MotoGP 2020 Round 15 Portugal

Nakagami Fifth in Portugal, Honda Wins Moto3 Constructors Title

Algarve International Circuit, Portugal, November 22, 2020
Rd.15 Grande Prémio MEO de Portugal

Report

The 2020 MotoGP World Championship ended at Algarve International Circuit today with thrilling battles in the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 races.

This has been an unprecedented season, which at one point seemed in jeopardy due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Some incredibly hard work by rights-holder Dorna, the FIM governing body, teams association IRTA and all the riders, factory engineers and paddock staff made possible an incredibly intense championship, with rounds two to 15 taking place over just 18 weeks.

For other reasons 2020 was challenging for Honda. The factory’s fastest two riders were injured at July’s season-opening Spanish Grand Prix. Reigning and six-times MotoGP king Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) broke his right arm, which put him out for the rest of the championship. The same day Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) broke his left wrist. The Briton had the injury fixed with an operation but he struggled with post-surgery issues for much of the year.

Honda’s hopes for the Moto3 Riders World Championship – Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) and Tony Arbolino (Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) – missed the title by just a few points.

However, Honda made history by securing its 20th Constructors World Championship in the Moto3/125cc class, the first manufacturer to reach this milestone. Honda won its first 125cc constructors crown in 1961, the year the company took its first Grand Prix victories and riders and constructors titles.

Honda won its first four constructors titles in the 125cc class with the twin-cylinder RC144 and RC145 (1961 and 1962), the four-cylinder RC146 (1964) and the five-cylinder RC149 (1966) four-strokes.

In Honda’s second era of Grand Prix racing the company won 11 constructors crowns with the RS125R two-stroke. Most recently the NSF250RW four-stroke has won five Moto3 constructors titles, including a clean sweep of the last four championships.

With Marquez out and Crutchlow not 100 percent fit, Honda’s 2020 MotoGP hero was Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V). The former Moto2 race-winner completed his third season in the premier class with a fifth-place finish today.

Nakagami has been on sparkling form throughout much of 2020, taking a huge step forward with his mental and physical performance to run close to the front aboard his 2019-spec Honda RC213V. At August’s Styrian Grand Prix he achieved his first front-row start and fought for victory. At last month’s Teruel GP he qualified on pole position for the first time and backed that up with front-row starts at the next two races at Valencia.

Only one thing has eluded the 28-year-old from Chiba – his first podium finish. During practice here he once again looked capable of a top-three result, but two crashes at the high-speed Turn Four left him nursing an injured left hand. Despite that he rode a very strong race, working his way through from 11th on the first lap to fifth, closing rapidly on fourth place. He rode the fourth fastest lap of the race, just 0.160 seconds slower than the winner’s best lap.

The surprise performer of the weekend was Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team RC213V), who has ridden Marquez’s bikes since August’s Czech GP. Since then the 30-year-old German has had to transform himself from HRC test rider into MotoGP racer. He scored his first points of the year at September’s rain-lashed French GP and backed that up with further point-scoring results in three of the next four races.

Today Bradl was in superb form, battling with some of the fastest riders in MotoGP, despite a high-speed fall in morning warm-up. He fought back and forth in the second group, ending the race in seventh, just over two seconds behind Nakagami.

MotoGP rookie Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) took ninth place, less than three seconds down on team-mate Bradl. The 24-year-old former Moto2 and Moto3 World Champion was still in some discomfort from a heavy tumble during qualifying at last weekend’s Valencia GP. Nevertheless he worked well here, always moving forward and riding strongly in the second group. At the finish he was less than six seconds behind the fourth-place finisher.

Crutchlow was fastest in morning warm-up and ended his full-time MotoGP career with a 13th-place finish, an unlucky result considering that he had been so strong in the early stages, when he held fourth place for several laps. He lost places when he lost rear grip and ten ran off the track.

Last week the 35-year-old Briton announced that this would be his last full-time MotoGP season. Today’s race therefore brings to an end a glittering career, which brought him three MotoGP victories with Honda – two in 2016 and one in 2018.

The enthralling four-way battle for the Moto2 World Championship went down to the final lap, with Italian Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) taking the crown with a fifth-place finish.

However, the points situation was so close that if third-place finisher Sam Lowes (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) had beaten race winner Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team Kalex) then Lowes would have been champion.

