The MotoGP eSport Championship bursts into life this week with the first Global Series event of 2020 starting on Thursday, a four-event series that sees eleven of the fastest gamers on the planet battle it out to become the 2020 MotoGP eSport Champion.
To get to this point, competitors from around the world have had to scrap and fight in three exceptionally competitive challenges in the Pro Draft to qualify from the Draft Selection, where the current eleven MotoGP teams could pick their challenger for the Global Series.
In a revamped format for 2020, gamers collected points depending on their position in each Pro Draft Challenge. Circuits and bikes were predetermined for each challenge, with gamers having an unlimited number of laps to set the fastest time possible at a particular track.
Split into two categories (Europe and the Rest of the World), the 16 gamers with the highest points tally in after the third and final Challenge in the European Selection would qualify for the Pro Draft. Six gamers from the Rest of the World made the cut.
It all began back in March, when MotoGP eSport hopefuls were tasked with taking Valentino Rossi’s Monster Energy Yamaha M1 around Qatar’s fabulous Losail International Circuit under the famous floodlights. Just like the recent MotoGP bouts there, the times were close with very little to choose between the fastest times.
The second Online Challenge tested other aspects of the gamers’ skillset. Thailand’s wide, open Chang International Circuit was the venue and Andrea Dovizioso’s powerful Ducati Team Desmosedici GP20 was the machine with which competitors had to use to set the quickest possible time. The difference here was weather conditions were set to ‘wet’.
Finally, Texas’ undulating, complex Circuit of the Americas was the venue for the third and final Online Challenge of the Pro Draft. Marc Marquez’s 2019 title triumph made it look like Honda’s RC213V was an easy ride, but riders’ testaments prove it is anything but. Gamers had to wrestle the world championship winning bike around the tricky 20 corners that CotA has to offer, meaning those with the highest skills made it to the top.
From the European selection it was the Spanish brothers Williams_Cristian and Williams_Adrian – previously competing as CRISTIANMM17 and AADRIAN_26 in last year’s Global Series – topped the standings. 2019 finalists EleGhosT555 (fifth), Juan_nh16 (sixth), AndrewZh (eighth), trastevere73 (tenth) and XxBoMbeR_45xX (twelfth) were also present inside the top 16.
But a host of new names added spice to the competition. Italians fenny5vr46 and Riky were third and fourth while the UK’s Jack Hammer4658 was an impressive seventh.
The Brazilian FooXz headed the Rest of the World standings on 75 points, along with 2019 Global Series finalist MrTftw from Australia. There were also a host of excellent showings from Indonesian duo Sanshoqueen and Moe, in third and fourth.
The Draft Selection was then a time for MotoGP teams to contemplate who would represent them in the Global Series. A host of interesting choices emerged, with some opting for experience, while others invested in some new blood.
Ultimately the fastest riders from last year’s Global Series (AndrewZH and Ducati Team, Trastevere73 and Monster Energy Yamaha, Williams_Cristian and Ecstar Suzuki and Juan_nh16 and Red Bull KTM Tech) remained with their 2019 teams, while Williams_Adrian signed for Red Bull KTM and EleGhost555 signed for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini.
The Indonesian Moe remains with LCR Castrol Honda as does the Australian MrTftw with Reale Avinita Ducati. But new, exciting talents FooXz (Repsol Honda Team), Sanshoqueen (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Davidegallina23 (Pramac Racing Ducati) have all got top class seats for this year’s Global Series.