We had to wait 245 days between races, but boy, was it worth the wait. The Moto3 race was the usual closely-fought battle, the new order reasserted itself in Moto2, and the MotoGP race destroyed any preconceptions we had of the 2020 season, while serving up a smorgasbord of some of the finest riding we have seen in a very long time. Motorcycle racing junkies got the fix they had jonesing for, which should keep them sated for a while. And the best thing is we do it all over again next week. Though it is hard to imagine how the MotoGP paddock can replicate the events of this weekend.
In these notes:
- We told you this would be a tricky championship
- Marc Márquez being Marc Márquez
- The deep hole Honda have dug for themselves
- The win we had been waiting for
- Yamaha's shake up pays off
- I thought Ducatis were supposed to suck at Jerez?
- A whole new championship
- KTM – a proper motorcycle at last
It is hard to believe how much happened in the space of just a single day. But here's what mattered on Sunday.
Risk vs reward
I have written about it extensively this week: 13 races in 18 weeks poses a uniquely difficult challenge. Especially when the championship is at risk at being cut short at any point in the future, with no guarantee that we will even make it to 13 races. The shortness of the season, and the uncertainty over how long it will be, significantly shifts the balance of risk and reward in racing.
Ride conservatively, and your risk losing too many points, and end up with a championship deficit you won't be able to recover from. Push too hard, and you risk ending up in the gravel, scoring a DNF, and picking up an injury. With no time to recover between races, you will be riding hurt for a lot of races.
How long will this last?
But the uncertainty of how many races might be left in the season means you can't afford to be behind in the championship. Every race you are not leading the championship could potentially mean missing out on the title. With the COVID-19 pandemic capable of flaring up at any time, and the possibility of local, regional, and national governments imposing immediate restrictions which would make racing effectively impossible, the season could end at any time. Though the probability is low, it could quite literally end from one week to the next.
Any plan to win through consistency carries a huge risk in the championship, of being caught out by external factors beyond your control. Better, then, to take risks in each race, try to accumulate points quickly, and take an early lead in the title chase. That way, if COVID-19 intervenes, you are well placed to benefit.
That is how we ended up with 20 of the 22 full-time MotoGP entries on the grid at Jerez, and another entry virtually eliminated from the championship during the race. There was more to be gained by pushing than by saving your strength for the long haul.
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