Portimao MotoGP: Oliveira takes pole on home soil, Mir 20th

Tech3 KTM’s Miguel Oliveira took his maiden MotoGP pole position on home soil by 0.044 seconds for the Portuguese Grand Prix, as world champion Joan Mir qualified 20th.

Listen to this article

MotoGP hasn’t visited Portugal since 2012, but caps off its 2020 season with its very first Portuguese rider taking pole at the series’ inaugural visit to the Algarve International Circuit in a thrilling final Q2 of the year.

Avintia’s Johann Zarco set the benchmark with a 1m39.938s, though this was immediately bested by fellow Frenchman Fabio Quartararo on the Petronas SRT Yamaha. Quartararo’s 1m39.877s stood for all of 20 seconds, when factory Yamaha counterpart Maverick Vinales edged ahead with a 1m39.689s. 

Fellow Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli just scraped through Q1 and shot to the top of the order with a 1m39.245s on a medium rear tyre. 

Morbidelli’s effort went unchallenged until the final three minutes, when the Italian on his year-old SRT machine produced a 1m39.141s on his sole soft tyre for the session.

The SRT rider dipped underneath the 1m39s barrier with a 1m38.936s on his final lap, with Q1 pacesetter Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda and the factory team RC213V of Stefan Bradl provisionally joining him on the front row. 

But several improvements late on pushed the Hondas off the front row, with Oliveira lighting up the timing screen on his final lap.

The Tech3 rider hooked up his final sector to best Morbidelli for pole with a 1m38.892s, with Pramac’s Jack Miller completing the front row.

Crutchlow’s LCR swansong will begin from fourth on the grid ahead of Quartararo and Bradl, with Zarco shuffled back to seventh after a late crash at Turn 8. 

Vinales ended up 0.368s off the pole time down in eighth, with KTM’s Pol Espargaro unable to advance on ninth after a fast start to his final lap. 

Alex Rins was the leading Suzuki rider in 10th and in need of a big recovery on Sunday on his quest for runner-up spot in the championship, with the Spaniard heading Takaaki Nakagami – who crashed in FP4 – on the LCR Honda and Andrea Dovizioso for his final Ducati outing.

KTM’s Brad Binder put Morbidelli’s passage into Q2 under threat over his final two laps, but missed out by 0.114s and will start 13th ahead of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) and Pramac’s Francesco Bagnaia. 

The biggest shock of qualifying came in the form of the world champion Mir failing to get out of Q1 and starting an equal-career worst 20th on his Suzuki having had a lap cancelled late on.

Mir only has Avintia’s Tito Rabat on his MotoGP farewell and Tech3 stand-in Mika Kallio behind him, with Honda’s Alex Marquez, Valentino Rossi on his final factory Yamaha appearance, outgoing Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci and Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia) filling slots 16 to 19.

Q2 results:

Cla Rider Bike Time Gap
1 Portugal Miguel Oliveira KTM 1'38.892  
2 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'38.936 0.044
3 Australia Jack Miller Ducati 1'39.038 0.146
4 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'39.156 0.264
5 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 1'39.199 0.307
6 Germany Stefan Bradl Honda 1'39.204 0.312
7 France Johann Zarco Ducati 1'39.238 0.346
8 Spain Maverick Viñales Yamaha 1'39.260 0.368
9 Spain Pol Espargaro KTM 1'39.284 0.392
10 Spain Alex Rins Suzuki 1'39.467 0.575
11 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 1'39.531 0.639
12 Italy Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 1'39.587 0.695

Q1 results:

