Here at MotoGP™, we're always trying to bring you closer to the action and giving you all of the important news and views from those in the know. So, who better to point out some of the key things that you have to watch out for at the opening MotoGP™ round in Jerez than MotoGP™ Legend, and an all-round good guy, Randy Mamola.
Take a look below as in the opening part of this new series you can read ahead of every Grand Prix in 2020, Mamola details the things you should keep your eye on when it comes to the six manufacturers fighting it out in the MotoGP™ World Championship.
“Marc is so dominant on the bike so we have to talk about that. In terms of riding on a Honda, Cal finished 9th in the Championship last year compared to Marc’s first. I’ll be looking at going into these first two races, especially because they’re back-to-back, who is going to be the number one Honda rider coming out that race, who will be the number two, see the distances in the race – last year Cal was 10 seconds behind Marc’s victory there. We’ve always seen issues about the handling and the bike not working right, but Marc seems to get the best out of it and win the Championships. So I’m interested to see if they’ve made the bike better for the other riders.
“Also, Alex Marquez, it’s going to be interesting to see how difficult or easy it might be at certain circuits throughout the year. If he can make this bike was, he’s a rookie, so he has no understandings of what’s right and what’s wrong. He’s just got to go by what his brother – and of course HRC – tell him.”
“The unique thing is when Dovi doesn’t do well, maybe Jack Miller seems to do well, Petrucci won the race in Mugello but sometimes he has good races and then they go back. I’m anxious to see where Ducati lie heading into the opening race at Jerez. Dovi finished less than three seconds behind Marc Marquez in the race in 2019, so let’s see where the Ducati’s finish at the first Jerez race, and let’s see who will be the 2nd, 3rd and 4thriders – who are they going to be?
"One of the things that helps Ducati is that they have six bikes out there. The different riders that are able to move forward inside the top 10 or even the top five, Jack Miller and so on. They’ve got a bit more ‘show’ let’s say in the Championship.”
"One of the things we’ve seen in pre-season testing with Mir is that he’s been closer to Alex in terms of speed and it’s going to be interesting heading into the race because, again, last year’s race was so close. Less than two seconds away from winning. I’m interested to see who will be the top Suzuki rider, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Suzuki compete against the top guys."
“We’ve got some excitement in those two garages. It’s going to be super exciting with these four guys because the Yamaha seems to be working really well. We haven’t really seen it on top speed yet for this season but I’m getting at the fact that these guys were battling throughout the race, Viñales finished two seconds behind in third place and Quartararo was there until his bike broke. The two Yamahas of Viñales and Quartararo were really on it during the test. I cannot wait to see this, it’s going to be super exciting. Valentino is going to be up there, there or thereabouts – Rossi is a strong asset.”
"It could be a really strong season for KTM, we’ve seen in preseason testing some really strong signs of speed. Maybe not so much on one single lap but race distance is good. I think credit has to go to Dani Pedrosa and KTM for giving something better to Pol Espargaro. It’s going to be really interesting, alongside Pol is Brad Binder, a rookie, and then Miguel Oliveira is in his second season – he’s going well with his Tech3. I think all four riders on the KTM are looking stronger and what I’m looking for in Jerez is to see who comes out on top, how close they are to each other compared to other manufacturers in this race… it’s really going to be an enjoyment to see. From 2018 to 2019, Pol doubled his points in the Championship. So I’m anxious to see what the step up is with this new motorcycle.”
“It’s about Aleix Espargaro – super fit, super keen rider, always willing to push the limits like his brother Pol. But for the last three years, he’s been stuck in the same rut. The other manufacturers seemed to get stronger and the Aprilia wasn’t. 2020 preseason has really sparked interest, Aleix has been super happy and Bradley Smith has been doing a lot of test work with that. It’s been difficult to watch the factory because things have improved in the last three years but it hasn’t been close to what they’ve needed. The same as Suzuki – at the moment there are only two bikes, the second rider – Smith at the moment – has been doing a good job weeding through different parts for them. The speed, even the other riders have said the Aprilia is fast this year, but it’s yet to be seen. It’s one thing about riding in preseason testing alone, and doing your test work, having a fast bike in a straight line. But it’s about that longevity throughout the races and so on.
“Last year he finished in 11th position, 15 seconds behind Marc Marquez and only a couple of seconds behind Stefan Bradl on the factory Honda, but he beat Jorge Lorenzo. So that shows the calibre of where that is, I’m excited to see how far forward he can qualify the bike and where he can finish in the Championship. His best finish last year was P7, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how this rolls out. Six manufacturers are out there pushing so hard to try and get Marc Marquez and the Honda off the top step.”