Eight different riders have won MotoGP races so far this season but world championship leader Joan Mir isn't one of them.

According to Jack Miller and Andrea Dovizioso, it doesn't matter if Mir goes on to become the first grand prix champion since Emilio Alzamora (125cc) in 1999 to take a title without a race win.

In fact, Miller thinks it'd be 'pretty cool'.

After a best of fifth place during an injury-interrupted rookie campaign, Mir now holds a 14-point lead over Fabio Quartararo heading into the last three rounds of the world championship.

Petronas Yamaha's Quartararo is also in his second premier-class season, and a winner of three races.

But Mir has claimed more podiums (six) than any other rider and, in a year of dramatic unpredictability, swept past the Frenchman in the standings by finishing in the top four at the past eight rounds, with the exception of a wet Le Mans.

That's despite the Suzuki star failing to finish two of the opening three races, falling at Jerez (where Quartararo took a double victory) and then being taken down by Iker Lecuona at Brno.

"I'd say it looks like it," replied Miller at Aragon on Sunday, when asked if he thought the MotoGP title was now Mir's to lose.

"Mir [3rd] just did what he needed to do today, as he's been doing all year, and I reckon we might have another Emilio Alzamora situation on our hands.

"I can't see him needing to risk winning a race or taking a chance for that. It'd be pretty cool to see that again I reckon."

No rider has ever won the 500cc/MotoGP title without a victory, but Miller has no doubts about whether Mir would deserve the crown even without a win.

"Bloody right!" Miller said. "He's had bad luck, I watched him get cleaned out in Brno in the second to last corner.

"He's clawed back from that, and if he can do it without winning a race - and he should have won that race in Austria had it not been red flagged," added the Australian.

Mir was leading by 2.5s when brake failure for Maverick Vinales halted the Red Bull Ring race. The Spaniard then finished fourth at the restart, just 0.6s from winner Miguel Oliveira.

"I think for sure [Mir's] been the fastest or one of the fastest, and the most consistent. He and Suzuki have been the most consistent all year," concluded Miller, whose own title hopes were sunk by four DNFs, only one of which was his own mistake.

2020 MotoGP race winners
RiderNatTeamWins
Fabio QuartararoFRA Petronas Yamaha3
Franco MorbidelliITAPetronas Yamaha2
Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM Factory1
Andrea DoviziosoITADucati Team1
Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM Tech31
Maverick VinalesSPAMonster Yamaha1
Danilo PetrucciITADucati Team1
Alex RinsSPASuzuki Ecstar1

Fellow Ducati rider Dovizioso maintains a fading title chance after slipping to fifth in the standings, 28 points from Mir.

The Italian also believes Mir shouldn't feel pressure to get a win in the remaining rounds, at Valencia and Portimao, especially given the already strange nature of this season.

This year's calendar was radically revised in the wake of the Covid pandemic, featuring 14 rounds at 9 different (European) circuits, made possible by MotoGP's first back-to-back races at the same track. There has also been a technical freeze on engine and aerodynamics, not to mention racing in front of empty grandstands.

"Not at all. I don't think it's important. Especially in this kind of championship," Dovizioso said of a Mir race win. "This championship was strange for many reasons, and at the end, what is really important is the points.

"Everybody wants to win [races]. Everybody would like to win. But that is not the point. So no, I don't think he has to."

Yamaha riders Vinales (-19 points) and Sunday's winner Morbidelli (-25 points) now sit between Quartararo and Dovizioso in the current world championship standings.

Mir's team-mate Alex Rins, injured at Jerez, gave Suzuki its first victory of the season, in Aragon 1. Rins is sixth in the world championship, 32 points from Mir with a maximum of 75 still available.

Rins has suggested he will be open to helping Mir once his own title chances are mathematically over, which at the current rate – barring disaster at Valencia 1 - would not be until the Portimao finale.

 

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