Cla Rider Bike Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow Honda 1'39.250  
2 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 1'39.276 0.026
3 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 1'39.390 0.140
4 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 1'39.762 0.512
5 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 1'40.019 0.769
6 Spain Alex Marquez Honda 1'40.049 0.799
7 Italy Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'40.058 0.808
8 Italy Danilo Petrucci Ducati 1'40.091 0.841
9 Italy Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 1'40.174 0.924
10 Spain Joan Mir Suzuki 1'40.290 1.040
11 Spain Tito Rabat Ducati 1'40.427 1.177
12 Finland Mika Kallio KTM 1'41.753 2.503
shares
comments
Lorenzo hits back at Crutchlow over test rider comments
Previous article

Lorenzo hits back at Crutchlow over test rider comments

Next article

Mir’s Portimao qualifying compromised by electronics issue

Mir’s Portimao qualifying compromised by electronics issue
The other Suzuki signing that could transform Honda's MotoGP form Prime

The other Suzuki signing that could transform Honda's MotoGP form

Following Suzuki's decision to quit MotoGP, both of its former riders have landed at Honda for 2023. But perhaps its biggest signing from the now-defunct team could instead be a highly-rated technical manager. Is Ken Kawauchi the right man at the right time to steer HRC back to glory?

MotoGP
Jan 26, 2023
How the MotoGP paddock has offered refuge to Suzuki's former team Prime

How the MotoGP paddock has offered refuge to Suzuki's former team

Suzuki's unexpected departure left more than 40 professionals virtually jobless for the 2023 MotoGP season. But that human drama has been successfully corrected by the paddock itself, with most former Suzuki crew members absorbed into other operations.

MotoGP
Jan 14, 2023
How one MotoGP team went from title challengers to losing it all in four years Prime

How one MotoGP team went from title challengers to losing it all in four years

The Petronas Sepang Racing Team came into MotoGP with a bang in 2019 as regular front-runners, with wonder rookie Fabio Quartararo mounting a title challenge in 2020. But it all went wrong for the Razlan Razali-helmed squad as the team changed hands and tumbled down the order - and RNF Racing plans to right this in 2023

MotoGP
Jan 3, 2023
Is Marc Marquez ready to reclaim his MotoGP throne? Prime

Is Marc Marquez ready to reclaim his MotoGP throne?

Marc Marquez’s sixth premier MotoGP title seems a long time ago given the injury woes he has faced in the three years since. At the end of a fraught 2022, in which he had a fourth major operation on his right arm, the Spaniard speaks exclusively to Motorsport.com.

MotoGP
Dec 23, 2022
How MotoGP's underachiever is working to reverse its fortunes in 2023 Prime

How MotoGP's underachiever is working to reverse its fortunes in 2023

As European manufacturers emerged as the strongest force in 2022 in a changing of the guard for MotoGP, one powerhouse couldn’t quite match the feats of Ducati and Aprilia. Its motorsport chief tells Motorsport.com why this is and what it is doing to become a consistent frontrunner in the class of kings

MotoGP
Dec 20, 2022
How MotoGP riders are preparing for the physical stress of sprint races Prime

How MotoGP riders are preparing for the physical stress of sprint races

With the expansion of the calendar to 21 grands prix and the introduction of sprint races, the 2023 MotoGP season will take the riders to almost 1,300 kilometres of more competition than this year, a factor that forces adjustments in their physical preparations.

MotoGP
Dec 9, 2022
Luca Marini: Why he's more than just Valentino Rossi's brother Prime

Luca Marini: Why he's more than just Valentino Rossi's brother

Surname pressure is something many have had to deal with in their motorsport careers. And while Luca Marini doesn’t have that, his familial relation and the team he rides for in MotoGP have cast a brighter spotlight on his progress. But, as he has shown in 2022 – and as he reveals to Motorsport.com – Marini is so much more than just the brother of a legend.

MotoGP
Dec 6, 2022
Ranking the top 10 MotoGP riders of 2022 Prime

Ranking the top 10 MotoGP riders of 2022

The 2022 MotoGP season was another hotly contested championship, with Francesco Bagnaia emerging as the title winner after the campaign went to the wire. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 best performers of the season

MotoGP
Nov 29, 2022