AGAINST ALL ODDS: MOTO2 BEATS THE CHALLENGE OF 2020 AS TRIUMPH POWERS ANOTHER RECORD-BREAKING SEASON
The 2020 racing season has been a challenge like no other. After the highs of pre-season excitement, the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic was cast over the opening Grand Prix of the season with only the Moto2 and Moto3 categories competing in Qatar. But from that dark shadow, one of the most thrilling, action-packed and nail-biting Moto2 seasons emerged. Triumph’s second year in Moto2 proved even more spectacular than the first.
Seven different Moto2 Grand Prix winners. Eleven new outright circuit lap records set, smashing the benchmarks already redefined by Triumph 765cc triple power during 2019. A new World Champion in Enea Bastianini, crowned from a title fight that went to the very last race of the season and where Luca Marini and Sam Lowes in second and third finished tied on points. Over 200,000 kilometres of flat-out racing over a condensed season of 15 rounds, 14 of which (with the exception of the opener in Qatar) were squeezed into just four relentless months.
With an off-season of development after a game-changing inaugural year, the 2020 season started with a scorching pace thanks to Triumph softening the rev limit on downshifts on the 765cc triple engines, and the benefit of one year’s worth of data for the teams and riders. Before racing had even started, lap records were being smashed in the pre-season tests in Jerez and Qatar.
Recognising the closeness of competition and the depth of talent in Moto2, Triumph also launched the Triumph Triple Trophy in 2020 to run alongside the World Championship. Recognising standout performances throughout each weekend, it awards points to riders setting the fastest top speed, pole position and the fastest lap of the race. Marco Bezzecchi came to the fore with a series of fastest top speeds (often shared with multiple riders such is the parity of the engines), building an unassailable lead to win himself a Street Triple RS, the machine from which his 765cc triple race engine is derived. The Triumph Triple Trophy will run again in 2021 with the same objectives.
As more riders graduate into the MotoGP category for the 2021 season, the fact that the Triumph engines have made the Moto2 category much closer to MotoGP was clear to see in 2020. Last year’s Moto2 World Champion Alex Marquez scored a pair of fantastic podium finishes in his maiden year, and 2019 runner-up Brad Binder went one better and took victory in his rookie season (the first time this has happened since Marc Marquez in 2013), proving just how much the gap between the classes has shrunk and how well Moto2 prepares riders for a premier category promotion.
As the dust settles on this whirlwind season, work continues behind the scenes for teams, riders and Triumph to make next season faster still. The date of 16 March 2021 is set for Moto2 to return at the official test at Jerez, Spain, just 12 days before the race to crown the next World Champion begins all over again under the floodlights of Qatar.
Steve Sargent, Triumph’s Chief Product Officer, said: “Firstly I would like to show huge appreciation and respect to Dorna for being able to organise the 2020 Championship in what was the most difficult of circumstances. I am sure that fans around the world appreciated the opportunity to enjoy a truly thrilling racing season at a time when everyone needed something positive in their lives. And what a season it was. So many twists and turns in the Championship and so many different race winners and riders on the Podium. A Championship that went down to the wire in a thrilling finale in Portugal and a worthy Champion in Enea Bastianini. Congratulations also to Marco Bezzecchi as the first winner of the Triumph Triple Trophy. Really pleased to see the Triumph powered Moto2 bikes continue to break lap records and push the performance of Moto2 forwards. We are now looking forward to a successful 2021 and a chance for fans to once again see and hear a grid of Triumph Triples in Moto2 racing action.”
Carlos Ezpeleta, Managing Director, Dorna Sports, said: “The introduction of the Triumph engine in the FIM Moto2 World Championship has been positive for all parties. The category has since become more aligned with the other Grand Prix classes in terms of rider progression to the premier class and both teams and chassis manufacturers have been supportive of the decision since the beginning. From a Championship management perspective it’s been great to include one more manufacturer in the paddock, especially one with a great racing history and a distinct personality like Triumph. On the technical side there has also been an increase in performance and the racing has also improved, as we’ve seen this year, with the Championship battle going down to the last race with four contenders.
In a year as complex as 2020 it is invaluable to have a partner like Triumph, they have been incredibly responsive and supportive. From the beginning of the pandemic they have been available and adaptative and we sincerely thank them for their cooperation.
There is constant monitoring of the engines and their parameters, with the continuous target of maintaining safety, equality and reliability, and we can only hope that our incredible level of current success continues. We think that in 2021 we can gain more experience and hopefully introduce some improvements for the next term, which we will hopefully be able to finalise soon.”
The Triumph Moto2™ 765cc race engine is a development of the class-leading Street Triple RS 765cc road motorcycle and produces more than 140PS and the same visceral soundtrack.
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Notes to Editors
· First established in 1902, Triumph Motorcycles celebrated 118 years of motorcycle manufacture in 2020. For more than three decades, Triumph Motorcycles has been based in Hinckley, Leicestershire, and has produced iconic bikes that perfectly blend authentic design, character, charisma and performance.
· Building around 60,000 bikes per year, Triumph is the largest British motorcycle manufacturer and has around 650 dealers across the world.
· This focus, innovation and engineering passion has today created a broad range of bikes suited to all motorcycle riders, including the stunning new Trident 660, epic new Tiger 900, world leading Rocket R and GT, new higher performance Street Triple 765RS, iconic Scrambler 1200, Speed Triple, transcontinental Tiger 1200, iconic Triumph Bonneville family including the sporty Speed Twin, Bonneville Bobber, legendary Thruxton RS, accessible Street Twin, Street Scrambler and iconic Bonneville T120 and T100, plus an exciting and accessible A2 range of Triumph motorcycles.
· Triumph currently employs around 1,800 personnel worldwide and has subsidiary operations in the UK, North America, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan, Sweden (Scandinavia), Benelux, Brazil, India, China and Thailand as well as a network of independent distributors. Triumph has manufacturing facilities in Hinckley, Leicestershire, and Thailand plus CKD facilities in Brazil and India.
· The Triumph Bonneville, famously named to celebrate Triumph’s 1956 land speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA, was the original British superbike and a race-winner straight out of the crate, chosen by famous motorcyclists of the past for its legendary handling, style, and character. It’s that handling, character and style, married to modern rider-focused technology that makes the new Bonneville family the authentic modern classic choice today.
· Triumph has a glorious racing history, competing in and winning races in almost every class and field of motorcycle sporting achievement. From winning the second ever Isle of Man TT in 1908, through to 1960s road and track domination in Europe and America, right up to contemporary racing achievements with the 675cc Triumph triple powered 2014 Daytona 200 win, the 2014 Isle of Man Supersports TT win, the 2014 and 2015 British Supersports titles and World SuperSport racing, and again in 2019, with another victory at the Isle of Man Supersports TT, piloted by Peter Hickman.
· Triumph’s racing legend continues as the exclusive engine supplier to the FIM Moto2™ World Championship since the start of the 2019 season. Triumph Motorcycles provides all of the teams with race-tuned 765cc triples, each of which is based on the class-leading Street Triple RS powerplant. Redefining the class and breaking record after record in the inaugural year, including the first ever +300km/h Moto2™ top speed, the 2020 season got even faster with another 11 all time lap records and seven different winners from 15 races.
· Triumph’s racing activities are further bolstered by a return to the British Superbike paddock in 2021 with a factory-supported race team in the British Supersport Championship.