MotoGP: Neil Morrison – What can we expect at Jerez?
Throughout the 2020 season Neil Morrison will be providing Racing Lowdown with some exclusive analysis of what he sees in the Moto2 and Moto3 classes.
This will take the form of the topics that Neil is most interested in before and after every Grand Prix.
Who can stop Luca Marini and will see a closer race?
On Thursday Sam Lowes said that he believes the top six will be a lot closer together in the race because everyone has a solid base to start from but also now know how to attack the conditions a little bitter. Nagashimaa, Martin, Lowes, Bezzecchi and Navarro all had fast pace but could find a little extra something. They’ll need to find something to push Marini because he’s the man to beat at the moment.
Ducati poised to close the gap to Yamaha
Ducati had a really good race last weekend with Dovi third, Jack Miller fourth and Pecco Baggnia seventh. Jerez has always been their bogey track but Rd 1 went well and now they’ve a lot of data from last weekend. How many of their problems will they be able to solve for this weekend? Can Dovi get back on the podium or will Miller get a podium? I think that Ducati can make a bigger step forward then the Yamaha’s can so that should make them very interesting to watch this weekend.
The return of SpeedUP
Last Sunday’s performance by the Aspar SpeedUP team showed that the chassis is very good and a well rounded package that can fight with the Kalex’s. This will be the case in terms of the championship as well as individual races. The Aspar riders did well and Jorge Navarro qualified on the front row before being unlucky to have contact at the first corner. I think that without it he would have been in the battle for the podium because this chassis manages its tyres so well. Managing the rear tyre in the sweltering heat will be a massive factor on Sunday. Could Navarro show his championship form? If he’s to have a chance of the title he’ll need to show that form soon.
Will we finally see something from Luthi?
Thomas Luthi was fourth in last year’s championship and was consistent all year but only came to the fore late in the season in terms of speed but so far in 2020 he’s been a distant teth in Qatar and crashed out of last weekend’s race. Time is running out for Luthi and Jerez hasn’t been kind to him in recent years. He needs to find his form because he’s getting older and his teammate, Marcel Schrotter, showed his speed last weekend. Luthi needs to pick himself up and dust himself off because another finish outside the topn ten would make the title look almost impossible.
How good is Albert Arenas?
You can’t argue with Arenas’ scorecard in 2020 because he has two wins from two races and a perfect 50 points. He’s already 14 points clear of second place but is he really a World Champion in waiting or has he been lucky so far? He’s used his experience very well in both races and his race craft has been very solid. He’s been a bit lucky but you need the rub of the green in Moto3. Going by his career to date he has shown inconsistency where he has peaks and troughs. If he wins this weekend he’ll banish any doubts about his championship credentials. It’s going to be interesting to see how he manages his race weekend now that he has a bit more pressure on his shoulders. This weekend could reveal a lot about Arenas.
Redemption for John McPhee?
Arguably no other Moto3 was as consistent as McPhee last weekend in Jerez. From FP1 he was in the ball park and had a solid base setting that meant he could focus on his tyre selection for the race. On Sunday he was really strong and kept a cool head after a bad start. Until the final five corners I think this was the strongest race of his career but we know that the decision to fire attack Arbolino and Arenas wasn’t the best decision to make at the last corner. Even with a non-score last weekend he’s still third in the championship and he has everything to play for. In pre-season testing and the opening two races of the year he’s shown that he can put things right. Racing again at Jerez just seven days later is the perfect chance for McPhee to get his championship back underway. I think that this weekend for McPhee, like with Arenas, is going to give us a real indication of what we can expect from him. Is the title contender that we expect him to be?