2020 Portimao MotoGP Race Result: One Final Fairy Tale Tango

A remarkable MotoGP season came to a bittersweet end in the Portimao, with the local fanbase unable to fully celebrate a fantastic win on home soil for Miguel Oliveira. The Portuguese rider was untouchable over 25 laps and gave one final gift to his Tech3 team, finishing over three seconds ahead of the battle for second. In a near replay from one week ago, Jack Miller and Franco Morbidelli fought it out to the last lap and it was the Australian who stood on the second place of the podium for Pramac one last time. Morbidelli settled for third in the race but claimed second in a rollercoaster of a world championship.

Oliveira kept in the limelight from start to finish, making a fine launch from pole to stay ahead of fellow front row starters Morbidelli and Miller. Cal Crutchlow followed them from the second row but Fabio Quartararo’s poor start dropped him to 8th, behind Pol Espargaro, Alex Rins and Stefan Bradl. Maverick Vinales and Johann Zarco completed the top 10 by the end of lap one, but only the Frenchman was able to stay there for much longer. Having to start 20th on the grid, world champion Joan Mir was a busy boy early on, climbing up to 12th on the first lap but a harsh overtake on Pecco Bagnaia saw him slide back down to 20th and prompted the Italian to retire. Brad Binder was the first rider to crash on lap 2 but the rookie of the year battle was pretty much sealed, with Alex Marquez having to start 16th and stuck in the midfield.

Oliveira thrived on his home playground and extended his lead to nearly 2 seconds by lap 4. Morbidelli and Miller struggled to keep up with him but built a one second gap to the pursuers led by Crutchlow and including a resurgent Bradl and Pol Espargaro. Zarco pushed hard to recover a one second gap on the trio ahead and had a big group in a not particularly orderly queue behind him. Oliveira continued to extend his gap to 3 seconds from Morbidelli and Miller by lap 8, while Pol Espargaro was on a roll and got past the Hondas of Crutchlow and Bradl. Zarco was keeping in touch with the group but Rins struggled to reduce the gap and the battle for second in the championship seemed to be going Morbidelli’s way already. Behind the Suzuki, Takaaki Nakagami, Quartararo, Alex Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso were having a bit of fun for 9th place.

The cameras barely showed the podium contenders for the next few laps, as the battle for fourth was getting pretty feisty between Pol Espargaro, Crutchlow, Bradl, Zarco, Rins, Nakagami and Dovizioso, with Marquez and Aleix Espargaro pushing to rejoin the group. The Yamaha trio of Quartararo, Vinales and Valentino Rossi completed the top 15, a handful of seconds ahead of Mir. The world champion entered pitlane to retire with 10 laps remaining and to make matters worse for Suzuki, Rins was dropping out of the top 10 too, shattering any dreams left of the Triple Crown.

With 10 laps left, Oliveira was a casual four seconds ahead of Morbidelli, with Miller seemingly waiting to pounce on the Italian. Six seconds down the road, Pol Espargaro was still fending off his rivals and it took him a few laps but eventually he managed to stretch a comfortable gap to the rest of the group, where Dovizioso was on a charge. The next group down the road was fighting for 10th place, as well as third in the championship, as Rins had dropped into the clutches of Vinales, Quartararo and Rossi.

Oliveira continued to look untouchable at the front all the way to the checkered flag but Morbidelli and Miller looked to re-enact the fine squabble of Valencia 2, this time for second position. Miller kept close but the Italian made no mistakes so the Australian’s first and only attack came at turn 13 on the final lap. It proved enough for Miller to keep second and secure Ducati the constructors’ world championship. Morbidelli had to admit defeat and settle for third but the podium was more than enough for the Italian to secure second in the riders’ world championship.

Pol Espargaro bows out of KTM with a fourth place and fifth in the championship, holding off Nakagami in the closing stages of the race. Dovizioso’s progress to sixth was rewarded with fourth in the championship in his final race for Ducati, while Bradl, Aleix Espargaro, Alex Marquez and Zarco completed the top ten. Valentino Rossi was 12th on his final race in factory Yamaha colours, before moving to a different shade of blue. Crutchlow faded to 13th position in the closing stages of his final race as a full time rider, after a battle with the men he is going to be testing for next year. Quartararo dropping all the way down to 14th sees him slip to 8th in the championship, while Rins only scored one point but it was enough to keep 3rd overall. Mir got to enjoy the end of the race from his garage, while presumably preparing his suit for the trophy ceremony later today.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 41'48.163
2 43 Jack Miller Ducati +3.193
3 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha +3.298
4 44 Pol Espargaro KTM +12.626
5 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda +13.318
6 4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati +15.578
7 6 Stefan Bradl Honda +15.738
8 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia +16.034
9 73 Alex Marquez Honda +18.325
10 5 Johann Zarco Ducati +18.596
11 12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha +18.685
12 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha +18.946
13 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda +19.159
14 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha +24.376
15 42 Alex Rins Suzuki +27.776
16 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati +34.266
17 82 Mika Kallio KTM +48.410
18 53 Tito Rabat Ducati +48.411
Not Classified
  32 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 3 Laps
  36 Joan Mir Suzuki 10 Laps
  33 Brad Binder KTM 23 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
  63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 0 Lap
Round Number: 
15
2020
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Comments

Were it not for the mistakes of Yamaha and Zarco, Morbidelli might have been crowned champ today. 

Marc Marquez could have been crowned champ.

... Marc punted himself, Franco did not. Still, all speculation in good fun :)

Yep.  Important destinction.  Morbidelli was very impressive this year.  It wil be interesting to see how him, Mir, Olivera, and Fabio take it to Marc next season.