Bastianini ended the season nine points ahead of Lowes and Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex), who led more than half of today’s race on his way to finishing second. Both Bastianini and Marini graduate to MotoGP in 2021.

This was the first Grand Prix win for 22-year-old Australian Gardner, the son of Wayne Gardner, who won Honda’s third 500cc World Championship in 1987.

Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) did everything he could to complete his second World Championship season with another points score but the 21-year-old Thai rider didn’t quite make it. He finished 18th, three places outside the points.

Team-mate Andi Farid Izdihar (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) had a frustrating end to his first year in Grands Prix, tumbling out of the race on lap 18 of 23.

The Moto3 race was another breathtaking championship thriller, with the outcome of both the riders and constructors titles uncertain until the final moments.

Honda’s two championship hopefuls Ogura and Arbolino did everything they could, scrapping all the way in a frantic pack of riders fighting to end the 2020 season in the best way possible.

Ogura started from the second row of the grid and was immediately involved in a duel with series leader Albert Arenas. Meanwhile Arbolino fought his way through from 27th on the grid, the result of a difficult qualifying session. Positions changed at every corner throughout the 21 laps.

Finally Arbolino and Ogura finished fifth and eighth, ahead of Arenas in 12th. But Arenas had just done enough, ending the year with four points more than the 20-year-old Italian and the 19-year-old from Tokyo, who took second and third overall.

Next year Ogura moves up to Moto2 with Honda Team Asia, swapping places with Izdihar, who will contest the 2021 Moto3 season with the squad.

The ride of the race came from Czech GP winner Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) who finished second, despite taking two long-lap penalties, imposed for riding too slowly in Friday’s FP2 practice session. The 19-year-old came back from that sanction with incredible pace to take the checkered flag line a fraction ahead of Jeremy Alcoba (Kommerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW), whose first podium helped him take the Rookie of the Year prize.

Alcoba was chased over the line by Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) in fourth place. Arbolino headed the second group in fifth, making it four Hondas in the top five.

John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) and Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) finished just behind Ogura in ninth and 11th.

Grand Prix rookie Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) completed his first World Championship race with a 22nd place, his result constrained by a long-lap penalty. The 17-year-old from Setagaya had a great pace and tried to make his way through the pack but he made a few mistakes and overused his tires.

Both Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) and Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) slid out of the race while in podium contention.

Today’s racing ends the unprecedented 2020 MotoGP season, delayed and truncated due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 action starts with the Qatar GP on March 28.

Comments

MotoGP

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 5th
“First of all, I want to thank my team as this season has been pretty tough with almost no rest, but my team prepared the bike and it’s always perfect and I appreciate every person in the team, so thanks to them. I would like to thank all my sponsors for their support. I want to thank Cal again, since it is his last race with the LCR Honda Team. Cal has been a great team-mate in all my three years and I want to wish him the best for the future. Today it was difficult to find a strategy during the race. It’s tough to build from P11, but I had a good start and was really strong from the beginning. It was a big fight during the race and at the end I made some good lap times and we got another P5, which I’m really happy with. Overall, with my performance this season compared to last season, we made a big step, so I want to thank my team again for their hard work this year. We’re already thinking about next season. I think we can definitely make another step forward next year and hopefully we can fight for the championship, this is my target. See you next year!”

Stefan Bradl, Repsol Honda Team: 7th
“I enjoyed this weekend a lot, I was able to show that I still have the speed and motivation to compete for the top positions in the World Championship. It was tough when we first got on the bike, but we have gotten stronger and worked better with the Repsol Honda Team at each race. I am very satisfied. It was a good race with a lot of fighting at the front. The position in Valencia wasn’t as strong, but we showed that we had this potential and now in the last race I have been able to deliver on it. I want to say thank you to the entire Repsol Honda Team and HRC, we have a great relationship and I’m very happy to continue working with them. We have been very busy with racing and testing this season, but I was able to manage all of the commitments and it has helped to make us stronger. It’s been a challenging year for everyone and I want to thank everyone who has made this season possible.”

