All eyes are on Petronas Yamaha rider Fabio Quartarao, as he heads into round three of the 2020 MotoGP season atop the championship standings.
The French rider took out his, and Petronas’, first and second MotoGP victories in the opening rounds at Jerez, and will look to secure a third at Brno this weekend.
It has been five years since an M1 has taken the top spot at the Czech Republic circuit, and with looming mechanical issues at the Yamaha camp, Quartararo may be in for a challenge.
Despite this, Quartararo remains confident.
“Brno is a track that I really like. We know from last year that we can be fast there and that we have the performance, even if it is not the best place for our bike,” said Quartararo.
“There are a lot of great corners that make up the circuit but the last corner is one of the best. You have to go in with a lot of corner speed but also prepare to take the perfect line for the straight.
“It’s great to be going there after taking two wins and we’re looking at fighting for the podium this weekend. Our expectations are high and I can’t wait!”
With Marc Marquez yet to register points in the 2020 season following his crash in the opening round, Quartararo leads the championship with 50 points, above stablemate Maverick Vinales (40 points), and Ducati’s Andrea Dovisioso (26 points).
Marquez out, Bradl in
Championship defender Marc Marquez this week announced that he will not take part in round three at Brno due to complications with his right-arm injury.
Honda test rider Stefan Bradl will instead take his place on the RC213V racebike.
“First of all I want to wish Marc a speedy recovery, what he did in Jerez was incredible and he showed that he has the true spirit of a champion,” Bradl said.
“I am looking forward to riding the Honda RC213V again, due to the global pandemic we have not been able to test as we would normally so it will take some time to adjust to the bike and MotoGP again but I have ridden the superbike a few times so I know my fitness is good.
“It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to, competing with the Repsol Honda Team is always a great honour and I am pleased to help Honda. Let’s see how the weekend goes.”
Marquez underwent surgery two days after he fractured his humerus in round one, and attempted to compete the following weekend.
However, it soon became apparent that Marquez would need more time to return to strength.
Reports suggest that the titanium plate that was initially used to repair his right arm has suffered damage, likely from his efforts to return during round two, and so the Spanish rider has now undergone a second round of surgery.
As a result, Marquez will sit the next race out.
“After undergoing a second operation on his injured right arm, Marc Marquez and HRC have decided that the World Champion will not ride in the Czech Republic in order for him to recover more,” said the Repsol Honda team in a statement.
Can Marquez still win the championship?
With Yamaha riders Fabio Quartararo and Vinales leading the championship by some margin, the Honda Repsol team will be hoping to see a performance from rivals at Ducati and KTM.
If Quartararo wins this weekend, he will lead Marquez by 75 points. If this happens, Marquez would need to secure an average seven-point lead, per-race, throughout the rest of the season.
However, with Marquez’ incredible track record, you’d be foolish to write him off as a championship contender, just yet.
Spencer has a keen eye for hard news, and does some of his best living on deadline day. He loves more than anything to travel on his motorcycle, and is adamant that Melbourne Bitter is a world-class lager. He also knows how to operate the big computery thing in the office. By night, Spencer plays guitar with Melbourne punk outfit LOUTS.