In testing Danilo Petrucci had a big crash after hitting some oil and is a bit banged up. In the physically demanding conditions that we’ll see this weekend that will make it even harder for Petrucci. On the Pramac Ducati we’ve seen Jack Miller look relatively untroubled by the Ducati at Jerez. I think he could be a strong contender for Ducati but the key thing is that Dovizioso doesn’t lose too many points this weekend because Ducati know that this will be a difficult brace of races. Dovi needs to keep calm and not lose too many points because once we get to Brno and Austria he’ll be back on form.