2020 Catalan MotoGP Results and News

Rennie Scaysbrook | September 27, 2020


Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) bounced back in serious style in the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, the Frenchman picking his way to the front to pull away initially before just holding off a charge from Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir. Mir took yet another podium though, and his Team Suzuki Ecstar teammate Alex Rins sliced through from P13 to third to make it two Suzukis on the podium for the first time since 2007. That was as drama ripped through the title fight just behind, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) down and out early on after he got collected by Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) in a domino effect Turn 1 shuffle, and Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) dropping down to P15 before recovering to ninth.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Quatararo wins
Quartararo finally got another win under his belt and moved back into the championship lead.

Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was lightning off the line and grabbed the holeshot, with Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) propelling himself from fourth to second as Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Quartararo dropped a couple of places. The huge drama then hit early doors at Turn 2: Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) almost went down – and pulled off an amazing save – but it was just in front of Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing). Petrux clipped Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). and, reacting, Zarco tucked the front. On the outside of the dominoes lay Dovizioso, and the (former) Championship leader and Zarco were down and out.

Back up at the front it was a little less dramatic as Rossi got the better of first Quartararo and then Miller, before the Australian was then wide to allow Quartararo through too, making it a Yamaha 1-2-3 at the end of the opening lap. Mir was holding off teammate Rins for P5 as both Suzukis had made good starts, Rins especially so, whereas Viñales got an awful start and shuffle at Turn 1, down in P15.

It didn’t take long for the top five to start pulling clear of the chasing pack, with Pol Espargaro getting the better of Rins for P6 and Mir then last man half in touch with the front in the early stages. The gap to the number 36 was a second on Lap 3 and up to two a couple of laps later though, with the top five all equally split on the road. Quartararo had Rossi firmly in his sights, however, and the 21-year-old homed in on the ‘Doctor’, making a pass stick at Turn 1 to make it a Petronas 1-2. Miller was sticking with the three Yamahas in fourth as Mir dropped back slightly, but it was early, early doors… and much was yet to come.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Rins
Rins made his usual late race charge to overhaul Miller.

By Lap 8, Quartararo was hounding teammate and race leader Morbidelli, with Rossi and Miller waiting in the wings. ‘El Diablo’ then snatched the lead into Turn 1 at the beginning of Lap 9, and a fastest lap of the race came in for the number 20. Morbidelli and Rossi were keeping him honest though and then set slightly quicker lap times on Lap 10, with nothing to choose between the YZR-M1 trio. Miller was 0.7 seconds off the podium at that point, with Mir 1.2 behind Miller.

With 14 to go, there was just 0.8 covering the leading three, but Morbidelli was then nearly down at Turn 1 a lap later. The Italian was out of shape into the braking zone and ran wide, then nearly tucking the front, just saving it. Rossi was through on his protégé with the number 21 slotting back into third, and Miller now also seeming to struggle in the fight to keep Mir at bay. Quartararo was just 0.7 ahead of the number 46 up front too, although that then went up to 0.9s on the 15th lap of 24, with the tension palpable in Barcelona.

On Lap 16, that tension broke with more drama at Turn 2. On for his second podium of the season and 200th premier class rostrum on his 350th premier class start, Rossi slid out of contention as he tipped into the left-hander. Rider ok, but a big chance gone. That left Quartararo with a three-second lead over his teammate, which seemed like some solid breathing pace. But after a Turn 10 mistake from Miller, Mir was up to third and smelt blood as that now foreboding late-race pace for the Suzuki man was coming to the fore again. With seven to go, Mir was just half a second off Morbidelli.

Suzuki late race pace was coming on strong for Rins, too. With five to go, the number 42 was all over the back of Miller in the fight for fourth, with Mir unable to get within striking distance of Morbidelli for the time being. Quartararo seemed safe in P1, his lead up to 3.3, but Rins then pounced on Miller at Turn 10; the two Suzukis on a charge.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Dovizioso
One wrecked Ducati, and a championship in trouble for Dovi.

Quartararo’s lead was 2.8 with four to go and at the end of Lap 21, the gap was down to just 2.5 – Mir seven tenths quicker than the race leader, and the lead Suzuki man now right on Morbidelli. Onto the penultimate lap, Mir struck for second, and that wasn’t the last of Morbidelli’s worries as Rins homed in as well. The Suzukis were swarming and Mir was immediately off into the distance from the number 21 Petronas Yamaha, with Rins then up the inside of Morbidelli at Turn 10 as well, making it two Suzukis in the top three for the first time since Misano 2007.

