Who was the most prolific faller during the 2020 MotoGP season?

Johann Zarco has the 'honour' of winning a smashed egg prize as the rider - for the second year running - most likely to crash during the MotoGP season...

Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP, Franco Morbidelli

Motorsport is dangerous - it says it right there on the tickets - whether you’re on two wheels or four wheels, as anyone watching Romain Grosjean pull himself out of a fireball of an F1 car that had just split in two in Bahrain this weekend will testify.

On two wheels though the stakes are obviously more precarious and that means crashing or falling becomes part of the job. 

However, for some it occurs more than others, especially in the case of Johann Zarco who - for the second year running - earned the prize of a smashed egg as the MotoGP rider most likely to take a tumble. Take a bow Johann… just watch your step.

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The Frenchman had the ignominy of falling 17 times over the course of a shortened 14 event season. This compares with his - sort of - benchmark of 19 in 2019, though he did miss three rounds between KTM and LCR Honda deals.

It’s perversely fitting that the rider involved in (and in the FIM’s eyes, caused) the biggest accident of the 2020 MotoGP season comes out on top. Of course, we’re referring to his high-speed tangle with Franco Morbidelli at the Austrian MotoGP, which sent both a Avinita Ducati and a Petronas SRT Yamaha spiralling out of control at frightening speed right into the path of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales, missing them by mere inches.

To clarify, a fall or crash is classified as ‘the bike physically touching the ground and remaining on the ground’, with the data collected from only race weekends, not test sessions. 

With 14 crashes, rookie Alex Marquez on the admittedly tricky to master Honda RC213V did well to uphold the family honour in coming second. Indeed, though his esteemed brother Marc Marquez has been the rider to beat in terms of pure speed in recent years, that hasn’t stopped him from hovering around the top of these annual lists every year.

His method of overstepping the limit in practice or qualifying in order to understand where it is for the race has been a foolhardy but successful one in the past, but of course it took just one crash in Jerez to destroy his bid for a seventh MotoGP title. Whether he maintains this strategy going forward remains to be seen…

Taking the bronze wooden spoon was Aleix Espargaro, who hit the deck on 12 occasions while trying to wrestle pace from the underperforming Aprilia RS-GP.

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As for the steadiest pair of hands, Ducati Corse benefited from Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso, who fell just two and four times respectively. Somewhat ironically, however, one of those crashes for Dovizioso in Catalunya was caused by him getting caught up in Petrucci and Zarco’s tangle ahead.

Also falling on just four occasions was Maverick Vinales, including an Evil Knieval-style deliberate chuck off his brake-less Yamaha M1 in Styria before it speared straight into the barrier at 200km/h and burst into flames. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the abbreviated season there were fewer accidents overall - 722 across MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 - and only three premier class riders missed races because of accidents during race weekends; Cal Crutchlow’s wrist injury in Jerez, Pecco Bagnaia’s broken leg at Brno and of course Marquez’s season-ending crash in Spain.

Looking at all three classes, Malaysian Kasma Daniel rider was the most prolific crasher overall with 20 tip offs, followed by fellow Moto2 rider Jorge Navarro (19) and Moto3 racer Gabriel Rodrigo (18(.

As the first wet race since Valencia 2018, the  French MotoGP - which had greasy weather conditions on Friday too - was comfortably the most treacherous event of the year with 100 accidents over the course of the weekend, 30 of which occurred at the same uphill Turn 3 left-hand chicane entry.
 

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