Would you rather have a self-obsessed little wanker or a hard-working and already successful development rider working on your bike?

Horsepower helps hills. Enjoyed Miller's masterful mugging of FM21. Twenty One tallied the #two plate amongst Blue in tatters. (Quarty 8th for 2020?!). 

The assymetric rear tire didn't shine today, but perhaps it wasn't down to the tire. On paper this track could favor a Suzuki right? Oh my wrong, and it was shoddy electronics settings apparently. Fantastic season nonetheless. 

Fun to watch Cal enjoying himself. After topping warmup he and cousin Jack fired off tandem stoppies. There will be a picture somewhere. Thanks for the memories. 

The battle for 4th through 9th raged on with a tight mix of fireworks. Tires made the distance well. I had feared a few bikes were going through theirs, not so. The Factory Yamahas, together back in 13th, not a pretty sight and a year to forget. With the Honda Factory team having tossed their ringer early we have had a season of Satellite strength and Suzuki/KTM surge. 

2020 awards should be added for a few things. Morbidelli's 3 engines, they are the Jewish candle that made it through the night for the #2 plate. Frankie was fabulous, more so even than the 2019 bike we paid so much attention to. 

Honda have their bike set up back into normal range. They quietly rescued themselves from a dire state of affairs. Most improved bike of the year.

Much could be said. How about we note 2020 with simple overview. It was nothing but surprises, even in occurring at all. Young Mir on a wee Suzuki grabs the Cup. Today, local hero on a satellite KTM dominates crushingly. Satellite guys finish the season battling for podiums. 

Now we get to see if we just had an anomaly blip, or a new era dawning. Somewhere in the middle is likely. But the kids have arrived! Both riders and bikes. The future looks bright indeed. 

Best season ever IMHO. Historically we can come up with so many fantastic races or alien feats that have kept us hanging on the edge of our seats, but 2020's unpredictability, changing of the guard (for manufacturers and riders), and moto3 style races in MotoGP has delivered a whole new level of wow.

Who would have thought that races at the same track a week apart could be so different? To finish the season off on a new track with serious action happen all throughout the field and Oliveira smashing it with a Stoner/MM93 like precision was awesome (feel free to swap Stoner for Rossi/Lorenzo/Doohan etc at their peak). Can't help but wonder if Yamaha's biggest mistake this year was not signing Franco . . . . 

Hope this track stays on the calendar, maybe as last race of the season. Heard some grumbling that there was no way MotoGP bikes would be able to pass and it would be an F1 style procession.  Outside of the top 3, that grumbling was unjustified.

edit:  have to wonder what an on form, fit marc marquez could have done today. hope we get that chance.

Even in the top 3!

Front wasa domination run away, when it is a KTM Satellite slow burn cool cat like Miguel, es bueno! Morbidelli was spot in class. Miller HUNTED him Discovery Channel style. It was pretty.

Then pandemonium behind. Gladiator shite. 2017 is my favorite season ever. Ready to give 2020 consideration over Winter. 

... for making this 2020 nightmare a little more bearable. I'll be able to look back at this utterly shit year and fondly say two things:

"At least Trump was voted out."

and

"At least we still had a MotoGP season."

Big thanks to all of MotoGP; organizers, promoters, riders, teams, broadcasters, journalists, and everybody else. For me it was like a Keith Jarrett concert; you're never sure where it's going next, but you know it's going to be good!

Miguel ended the season 14 points away from Rins. Those 2 races he was taken down by BB and PE out of top 10 contention could easily put him in 3rd in the championship. Now that's a story. 

Yes!!! 🇵🇹🇵🇹🇵🇹
 

But, in all honesty, MotoGP is where the best of the best should be. As a MM93 hater, I must say I did caught myself thinking "what could Marc do at this track?". They seem a perfect fit on paper. 
 

Youngers are exciting and all but let's not pretend we'd rather not have Lorenzo, Dovi and Marc back by Qatar next season. Damn, I'd even add to the mix Casey and Dani.

If wishes

Were riders and bikes....

There's fish

Casey drifting pikes.

 

Can I offer a hug across garages? Where are you from mate?

:)

We have some appreciation to do. Cal Crutchlow, thanks for the racing. I have never heard any criticism that didn't remind me of things I appreciate about you. Intensity, and authenticity. Demonstrative. 

Hard fought dry win on a satellite bike well before it was a thing that happened. Plenty of great podiums. British rider, wet win, ok. But that dry win in Argentina 2018 after the weird start behind Jack - that's my favorite. 3rd win, 14th podium. Bike moving around under you, expressing your unbridled spirit. Leading the Championship. 

Good on you mate

 

Andrea, thank you SO much for bringing intelligent strategizing and relentless single minded effort. It was YOU that ended the Alien era. Blue collar, sleeves rolled up. Thinking, pushing. Hard fought. 2017 is my favorite season. You are central to that. Everything you "got" was hard fought tooth and nail. Here is 3 and a half minutes of (cheesy soundtrack) goodness to remember. No one better on the brakes. Steady and stable, consistent. Huge effort for YEARS. 

Love you Dovi!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mL9yI4O9O3s

Oh yes, the brakes. Brought back memories of when Cal and Dovi were team mates at Tech 3. Cal being a Brit it's normal to follow him in the races and will him on. I remember several races were Cal would climb through the field, 'come on lad !'...and then he would catch Dovi on the other Tech 3 yamy....and welcome to world of the impossible to overtake rider. I remember at one point even feeling it was an unfair advantage.