Joan Mir may have finished seventh in Valencia, but that was all he needed to secure his first World Championship. The Suzuki rider brought the marque its first title in 20 years while also becoming the first new rider to win a championship since Marc Marquez took his first title in 2013 and only the sixth Suzuki rider in MotoGP history to take the title.
It’s been a wild MotoGP season. With Marquez suffering a season-ending injury at the start of the year, a close title fight kicked off between younger drivers hungry for victory. There have been nine different winners this year and four different winning constructors.
For a long while, Fabio Quartararo led the championship standings, his two wins at the opening rounds of the 2020 season keeping him firmly rooted at the top of the charts. But the gap he held over the competition quickly narrowed; all those different winners made for a competitive battle for the overall championship. But it was a battle that Mir has won.
During this morning’s race at Valencia, Mir’s biggest competition crashed. Quartararo went off at Turn 2 in the opening laps before eventually losing control and crashing nine laps later. He was out of contention completely, dropping the championship into Mir’s lap.
Franco Morbidelli, who ultimately won the race, was able to sneak into the lead on the first lap. He held steady at the front of the pack, though Jack Miller had been slowly eating away at the gap between them. He was ultimately unsuccessful and had to content himself with second place. Pol Espargaro, Alex Rins, and Brad Binder rounded out the top five.
23-year-old Joan Mir is only in his second season in MotoGP. Last year, he finished 12th in the overall points standings with a best finish of fifth place. This year, he’s taken the World Championship despite only securing one win and suffering two retirements.
But it was obvious Mir had potential. He was 2017's Moto3 champion and was bumped up to MotoGP after only a year in Moto2.