Moto2

Portimão Moto2 & Moto3 Review - Neil Morrison On Two Titles Clinched, Remy Gardner's Win, Sam Lowes Digging Deep, And Raul Fernandez Dominating

This was as fun as it looked. The grandstands may have been empty and the paddock quiet, but the Algarve International Circuit lived up to its billing as a spectacular circuit. Not since Turkey’s fabulous Istanbul Park in 2005 had grand prix racing come to a new venue as jaw-dropping and thrilling to the naked eye.

Riders raved about the swoops, the undulations and the blind crests. Sunday showed the 4.6km layout could provide half decent racing, too. For the opening races lived up to the surroundings, with Moto2 and Moto3 serving up vintages high on adrenaline, spectacle and stress that had the championship fight go right the way to the wire. Here are some of the big talking points from the small classes on the last weekend of the season.

Italian Revival

For Enea Bastianini, his directive was clear: a top four finish was enough for a first world title no matter where his rivals finished. If Sam Lowes wasn’t victorious and Luca Marini was, he simply needed a top eight. Thoughts that the Algarve International Circuit (a track unknown to him but not his three rivals) could throw up a banana skin were dashed early. Enea was an impressive fifth at the close of day one.

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Portimao MotoGP Saturday Round Up: Fairy Tale Time At Portimao?

Are we in for a fairy-tale ending to the wild ride that has been the 2020 MotoGP season? The odds are very good indeed, if only because qualifying has laid out so many different scenarios for a fitting end to the year. We already have a fairy-tale ending to qualifying, Miguel Oliveira the first Portuguese rider to take pole, at the first MotoGP race to be held at Portimao, the first race in Portugal since 2012.

Could Oliveira convert his maiden pole into a second win? There is plenty of reason to think he might do exactly that. The Red Bull KTM Tech3 rider has pretty good pace – he looked comfortable posting low 1'40s in FP4 – and the riders with better pace are some way back on the grid.

Or maybe it is Franco Morbidelli's opportunity to stamp his authority on the 2020 season, taking a fourth win to clinch second in the championship and demonstrate once again that Yamaha made a mistake in overlooking him for the factory team, and in choosing not to provide him with a 2021-spec M1 for next season.

Dream come true?

Or perhaps it is Jack Miller's turn for victory, to make it ten winners in a season and break the previous record? It would be a fitting reward for the Pramac Ducati squad, after the Australian came so very close to beating Morbidelli at Valencia last week. 

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2020 Portimao Moto2 FP3 Result: Gardner Attacks The Timesheets

Despite enjoying the best of the conditions, the intermediate class were in no rush to make an impact on the combined standings and the time attack that closed the session wasn’t all that feisty either. Remy Gardner managed to surpass Friday’s benchmark in the final 5 minutes of FP3 and led the way by two tenths of a second, while Luca Marini’s FP2 time was enough to keep him second on the combined timesheets. Hector Garzo was one of the few early improvers and the Spaniard topped the session before dropping to third overall, with compatriot Marcos Ramirez up to fourth.

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2020 Portimao Moto2 FP2 Result: Lowes Surrenders To Marini

The final session of the day in Portimao saw intermediate class riders in no rush to improve FP1 times but the pace picked up for the final time attack and FP2 set things up nicely in the title battle. Luca Marini and Sam Lowes were some of the main men spending time at the top of the timing screens and it was the Italian one step (and one tenth) ahead at the checkered flag. Lowes overcame clearly visible pain after last week’s crash and showed good speed to finish second, one hundredth of a second faster than a resurgent Lorenzo Baldassarri.

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2020 Portimao Moto2 FP1 Result: Ramirez Sets The Benchmark

The intermediate class enjoyed their first extended outing around the Algarve Circuit and while the likes of Augusto Fernandez and Remy Gardner spent the most time at the top of the timesheets, it was Marcos Ramirez who took the most advantage of the late time attack. The Spaniard finished the morning one hundredth of a second ahead of Fabio Di Giannantonio and compatriot Luca Marini, who was also within a tenth of the lead.

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Valencia Moto2 & Moto3 Review - Neil Morrison On A Moto2 Thriller, Diggia's Downfall, Lowes' Fortitude, And The Vicissitudes Of Airline Seats

Joan Mir wrapped up the MotoGP title with a round to go. But the junior classes will go right to the wire after two dramatic encounters at the Valencian Grand Prix. Moto2 produced its best race of the year, Moto3 its biggest winning margin of the year. Here, we look at last weekend’s big talking points in the junior classes.

Chaos reigns in vintage finale

As fun and open as Moto2 has been this year, a race wasn’t decided on the final lap (Jorge Martin’s controversial penalty at the Styrian GP aside) from round 1 to round 13. Here, it would have been hard to conjure up more drama if events had been penned by a Hollywood scriptwriter.

Once European GP winner Marco Bezzecchi hit the front on lap five, it was hard to see a way back from his pursuers. But by Sunday lunchtime the wind had picked up considerably from the morning, making the Moto2 machines nervous and twitchy. “With the wind, I really struggled,” said Bezzecchi. “The bike was very nervous, I had little grip.” This surely played a major part in the nature of the top five: just 0.8s covered first to fifth after 25 laps.

As did Di Giannantonio. He and Bezzecchi had more than a second in hand over the pursuers with five laps remaining. But the Speed Up man’s two moves pushed them wide, allowing the rest back into play. It was a finale to remember.

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