Moto3

MotoGP 2021 Calendar: Austin And Argentina Dropped, Portimao And Qatar Double Header Inserted

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the MotoGP calendar. The second and third rounds of MotoGP, at Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina on April 11th and at the Circuit Of The Americas on April 18th have been officially postponed. In their place, Qatar will host back-to-back races at the Losail International Circuit on March 28th and April 4th, and reserve circuit Autódromo do Algarve at Portimao will host a race on April 18th.

Though officially only postoponed, the Argentina and Austin rounds are almost certain to be canceled, a move which had long been expected. The logistical and cost challenges of organizing races in the Americas, added to the spread of Covid-19, especially in the Austin area, were always going to pose problems for the two races, and it had long been rumored they would be replaced.

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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 Moto3 FP3 Result: Bittersweet Morning For Masia

The lightweight class opened yet another fine morning in Portugal and it was a bittersweet one for Jaume Masia. The Spaniard was the early leader of the session and then found three tenths of a second more than his rivals in the final time attack to top the session but he also got sanctioned with a double long lap penalty for irresponsible riding in FP2. Friday leader Albert Arenas did not need to improve to secure a ticket to Q2 but the championship leader did improve to finish second overall.

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2020 Portimao Moto3 FP2 Result: First Blood To Arenas

The beautiful setting of Portimao welcomed back the lightweight class for their second practice session, once again extended to 55 minutes to help teams find their way around the Algarve Circuit. Championship leader Albert Arenas seemed to be enjoying the pleasant temperatures and the Spaniard shot to the top of the timesheets in the final time attack, by posting the first 1:47 time of the weekend. Jeremy Alcoba got dethroned after holding onto the lead for the final third of the session but the top rookie stayed second, two tenths off top spot.

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2020 Portimao Moto3 FP1 Result: Masia Opens The Show

The lightweight class got their first taster of the Algarve Circuit in a beautiful morning in Portugal and it was a 55-minute long one, for some extra acclimatisation. Jaume Masia seemed to be the quickest to take to the track, as he held onto top spot for much of the session, except for a brief interruption following a tumble at turn 15. That allowed Romano Fenati to shortly claim the lead, but the Italian get pushed back to second after a crash of his own at the same tricky turn 14-15 section.

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