However, the young Mallorcan rode an extremely measured and intelligent race, doing enough to take the 2020 MotoGP World Championship crown in style with a round to spare.
Starting the 27-lap race from 12th and 14th on the grid, Mir and team-mate Alex Rins knew it would be tough to repeat the 1-2 result they achieved a week earlier at the Ricardo Tormo circuit. However, both riders made solid starts to gain useful places in the early laps.
While Rins began to chase down the lead group, Mir played it safe and ensured he had enough heat into his hard front tyre before lining up those ahead of him.
Rins worked his way into a decent fifth place by lap 11, and Mir moved up into eighth one lap later.
With just a handful of laps left, Rins had settled into a strong rhythm and he was keeping his rivals at bay. He took a strong fourth place finish to keep himself in the hunt for second in the Championship, simultaneously helping Team Suzuki Ecstar to secure the 2020 Teams’ Championship.
Aware of what needed to be done to take the much coveted crown, Mir took a calm and clever approach to the race, keeping his cool in the high pressure situation and avoiding unnecessary risk.
He finished the Valencia GP in seventh place, but crucially has a gap of 29 points in the standings, meaning he is confirmed as the 2020 MotoGP World Champion, an incredible achievement in only his second season in the class, and a momentous day for Suzuki who win their first title for 20 years whilst also celebrating their centenary year and 60 years in racing.
“First of all, I have to say a big congratulations to Joan!” said Suzuki team manager Ken Kawauchi.
“This season has been very difficult, not only because of the strength of all the competitors but also because of the global situation with Covid-19. Alex has also had a good day and helped us to get the Teams’ Championship, another great achievement!
“Thank you to everyone who has been fighting with us to make this season a special one, especially to all our staff, sponsors, and fans. I’m very happy, finally we’ve achieved our biggest dream.”
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2020 MotoGP World Championship Classification:
1 Joan MIR, Suzuki, SPA, 171 points;
2 Franco MORBIDELLI, Yamaha, ITA, 142
3 Alex RINS, Suzuki, SPA, 138
4 Maverick VIÑALES, Yamaha, SPA, 127
5 Fabio QUARTARARO, Yamaha, FRA, 125
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati, ITA, 125
7 Pol ESPARGARO, KTM, SPA, 122
8 Jack MILLER, Ducati, AUS, 112
9 Takaaki NAKAGAMI, Honda, JPN, 105
10 Miguel OLIVEIRA, KTM, POR, 100
11 Brad BINDER, KTM, RSA, 87
12 Danilo PETRUCCI, Ducati, ITA, 78
13 Johann ZARCO, Ducati, FRA, 71
14 Alex MARQUEZ, Honda, SPA, 67
15 Valentino ROSSI, Yamaha, ITA, 62
16 Francesco BAGNAIA, Ducati, ITA, 47
17 Aleix ESPARGARO, Aprilia, SPA, 34
18 Cal CRUTCHLOW, Honda, GBR, 29
19 Iker LECUONA, KTM, SPA, 27
20 Stefan BRADL, Honda, GER, 18
21 Bradley SMITH, Aprilia, GBR, 12
22 Tito RABAT, Ducati, SPA, 10
23 Michele PIRRO, Ducati, ITA, 4