2020 MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix Preview

This weekend is set to see Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP conclude their 2020 season’s at Portimao in Portugal.

Moto3

Albert Arenas heads the championship eight points ahead of Ai Ogura. Arenas bounced back from his eventual disqualification in the first Valencia race with fourth in the second. Meanwhile Ogura followed up his podium finish in the European Grand Prix with eighth in the second race at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

Three points behind Ogura, and therefore 11 behind Arenas, is Tony Arbolino who won the race prior to this weekend, having finished fourth in the first Valencia race. It was the Italian’s fifth visit to the podium in 2020 and his first victory of the season.

A word on Raul Fernandez who followed up his win at the European Grand Prix with a podium finish at the Valencia Grand Prix. The Spaniard is three points behind Celestino Vietti who is fifth in the championship and six behind Masia.

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The top rookie in Moto3 this season is Jeremy Alcoba who finished inside the top ten in both races at Valencia. He is thirteenth in the championship, six points behind Romano Fenati and Sergio Garcia and two points ahead of Dennis Foggia. Foggia hasn’t finished inside the points since the first race at Aragon.

Lastly a word on Sergio Garcia, who along with Fernandez, shone during the two Grand Prix weekends in Valencia. Garcia finished second in both races as well as claiming fastest lap in the second race. Prior to the Valencia double header Garcia had only finished inside the points in five of the 12 races contested with a highest finish of fourth at the Catalan Grand Prix.

Moto2

Enea Bastianini goes into this weekend at the top of the Moto2 championship. The Italian has a 14 point advantage over second placed Sam Lowes after he finished fourth and then sixth in the Valencia double header. Lowes by comparison had a difficult time in Valencia, crashing out of the first race and having to work his way from the rear of the grid in the second, where he ultimately was classified fourteenth.

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Four points behind Lowes is Luca Marini who after a trio of difficult races prior to the Valencia double header goes to Portugal having finished inside the top six in the two races prior to the season finale. It means he is 18 points behind Bastianini and therefore has an outside chance of winning the 2020 Moto2 championship.

Five points behind Marini is his teammate Marco Bezzecchi who followed up his win in the first Valencia race with a third place in the second. He, like Marini, also has a slim chance of winning this season’s Moto2 championship.

21 points behind Bezzecchi is Jorge Martin who finished the Valencia double header having finished second in one race before going on to win the second. It leaves the Spaniard fifth in the championship and 40 points ahead of sixth placed Remy Gardner.

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Although there is going to be plenty of attention on the top four in the championship as they battle to become champion, keep an eye on Aron Canet and Hector Garzo. Canet heads to Portimao as the leading Moto2 rookie, the Spaniard currently twelfth in the championship on 66 points. However fellow Moto2 rookie Garzo is only three points behind Canet and is in better form having claimed seventh and then second across the Valencia double header. Canet finished eleventh and then crashed out of the second Valencia race.

MotoGP

Joan Mir enters the weekend having clinched the 2020 MotoGP championship, 29 points separating him and second placed Franco Morbidelli. Mir finally managed to claim a premier class victory in 2020 thanks to winning the European Grand Prix, the first Valencia race.

Morbidelli won the second Valencia race, having to resist pressure from Jack Miller. Morbidelli will be looking to secure second in the championship as the Italian is only four points ahead of third placed Alex Rins. The Spaniard has finished inside the top five in five of the last six races compared to Morbidelli’s four across the same period. Rins has an 11 point gap to fourth placed Maverick Vinales who hasn’t finished inside the top five since the first race at Aragon.

Stefan Bradl. GP de Europa 2020” by Box Repsol is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Mathematically there are six riders still with a chance of finishing second in the championship. The last of those riders is seventh placed Pol Espargaro who finished on the podium in both races in Valencia. Portugal is the Spaniard’s final attempt to win a race with KTM before he heads to the factory Honda team for 2021. If he were to win and the other five riders ahead of him in the championship failed to score points, Espargaro would secure second in the championship.

Espargaro’s current teammate, Brad Binder, is the leading MotoGP rookie. The South African is eleventh in the championship on 87 points having finished both races at Valencia inside the top ten. Binder has a 20 point advantage over the next best premier class rookie Alex Marquez. The Spaniard failed to score any points across the two races in Valencia and was fortunate to even race in the second Grand Prix after a particularly nasty highside during the second event.

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