Outstanding Oliveira crushes rivals with masterclass Portuguese MotoGP win

Miguel Oliveira produces a masterclass performance to secure victory on home soil in the Portuguese MotoGP as Franco Morbidelli takes runners-up spot and Ducati wins manufacturers' crown
Miguel Oliveira, Portuguese MotoGP, 21st November 2020
Miguel Oliveira, Portuguese MotoGP, 21st November 2020
© Gold and Goose

Miguel Oliveira crowned his first-ever MotoGP race on home soil with a crushing display of dominant riding to wrap up the 2020 MotoGP World Championship season with a second win of the year in Portimao.

Already impressing to qualify with a career-first pole position on Saturday, an inspired Oliveira went above and beyond come Sunday, showing no nerves with a superb start off the line before showcasing some extraordinary speed to leave his rivals behind.

Multiplying his advantage by as much as 0.5s a lap during the initial revolutions, Oliveira had built a margin of more than two seconds by lap four before swelling that to more than four seconds by lap 10. 



He’d go on to stabilise that advantage to the chequered flag to wrap up a second victory for himself and the Tech 3 KTM team in a manner quite different to his last gasp maiden win in the Styria MotoGP. The only negative for him would be the lack of a crowd that would no doubt be thrilled at his achievement.

With no opportunity to even apply pressure to Oliveira as he disappeared into the distance, the fight for second place proved an engrossing mirror of last weekend in Valencia as Franco Morbidelli and Jack Miller once again fought for position right up to the final lap.

However, whereas Morbidelli was able to resist Miller seven days ago, the Australian this time got the edge on his rival with a neatly executed pass into Turn 9. The result means Ducati wraps up the manufacturers’ title - on a day Suzuki suffered a shocker of a race - while Morbidelli ends the year as the top Yamaha rider from the runners-up spot overall.

Perhaps the only rider with the potential to match Oliveira’s speed, Pol Espargaro would find himself mired in a busy mid-pack on a circuit where getting caught up in battles can lose a significant amount of time. However, once free Espargaro would complete another strong result in fourth on his KTM swansong to conclude the year as the manufacturer’s best placed rider despite watching three wins go the way of his team-mates.

Takaaki Nakagami, as he so often does, came on strong late on to almost catch Espargaro for fourth, the Japanese rider instead settling for fifth.

Andrea Dovizioso’s final race prior to his sabbatical would see him land his first top six finish since Austria, heading off a strong result from Stefan Bradl, the German’s substitute stint at Repsol Honda concluding with his best result since 2014 in seventh.

Aleix Espargaro made up positions late on to claim a season’s equal best of eighth, ahead of Alex Marquez and Johann Zarco, who faded from fifth to tenth.

Outside the top ten, Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi typified Yamaha’s woeful end to the year with an anonymous run to 11th and 12th respectively, though they fared better than Fabio Quartararo, who ran fifth early on before plummeting down the order to 14th.

Cal Crutchlow found himself in the thick of the action early on but would drop back to 13thm as he brought the curtain down on his full time MotoGP career.

Competing in its first race as world champions, it was a finale to forget for Suzuki as Joan Mir - starting 20th - retired with technical issues, while Alex Rins slid down the order as the race progressed to finish 15th. It means Yamaha snatches second in the manufacturers standings from Suzuki courtesy of Morbidelli’s efforts.

Elsewhere, Pecco Bagnaia’s season came to a painful conclusion when he was thumped by Mir’s Suzuki coming up the inside on lap one. The Italian stayed on the bike but would suffer a dislocated arm, putting him out of the race. 

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