Was that all she wrote? Quartararo’s lead was 1.8, but Mir was flying. Halfway round the last lap the Mayorcan was just 1.4 off, and the tenths kept evaporating from Quartararo’s advantage. In the final sector, it was almost equidistant from the Frenchman to Mir to Rins, and the number 20 seemed to almost be looking over his shoulder. Having pushed so hard so early, there wasn’t enough grip left for pushing late to make up much ground…

Round the final corner though, the Frenchman stood firm. An emotional victory ultimately just a second ahead of Mir sees him take back the Championship lead, and get back on the top step for the first time since Jerez. Mir taking yet another rostrum, however, moves him up to second overall – just eight points back and the man on consistent form, Jaws music and all. What would one more lap have meant between the two now at the top? Rins, meanwhile, gained an impressive ten places to take third and his first podium since his stunning win at Silverstone last year, making it a real milestone day for Suzuki with both Hamamatsu machines on the podium for the first time in 13 years.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Vinales
Vinales had a shocker and finished ninth.

Morbidelli slipped to P4 after the Suzuki late charge, but he’s now just seven behind Dovizioso on the standings. Miller managed to hold off teammate Bagnaia on the last lap to claim a top five, making it strong rides for both Pramac Racing riders in Barcelona after Ducati looked to be on the back foot on Friday. Nakagami was just a tenth behind the two as the Japanese rider keeps up his run of finishing in the top 10 in every race this season – the only rider to do so – with Petrucci eighth for his second best result of 2020.

Viñales’ difficult day at the office after the ground lost at Turn 1 saw the number 12 only able to push back through to ninth, although that is some points at least. The Yamaha rider is now 18 adrift of Quartararo heading to the French GP though, and he’ll want to hit back quickly at a venue he’s reigned before. Battered and bruised Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) gritted his teeth for a great top 10 ride, the Brit less than a second away from Viñales.

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was the top Austrian machine in P11 for some more solid points towards Rookie of the Year. Teammate Pol Espargaro crashed out, as did Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Miguel Oliveira. Oliveira’s teammate Iker Lecuona was P14, behind Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and an unexpectedly tough race for Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as the rookie took P13. Tito Rabat (Esponsorama Racing) completed the points.

That’s it for a dramatic, pivotal and, at times, chaotic Catalan GP. It’s advantage Quartararo as we head for his home turf at Le Mans, and the Sarthe venue has hosted plenty of Yamaha glory before. Will we see more in two weeks? Mir will be keen to make sure we don’t, still hunting for that first win, as Viñales and Dovizioso now face an uphill battle to get back up there. Come back for more spectacular MotoGP in two weeks!

2020 Catalan MotoGP Results

1 Fabio Quartararo (Yam)
2 Joan Mir (Suz) + 0.928
3 Alex Rins (Suz) + 1.898
4 Franco Morbidelli (Yam) + 2.846
5 Jack Miller (Duc) + 3.391
6 Francesco Bagnaia (Duc) + 3.518
7 Takaaki Nakagami (Hon) + 3.671
8 Danilo Petrucci (Duc) + 6.117
9 Maverick Vinales (Yam) + 13.607
10 Cal Crutchlow (Hon) + 14.483


Sky Racing Team VR46’s Luca Marini produced some Montmelo magic to see off the hard-charging Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) in the closing stages of the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, taking what could turn out to be a vital victory in his quest to be crowned Moto2™ World Champion in 2020. Lowes was forced to settle for second, with the podium completed by Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) as the Italian was back on the rostrum for the first time this year.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Marini
Marini is looking good for the Moto2 title right now.

2020 Catalan Moto2 Results

1 Luca Marini (Kal)
2 Sam Lowes (Kal) + 0.981
3 F. Di Giannantonio (Spe) + 4.399
4 Jorge Navarro (Spe) + 5.608
5 Joe Roberts (Kal) + 5.797
6 Enea Bastianini (Kal) + 6.080
7 Marco Bezzecchi (Kal) + 8.552
8 Aron Canet (Spe) + 9.928
9 Marcos Ramirez (Kal) + 14.874
10 Marcel Schrötter (Kal) + 15.058


After threatening for a long time, Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) finally bagged his first Grand Prix victory with a superb ride in the Moto3™ race at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. The South African beats Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) to the line as the Italians join Binder on the rostrum, with John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) crashing out together at Turn 4 in the early stages, while Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) finished outside the top 10 for the first time in 2020.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Binder
Darryn Binder finally, finally (!) got a win in Moto3.

