All rider photos sourced from MotoGP.com
With the end of the 2020 MotoGP season on the horizon, tensions continue to rise as riders and teams begin closing in on the championship rankings. The individual rankings are as close as ever with MotoGP sophomore, Joan Mir, leading the championship by 14 points over fan favorite, Fabio Quartararo. The top 6 riders are separated by 32 points which compared to last year’s gap, leaves very little breathing room for the top dogs. The diverse group of race winners and podium finishers has caused consistent variation in the championship rankings after each race weekend, keeping teams on edge every time they line up on the grid.
Now, while the individual championship standing have been the hot topic of discussion throughout this short season, we can’t forget the other major race to victory – the Constructor of the Year award. This award is given to the manufacturer with the most points by the end of the season. Unlike the team standings that track the cumulative points between riders, the constructor standings take into account only the highest finishing position and corresponding points out of all of their riders.
Question: what are 2 traits that are important within a manufacturer to earn Constructor of the Year?
- Team mentality – The number of riders within a single manufacturer varies from 2 – 6, with the average being 4. Teams like Aprilia and Suzuki currently only have one factory team with 2 riders while Ducati has one factory team and two satellite teams, with a grand total of 6 riders. A team mentality is crucial for success as those with even talent spread across all riders ultimately helps in bike and team development. With the exception of Marc Marquez who carried Honda on his back during the 2019 season, all riders have the chance to not only fight for individual championship points, but contribute to the constructor points. If one rider crashes out, a team hopes that his teammate can pick up the slack and bring them success. A well-rounded team of riders within a given manufacturer can be hard to form but will ultimately produce the most consistent results. In addition, it can’t hurt to have more riders than less as they offer that many more chances to rake in double digit championship points.
- Consistency – It goes without saying that consistency is key in the MotoGP championship. A single race win may get you time in the limelight but it won’t get you a championship title. In regards to the Constructor of the Year, consistency plays a major role as a team strives for a steady intake of championship points as they observe the fluctuation in teams around them. Say your riders are always falling within the top 5 or so, maybe not winning back-to-back races but still collecting points. This is much more valuable than your riders landing on the podium one weekend, DNF-ing the next and ending mid pack after that. Consistency among all riders within a manufacturer is key.
Both of the points above come together when you see the current constructor rankings. The Yamaha teams have been somewhat dominating this season. No, they haven’t been on every single podium but to put their consistency into perspective, Fabio, Maverick and Franco sit in 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the World Championship rankings. Out of the first 11 rounds, there have been:
2 races where 3 Yamahas finish in the top 5
4 races where 2 finish in the top 5
3 races where 1 finishes in the top 5
2 races where 0 finish in the top 5
Given the drama, up and coming talent and series of insane events (hello bikes flying through the air across the circuit), that track record isn’t too shabby.
Current Constructer Rankings:
1st: Yamaha with 208 points
2nd: Ducati with 171 points
3rd: Suzuki with 163 points
4th: KTM with 143 points
5th: Honda with 117 points
6th: Aprilia with 36 points