Oliveira dominates finale as Suzuki denied triple crown - The Race

Oliveira dominates finale as Suzuki denied triple crown

Nov 22 2020
By Valentin Khorounzhiy

Tech3 KTM rider Miguel Oliveira dominated the final race of a whirlwind 2020 MotoGP season on home soil at Portimao, as Ducati denied Suzuki a triple crown of titles.

Oliveira led from lights to flag on his final appearance with Tech3 ahead of his switch to the works KTM team in 2021, and delivered his and his team’s second MotoGP win.

Suzuki had clinched the riders’ title with Joan Mir and the teams’ crown in the previous round, and entered MotoGP’s first-ever Algarve race level on points with Ducati in the constructors’ standings.

But the series’ new champion Mir – who was stymied by an electrical issue on Saturday – finished his breakthrough campaign with a race to forget.

After early progress from 20th on the grid, his Suzuki hit Francesco Bagnaia’s right shoulder into Turn 1, leaving the Pramac rider wincing from pain and forcing him to drop out.

Mir then had a run-in with Johann Zarco at Turn 3 again on the next lap, colliding with the 2019-spec Ducati and dropping back to 20th place. He never regained pace and retired into the pits after 15 laps.

His team-mate Alex Rins ran as high as sixth but faded massively as the race went on, allowing Ducati to pick up the constructors’ honours with ease.

Oliveira had got a great start from pole to comfortably lead fellow front-row starters Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) and Jack Miller (Pramac Ducati) into Turn 1, and stretched his advantage from there as Morbidelli and Miller squabbled over second place.

Though Morbidelli was successful in keeping Miller at bay on the opening lap, he continued to haemorrhage ground to Oliveira from there point on, with a superb second lap putting the local hero a second and a half in the clear.

Oliveira added a further second to his lead over the next two laps, and another second four laps later, taking his advantage to 3.5s.

It levelled out from there on but Oliveira remained firmly in control to win by over three seconds.

Miguel Oliveira

Miller, who had lost out to Morbidelli in a last-lap duel for victory in the previous race, took revenge this time around by passing the Petronas Yamaha man for second place with mere corners left, while third place for Morbidelli was still plenty good enough for him to finish a comfortable second in the riders’ standings.

Pol Espargaro and Cal Crutchlow engaged in a heated battle for fourth place in the first half of the race, but Espargaro eventually broke clear. In what is his final race for KTM before he joins Honda next year, Espargaro wrapped up a seventh top-four finish in nine races, seeing off the best of the Hondas – LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami – at the end.

Andrea Dovizioso’s Ducati farewell was marked with a charge to sixth place as he held off Honda’s Stefan Bradl, posting the best finish of his campaign as Marc Marquez’s stand-in, and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.

Honda rookie Alex Marquez and a fading Zarco (Avintia Ducati) completed the top 10.

Crutchlow’s last race as a full-time MotoGP rider ultimately ended in disappointment, as he lost ground when running out of room while trying to pass Zarco round the outside of Turn 1 and only dropped further back from there on, finishing 13th.

Around him were three 2020-spec Yamahas, with Maverick Vinales 11th, Valentino Rossi 12th and Fabio Quartararo 14th on what was a truly dreadful showing for the firm’s works-spec machinery.

Danilo Petrucci signed off as a works Ducati rider with a lowly 16th, while Tito Rabat’s MotoGP career concluded with an 18th-place finish.

KTM’s Brad Binder, who will be partnered by Oliveira next year, fell at Turn 1 after two laps, but still comfortably grabbed rookie of the year honours in the standings.

Race Results

Pos Name Team Bike Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 25 25 41m48.163s 1m39.855s 0 25
2 Jack Miller Pramac Racing Ducati 25 0 +3.193s 1m39.956s 0 20
3 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 25 0 +3.298s 1m40.007s 0 16
4 Pol Espargaró Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 25 0 +12.626s 1m40.256s 0 13
5 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Honda 25 0 +13.318s 1m40.015s 0 11
6 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team Ducati 25 0 +15.578s 1m40.324s 0 10
7 Stefan Bradl Repsol Honda Team Honda 25 0 +15.738s 1m40.261s 0 9
8 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 25 0 +16.034s 1m40.04s 0 8
9 Alex Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda 25 0 +18.325s 1m40.283s 0 7
10 Johann Zarco Avintia Racing Ducati 25 0 +18.596s 1m40.22s 0 6
11 Maverick Viñales Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 25 0 +18.685s 1m40.184s 0 5
12 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 25 0 +18.946s 1m40.252s 0 4
13 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 25 0 +19.159s 1m40.354s 0 3
14 Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 25 0 +24.376s 1m40.565s 0 2
15 Alex Rins Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 25 0 +27.776s 1m40.361s 0 1
16 Danilo Petrucci Ducati Team Ducati 25 0 +34.266s 1m40.713s 0 0
17 Mika Kallio Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 25 0 +48.41s 1m41.513s 0 0
18 Tito Rabat Avintia Racing Ducati 25 0 +48.411s 1m41.298s 0 0
Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 22 0 DNF 1m40.936s 0 0
Joan Mir Team Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 15 0 DNF 1m40.635s 0 0
Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 2 0 DNF 1m43.284s 0 0
Francesco Bagnaia Pramac Racing Ducati 0 0 DNF 0s 0 0

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