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.

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
Load comments
The three factors that crowned MotoGP's newest champion at Misano Prime

The three factors that crowned MotoGP's newest champion at Misano

The prospect of Fabio Quartararo clinching the 2021 MotoGP world championship title at Misano appeared small after struggling to 15th in qualifying, while main rival Francesco Bagnaia took pole. Here's how the Yamaha rider turned it around, with help from an ill-fated Bagnaia tyre choice, to secure the crown with two races to spare

MotoGP
Oct 25, 2021
Marco Simoncelli: Remembering MotoGP's ultimate maverick 10 years on Prime

Marco Simoncelli: Remembering MotoGP's ultimate maverick 10 years on

Saturday 23 October marks the 10th anniversary of Marco Simoncelli's death. The one-time 250cc world champion and double MotoGP podium finisher was the ultimate maverick character with big hair, a big personality and an even bigger talent. Motorsport.com pays tribute to a much-missed figure, a decade on.

MotoGP
Oct 23, 2021
Why Quartararo has evolved more than Yamaha in MotoGP Prime

Why Quartararo has evolved more than Yamaha in MotoGP

Fabio Quartararo has his first match point in the 2021 MotoGP title race this weekend at Misano. While the 2021 Yamaha is a much-improved bike to its inconsistent predecessor, its the rider himself who has shown the biggest evolution this season. Oriol Puigdemont delves into Quartararo's growth.

MotoGP
Oct 19, 2021
Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider Prime

Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider

Marc Marquez's romp to victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas led many to believe the 'old' pre-injury Honda rider was close to coming back to his full powers. However, the 'old' Marquez will probably never exist again and instead he'll have to adapt to his new reality to return to title-winning ways in 2022.

MotoGP
Oct 6, 2021
Why self-preservation was key to Marquez's COTA "dream" result Prime

Why self-preservation was key to Marquez's COTA "dream" result

Marc Marquez scorched to his seventh Circuit of the Americas victory in MotoGP last Sunday with a display reminiscent of his pre-injury form. However, his path to the win across the weekend was in keeping with the current reality of his physical limitations, with self-preservation on Saturday key to his Sunday success

MotoGP
Oct 4, 2021
How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike Prime

How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike

His third place at Misano made Enea Bastianini the fifth different Ducati-mounted rider to score a podium in 2021. Amid a season that has seen one rider amass the bulk of Yamaha and Honda's success, the Ducati's versatility makes for a potent weapon, but the contribution of a former leading light shouldn't be forgotten

MotoGP
Sep 23, 2021
The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career Prime

The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career

Maverick Vinales’ early debut with Aprilia has been one of the most interesting plots of the recent MotoGP rounds. The results may not look standout on paper, but a closer inspection reveals just how much progress Vinales has truly made in understanding a bike that has taken him well out of his “comfort zone”.

MotoGP
Sep 22, 2021
Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future Prime

Why Misano was a pivotal race for MotoGP's present and future

On a day each of the podium trio could claim to be the star of the show, the San Marino GP will be remembered as a pivotal race in both MotoGP's present and future. While Fabio Quartararo demonstrated his world title credentials just behind Francesco Bagnaia's flawless victory charge, a new threat emerged from the shadows

MotoGP
Sep 20, 2021