2020 Catalan Moto3 Results

1 Darryn Binder (KTM)
2 Tony Arbolino (Hon) + 0.103
3 Dennis Foggia (KTM) + 0.157
4 Sergio Garcia (Hon) + 0.232
5 Alonso Lopez (Hus) + 0.386
6 Romano Fenati (Hus) + 1.436
7 Jaume Masia (Hon) + 1.218*
8 Celestino Vietti (KTM) + 1.293*
9 Niccolo Antonelli (Hon) + 1.928
10 Gabriel Rodrigo (Hon) + 1.932

*1 place penalty for exceeding track limits on the final lap

Saturday News

Rossi renews!

Confirmation finally came on Saturday: Valentino Rossi has signed for Petronas SRT Yamaha for 2021. After months of negotiating over the finer details of the contract, the 41-year will switch to a satellite squad for the first time since 2001, where he will line up alongside protégé Franco Morbidelli.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Rossi
The Doctor will be in for at least the 2021 season.

Rossi acknowledged an agreement was in place with Yamaha and Petronas SRT Yamaha for several months. However, a final decision on personnel, bike specification and image rights delayed the deal. “We were not in a rush,” said the nine-time champion.

The contract is with Yamaha Motor Racing and Rossi will have the same equipment as 2021 factory riders Maverick Viñales and Fabio Quartararo at the beginning of next season. “Yamaha continue to give me the factory support. So I think that will not change a lot. Change the color of the bike. I am happy because also the Petronas team is very, very high-level, very professional and they already achieved a lot of important results.”

Although Rossi lost the fight to bring his team with him to the Petronas-backed fold, unlike when he switched from Honda to Yamaha at the end of 2003, Yamaha to Ducati at the close of 2010 or returned to Yamaha at the end of 2012. He will bring current crew chief David Muñoz, data engineer Matteo Flamigni and rider coach Idalio Gavira.

It means long-time mechanics Brent Stevens and Alex Briggs are out in the cold. “I wanted to see out his career and he tried to make that a reality, it was not what the Petronas team had in mind;” Briggs tweeted on Friday morning. “I am now a free agent and would consider offers but most likely will stay in Australia next year.”

But only for 2021?

Rossi’s renewal carries him up to 2021. So does this mean the Italian only intends to race for one more season before hanging up his leathers?

Lin Jarvis, Yamaha’s Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing explained, “We have a contract with Petronas team until the end of ’21. We have a contract with Dorna for our participation in the championship until the end of ’21. So we hope that we will renew. Unless you can sign off on that, you can’t put that in a contract.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Rossi 2
Lin Jarvis speaks. Rossi is on board for 2021, after that, who knows?

“Also Valentino wants to see if he’s competitive every year. It was the same as this year. He wanted to do several races and judge his position. Frankly our agreement has something clear. It says we have intention to discuss with all good intentions for a potential extension in the middle of next season. One year does not mean only one year. One year means ‘sure one year, let’s see beyond that.’”

COVID-19 closes in

As if HRC’s season couldn’t get any worse, two of its technicians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. One did not travel to Barcelona after receiving the positive test results in Italy. The second, who works with LCR Honda, got his result on Friday.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Covid
Interviews in the age of COVID-19.

“Unfortunately today a member of HRC team working for LCR Honda has tested positive for Covid-19, being immediately isolated,” read an official team statement. The three members with Category 1 contact have been isolated and tested, returning negative results.”

The entire team was tested again, including riders Cal Crutchlow and Takaaki Nakagami. “The situation is still complicated, and we have to take care,” said the Japanese rider. “It’s a difficult situation for everyone. Anyway, I’m fully concentrated on racing.”

On Friday Crutchlow said, “It makes life more difficult, of course. We are down on staff. But it doesn’t stop us from working hard and continuing to do our jobs in the garage. Today we got all tested and everybody in the garage has tested negative. I don’t know how they do, it but it’s a fast test and we had the results given in an hour. But not nice to have two tests today. Just before I went out the nose was constantly running because you have the swab up the nose twice.”


Franco Morbidelli is seriously gelling with his Petronas Yamaha YZR-M1 as the Italian set the fastest time for pole position in Q2 for the 2020 Catalan MotoGP.

Morbidelli time of 1:38.798 was the only one under the 1:39-second bracket as he led teammate Fabio Quartararo and Monster Energy Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, as Yamaha locked out the first row in Spain.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Results Qualifying Morbidelli fastest
Morbidelli mastered Catalunya on Saturday.

Fourth on the grid went to Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller. The Australian fought his way through Q1 and, having only one set of soft tires at his disposal for Q2, put in a lap 0.427 seconds off Morbidelli to head row two.

