Moto2

Portimao MotoGP Preview: 2020's Final Unexplored Frontier

And so a strange and unexpected season draws to a close. Fifteen rounds of Grand Prix motorcycle racing – fourteen rounds of MotoGP, after the premier class were forced to skip the opening race at Qatar at the very beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic – were far, far more than we expected in the early months of the year. It is a credit to Dorna, the manufacturers, and to the teams that we have made it this far. It hasn't been easy, and it meant squeezing a punishing schedule into a very brief period of time, and limiting the number of tracks and countries MotoGP visited, but in the end, we got our money's worth.

So it is fitting that we end the 2020 MotoGP season at a brand new venue MotoGP has never visited before, the first new track since Buriram joined the calendar in 2018. The Autodromo Internacional do Algarve at Portimao (more correctly spelled Portimão, but like most English speakers, searching for diacritics on my keyboard is so foreign that I cheat by skipping straight to the Anglicized version of the name) is set just inland from the Algarve, Portugal's southern coast, amid a vast swathe of golfing resorts.

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2020 Valencia Moto2 FP3 Result: Bezzecchi Leads Tight Field

The rain scare from earlier today was completely gone by the time the intermediate class took to the track and it showed, with Friday’s benchmark quickly improved by several riders but most notably Marco Bezzecchi, the Italian keeping top spot until the checkered flag. Early leader Marcos Ramirez looked like his main rival throughout, but Hector Garzo snuck in between the two to grab second on the timesheets on his final flying lap and with a deluxe tow from championship leader Enea Bastianini.

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2020 Valencia Moto2 FP2 Result: Di Giannantonio Challenges Title Contenders

The intermediate class closed the Friday show in Valencia but didn’t make that much of an impression on the combined timesheets, with the FP1 benchmark not being challenged. However, the gaps throughout the field on their second outing were minuscule, with Fabio Di Giannantonio claiming the top of the standings for the final time attack by less than a tenth of a second. Behind the Italian, the championship contenders kept in close proximity, Sam Lowes finishing second and only two hundredths of a second ahead of rival Enea Bastianini.

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2020 Valencia Moto2 FP1 Result: Navarro Thrives On Home Soil

The intermediate class returned to the Ricardo Tormo Circuit and brought their best form with them, quickly posting laptimes faster than anything they achieved one week ago. Nice and dry conditions greatly contributed to Jorge Navarro’s top time in the high 1:34s, while Luca Marini looked to have recovered some form as the Italian jumped into second position, only two hundredths of a second slower than the leader. Compatriot Fabio Di Giannantonio made it an extremely tight top three, only covered by eight hundredths of a second.

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Europe Moto2 & Moto3 Review - Neil Morrison On Arenas' Temper, Bezzecchi's Return, Gardner Keeping His Cool, And A Lacklustre Luthi

MotoGP may have moved definitively toward one contender taking the crown. But a three-way title fight in Moto2 became four thanks to a surprise crash for leader Sam Lowes. And Any feeling 2020 was inching decisively in favour of Moto3 challenger Albert Arenas took just two laps to come apart. Here are a number of the big stories from the junior classes at the European Grand Prix.

Arenas loses his cool

Perhaps with the passing of time the Moto3 contest will be remembered for Raul Fernandez’s long-awaited first grand prix win. But it was Albert Arenas’ all-action showing that really caught the eye. Unfortunate in the extreme to get hit from behind when avoiding Celestino Vietti’s stricken KTM, the championship leader was forced into the pits with a snapped footrest bracket.

That should have been the end of his morning. But Arenas wasn’t finished. “I went into the garage pissed off, but the team tried to calm me,” he said. The team succeeded in mending the machine, but failed to defuse the rider. Rejoining in 30th place and three laps down, the Spaniard let the leading men by when shown the blue flags. But then came the madness. The 23-year old inexplicably started passing the riders in the fight for the second, including a ludicrous lunge on title rival Ai Ogura at the final turn – enough for Race Direction to show him the black flag.

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