2020 Portimao MotoGP Qualifying Result: What Dreams Are Made Of

The premier class pulled out all the stops for the last weekend of the season and peppered drama over the two qualifying sessions, starting with Johann Zarco’s smoking Ducati delaying the Q1 session. The wait was worth it for the home favourite, Miguel Oliveira presumably prompting many people to shout at their TV sets across the country as he claimed a first pole position in the premier class. The Portuguese rider set himself up for a fairytale race on home soil by leading the field by four hundredths of a second. A confident Franco Morbidelli breezed through Q1 and held provisional pole in Q2 until getting robbed in the final minute of the session. Morbidelli held onto second to have the upper hand in the battle for second place in the world championship, while Jack Miller joins them on the front row after a solid weekend in Portugal.

After being fastest in Q1, Cal Crutchlow will start his final race from the top of the second row, while Fabio Quartararo’s result of fifth hands him the keys to a BMW. Stefan Bradl completes the second row in a very impressive display for Honda’s recently renewed test rider. Despite a late crash at turn 8, Zarco opens row three of the grid ahead of Maverick Vinales and Pol Espargaro.

Alex Rins will have to make another lightning start from 10th on the grid to battle Morbidelli for the championship podium and the Suzuki will have company from Takaaki Nakagami and Andrea Dovizioso on the fourth row. Although the Japanese rider was a prominent fixture towards the top of the timesheets all weekend, he was looking worse for wear after a crash in FP4 and could not do any better than 11th.

For no apparent reason, newly crowned world champion Joan Mir struggled to escape Q1 and starts his reign with his worst qualifying of the season in 20th, adding an obstacle in Suzuki’s triple crown challenge.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Prev
1 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'38.892    
2 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'38.936 0.044 0.044
3 43 Jack Miller Ducati 1'39.038 0.146 0.102
4 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'39.156 0.264 0.118
5 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'39.199 0.307 0.043
6 6 Stefan Bradl Honda 1'39.204 0.312 0.005
7 5 Johann Zarco Ducati 1'39.238 0.346 0.034
8 12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha 1'39.260 0.368 0.022
9 44 Pol Espargaro KTM 1'39.284 0.392 0.024
10 42 Alex Rins Suzuki 1'39.467 0.575 0.183
11 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'39.531 0.639 0.064
12 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1'39.587 0.695 0.056
    Q1 Results:        
Q2 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'39.250    
Q2 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'39.276 0.026 0.026
13 33 Brad Binder KTM 1'39.390 0.140 0.114
14 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'39.762 0.512 0.372
15 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'40.019 0.769 0.257
16 73 Alex Marquez Honda 1'40.049 0.799 0.030
17 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'40.058 0.808 0.009
18 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'40.091 0.841 0.033
19 32 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 1'40.174 0.924 0.083
20 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1'40.290 1.040 0.116
21 53 Tito Rabat Ducati 1'40.427 1.177 0.137
22 82 Mika Kallio KTM 1'41.753 2.503 1.326
Round Number: 
15
2020
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Comments

A few years ago I had the opportunity to attend an event here in California, featuring LCR and Bradl before the MotoGP race at Laguna Seca. He was fast at that race but then seemed to fade quickly. Glad to see he's going fast again, quite the contrast with Kalio (though perhaps that's not a fair comparison) not to mention JL99. I would have liked to have seen Dani substitute for Iker on the KTM though. In general, the Hondas' speed (go Cal!!)  seems to favor MM93 even more than usual, when he comes back next year, assuming he's fit. But if so, I'll miss the close racing and musical chairs on the podium that we've had this year. 

A lot of us on here have competed at various levels of various sports. Some shine under pressure. Some don't change with or without it. And some crumble. I'm wondering if Joan Mir is a pressure man. Do y'all think he races best when the pressure is on? Which, I would argue is an excellent trait to have for a champion. We can't all be just unperturbed like the Stoner's and MM's of the world. And it would be terrible to be a great racer that crumbles under pressure. I'm wondering if Mir is that special kind of competitor that gets more calm and more focused as the pressure builds (leading to his rather boring ride last weekend from the perspective of that individual race, but perfect ride with regards to maturity and intelligence with regards to the championship). What do you think?

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Or was today's qualifying just a combination of track, bike, and rider specific qualities that did not mesh well?

Perhaps he crumbles in the absence of pressure, like qualifying today?

Cheers to Oliviera and KTM. Miller looked inspired. He got a smart tow on his fast lap from Oliveira. His bike was moving around like a Honda at times, stepping out the rear on exit, just ripping fantastically. Great work Jack! Your P.I. balls look big. 

Bradl and Mir are a swapped surprise. This track looks like it can do that. Withholding judgement of Mir for now, odd first visit here for Suzuki. So far Mir looks grounded and less phased by outside circumstance than most, benefit of doubt for me. I think both Suzukis will sort forward some with more laps. They aren't sure about the Medium rear? 

Taka's crash hurt some. It was a reenactment of the FP2 one. Crutchlow is on a ripping tear, great balls and focused intensity. Enjoying you enjoying it. 

Not so worried about Mir. Nor Valentino, basically since I have accepted his sun is setting. But Bagnaia I am concerned about. It was important that he have a resurgence to close the year. Otherwise it may be that his brief flare up of performance was a blip. Cheering you on kid, chase someone. Miller maybe. Or Morbidelli. Will it be inspiration? Set up? Riding style? Asian meats? A girlfriend? Training? We know you have something in the pocket mate. 

Quartararo and Vinales are having a good go. But MORBIDELLI is really stamping his #21 on the latter part of 2020! The #2 Pedrosa Plate is a good contest.

Oliveira, Miller or Crutchlow could bag a win Sunday. Hoping both Suzukis rock and roll their race pace. If it is Franky, we are going to have to say that he deserves great praise and raise and NOT the 2020 maze bike next year. Right Blue? Be smart. Get out of your gutter again. If you don't treat Franky great now, someone else will when 2021 gets silly. And you need development.