Fifth went to Rossi’s teammate and last round’s winner, Maverick Vinales, ahead of Ducati’s Johann Zarco, KTM’s Pol Espargaro, Suzuki’s Joan Mir, with the factory Ducati of Danilo Petrucci ninth and KTM’s Brad Binder rounding out the top 10.

Catalunya proved another qualifying disaster for Andrea Dovizioso. The championship leader and lead factory Ducati rider will start from 17th in Catalunya, a circuit which he’s won at before, but seems very unlikely to this time around.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Results—Qualifying

1 Franco Morbidelli (Yam) 1:38.798
2 Fabio Quartararo (Yam) + 0.210
3 Valentino Rossi (Yam) + 0.331
4 Jack Miller (Duc) + 0.427
5 Maverick Vinales (Yam) + 0.573
6 Johann Zarco (Duc) + 0.580
7 Pol Espargaro (KTM) + 0.697
8 Joan Mir (Suz) + 0.830
9 Danilo Petrucci (Duc) + 0.843
10 Brad Binder (KTM) + 0.861


Moto2 World Championship leader Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) will start from his third pole position in a row after a masterclass in Q2 Catalunya. The Italian finished 0.181 ahead of second-place Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) with fourth in the championship Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completing the front row.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Results Qualifying Marini fastest
Another pole for Marini in Moto2.

2020 Catalan Moto2 Results—Qualifying

1 Luca Marini (Kal) 1:43.355
2 Jorge Navarro (Spe) + 0.181
3 Sam Lowes (Kal) + 0.282
4 F. Di Giannantonio (Spe) + 0.297
5 Jake Dixon (Kal) + 0.349
6 Marco Bezzecchi (Kal) + 0.359
7 Joe Roberts (Kal) + 0.386
8 Marcos Ramirez (Kal) + 0.508
9 Xavi Vierge (Kal) + 0.516
10 Remy Gardner (Kal) + 0.519*

*Six-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race


Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) sealed his first Moto3 pole position since the 2019 British GP thanks to a new Moto3 lap record. The Italian’s 1:47.762 saw Arbolino finish 0.618 clear of second-place Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) as the Spaniard and third place Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) set the exact same time in Q2.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Results Qualifying Arbolino fastest
Arbolino scorched to his first Moto3 pole of the year.

2020 Catalan Moto3 Results—Qualifying

1 Tony Arbolino (Hon) 1:47.762
2 Raul Fernandez (KTM) + 0.618
3 Gabriel Rodrigo (Hon) + 0.618
4 Albert Arenas (KTM) + 0.628
5 Jaume Masia (Hon) + 0.728
6 Niccolo Antonelli (Hon) + 0.832
7 Filip Salac (KTM) + 0.942
8 Kaito Toba (KTM) + 0.967
9 Darryn Binder (KTM) + 1.026
10 Sergio Garcia (Hon) +1.062

Friday News

A glimpse of the king

The champion was back. But not in the sense we expected. Marc Marquez returned to the paddock for the first time since his ill-conceived comeback at the Andalusian Grand Prix on Thursday. The reason was to greet his team, discuss strategies for 2021 and pick up several items from the Repsol Honda team truck.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Results Qualifying Marquez returns
Marquez was back in the pits, but not back on the bike.

He would not return to the track after his Thursday departure, however, leaving the team and brother Alex to face the task at hand. He offered an update on the state of his upper right arm. “Now every day, every week, I feel something different,” he said. “The first three weeks were the same because I didn’t feel anything, and I didn’t feel any improvement. But now I start to feel some improvements, we start to work at the gym, I start to train.”

But he maintained a date on his eventual return has yet to be set. “I know that we are in a good way, but I don’t know if I will be on the bike in one month, in two weeks or in two months.” He remains hopeful of returning before the 2020 is out, however. “I hope I will be able try to be there and to finish the season in a good way.”

Ironman Cal’s Comeback

Cal Crutchlow’s season veered into the barely believable territory as he suffered another injury ahead of the Catalan GP. Returning to the paddock after complications to surgery to alleviate arm pump, the Englishman fell out of a clinic at the circuit where had just had a COVID-19 test, rupturing ligaments in his left ankle in the process.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Results Qualifying Crutchlow
No one could ever accuse Cal Crutchlow of not being a tough S.O.B.

“I pushed through the door and it had no resistance against it. I stumbled and fell out and over on my ankle and fell onto floor. Heard the snap. I stood up and tried to walk. I could feel the ligaments are really damaged. The size of it was like a golf ball on the side of it.”

But the Englishman gritted his teeth on Friday and rode with a bigger left boot to accommodate the swollen foot. He ended the day just 0.9s from the fastest time.

Miller to donate tear-off

At least it was good for something. Jack Miller’s sense of humor was very much intact on Friday as he hung the tear-off that ended his Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in his pit box in Barcelona as a souvenir.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Results Qualifying Miller
At least Miller retained his sense of humor.

The Australian was forced to retire from last Sunday’s race as he noticed his Ducati GP20 gradually losing power through the race. But once in the garage his mechanics discovered one of Fabio Quartararo’s tear-off visors had got lodged in his airbox.

“Maybe I’ll sell it for charity, something like that,” he said of the layer of plastic. “Let’s see if Two Wheels for Life want it! I’d like to get him to sign it. I think it’s the least he can do…” On Friday evening the tear-off was going for just over $300 on the Two Wheels For Life website.


Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) started the 2020 Catalan MotoGP in fine style by taking the top spot on Friday on combined times at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, putting in a 1:39.789 right at the end of FP2.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Friday Morbidelli fastest
Morbidelli left it late but got it done on Friday.

The Italian, winner of the first Misano race three weeks ago, finished ahead of Esponsarama Racing Ducati’s Johann Zarco who, like Morbidelli, left it until the last seconds of FP2 to put in his 1:39.898, the only other rider to join Morbidelli in the 1:39’s.

Third went to a revitalized Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM), the South African’s 1:40.008 good enough to put him ahead of last round’s winner, Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Idemitsu Honda).

Morbidelli’s teammate Fabio Quartararo was sixth overall but didn’t make it out for the last minutes of FP2 due to mechanical issues.

Rounding out the top 10 were Suzuki’s Joan Mir, Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, the ever-improving Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda) and Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha).

2020 Catalan MotoGP Results—Combines Times

1 Franco Morbidelli (Yam) 1:39.789
2 Johann Zarco (Duc) + 0.109
3 Brad Binder (KTM) + 0.219
4 Maverick Vinales (Yam) + 0.419
5 Takaaki Nakagami (Hon) + 0.623
6 Fabio Quartararo (Yam) + 0.642
7 Joan Mir (Suz) + 0.652
8 Pol Espargaro (KTM) + 0.685
9 Alex Marquez (Hon) + 0.689
10 Valentino Rossi (Yam) + 0.713


A 1:44.122 set in FP1 sees Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) sit top of the Moto2 combined times after the opening day of action in Catalunya. Championship leader Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) sits P2 thanks to his FP1 morning time, with FP2 pacesetter Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) jumping up to P3 on the combined times to sit 0.409 off Lowes on Day 1.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Friday Lowes fastest
Lowes was fastest overall on Friday despite Schrotter topping FP2 in Moto2.

2020 Catalan Moto2 Results—Combines Times

1 Sam Lowes (Kal) 1:44.122
2 Luca Marini (Kal) + 0.200
3 Marcel Schrötter (Kal) + 0.409
4 F. Di Giannantonio (Spe) + 0.475
5 Tetsuta Nagashima (Kal) + 0.508
6 Aron Canet (Spe) + 0.515
7 Marco Bezzecchi (Kal) + 0.643
8 Xavi Vierge (Kal) + 0.678
9 Jorge Martin (Kal) + 0.734
10 Augusto Fernandez (Kal) + 0.736


Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) remained fastest at the close of Day 1 of the Catalan Grand Prix on combined times thanks to his lap in FP1 on Friday morning, however, the Spaniard’s advantage was halved after Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) topped FP2 despite a tumble. Last week’s victor Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) takes the final spot inside the top three, four-tenths adrift of Fernandez who was the only man to dip beneath the 1:49 barrier.

2020 Catalan MotoGP Friday Fernandez fastest
The Friday man does it again. Fernandez topped the day but is still waiting for that first race win.

2020 Catalan Moto3 Results—Combines Times

1 Raul Fernandez (Kal) 1:48.853
2 Jaume Masia (Hon) + 0.281
3 Romano Fenati (Hus) + 0.390
4 Tony Arbolino (Hon) + 0.409
5 Darryn Binder (KTM) + 0.565
6 John McPhee (Hon) + 0.607
7 Albert Arenas (KTM) + 0.696
8 Niccolo Antonelli (Hon) + 0.725
9 Carlos Tatay (KTM) + 0.758
10 Kaito Toba (KTM) + 0.773

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Rennie Scaysbrook | Road Test Editor Rennie Scaysbrook is our Road Test Editor. A lifetime rider, the Aussie made the trek across the Pacific to live the dream in the U.S. of A. Likes puppies and wheelies.