Alex Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 9th
“A tough race with a lot of battles against experienced riders, I enjoyed it a lot on the bike. We battled with Mir on the first lap, then Valentino, then Fabio and I was able to learn a lot from these experienced riders, unlocking more secrets. The starting position again hurt us because our rhythm was quite good to fight for fourth, but we put together another good recovery. Also, congratulations to Arenas and Enea for the Moto3 and Moto2 World Championships after two very races with a lot of battles. Looking back, of course there are some things that we could have done to improve and get results sooner, but I usually start slower in most categories, but I never give up and we get there. We have achieved two podiums this year which was a dream before the season started. One was in special conditions but the podium in Aragon was the icing on the cake. Unfortunately, we couldn’t deliver the Rookie of the Year title because of our ambition in Aragon and Valencia but we remain very satisfied with what we have done in the second half of the year. Thanks to everyone who made this year possible from Dorna to our sponsors and the fans at home and around the world. Of course, I would have loved to have had the fans at the track, but it was not possible, and I hope we were able to put on a good show for them this year. It has been a very difficult year for everyone in the world away from the circuit.”

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: 13th
“First of all, I want to say thank you to my team for the last six years, we’ve had some incredible moments. This year obviously didn’t go to plan, but with the team that I’ve spent the most amount of time with during my career it was nice to finish it with them. I gave my all this weekend, I topped a couple of the sessions, I went for it in the race. Unfortunately I didn’t have the rear tire under me to be able to continue to push at that pace, but I was glad to finish the race and glad to have the season over and my full-time career finished, which was the decision I took earlier in the year and am happy with. Now I look forward to watching from afar. Obviously I’ll still be in a testing role next year, but I look forward to watching the MotoGP races in years to come. It’s going to be exciting, I’ll let these young guys take the reins and go for it and I wish them all the best.”


Moto2

Remy Gardner, ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team: 1st
“My first win – it got a bit emotional on the cool-down lap. We’ve been strong here all weekend. We came here with the attitude to win – I knew I had nothing to lose – and we did it. We’ve worked so hard and the team worked so well to fix all the weak points we found over the last couple of days. I was still adapting my style when I was following Luca. Then I passed him and pulled the pin. I’m lost for words!”

Luca Marini, Sky Racing Team VR46: 2nd
“I’m happy with the season. I’m proud because I’ve always given my 100 percent in every session, in every race, in every corner. On and off the track. We won together with the whole team and we made mistakes together, some we paid a lot for. Today I pushed hard to win, but Gardner was stunning. We close the year with a great P2, we had fun and I want to thank the whole team, my family, my girlfriend and the VR46 Academy for the support and Ducati for the great opportunity that awaits me next year.”

Sam Lowes, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 3rd
“I honestly think this was one of my best ever rides. There was a lot of pressure. I was really struggling in warm-up. I could hardly even ride the bike. This weekend I had done no laps. I had no idea what the pace could be. I have no idea how the team managed to set up the bike because I never managed to do three or four consecutive laps all weekend! I just have to say thank you to the team for this year. I hoped I could repay them with a good ride and a strong result. Everyone saw I didn’t give up until the end. That’s the most important thing for the team and the rider: just to do your best until the finish line and this is what we did!”

Somkiat Chantra, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 18th
“Today we changed the bike a lot to find a setting that helps me to turn. In the race I felt very good, improving lap by lap. Finally, we found a good setting for me, maybe late, because of my crash on Friday, but it’s OK. This has been my first time in Portimao, so this information will help us next year. Thanks to everybody for this amazing season.”

Andi Farid Izdihar, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: DNF
“I'm so disappointed because this is the last race of the season. I couldn't finish after crashing with six laps to go. That isn't a good way to finish the season. During the race I tried to go with the top group. Lap by lap my pace was constant but I couldn't finish the work. My technical crew worked very hard for me, and I can only say thank you to them. Next year I open a new book, but with all the knowledge and positive things learned to start 2021 in a good way."


Moto3


Dennis Foggia, Leopard Racing: 2nd
“Incredible! Incredible. I don’t have words! Before this race we thought a podium was impossible, because I had to make two long-lap penalties – but I push, push, push! I want to thank my family and my team, especially my team which has done incredible work for me and is one of the best teams in the paddock. And congratulations to Arenas for the championship.”

Jeremy Alcoba, Kommerling Gresini Moto3: 3rd
“My goal at the start of the season was to score my first podium and finally we were able to do so. This weekend we were always among the protagonists and I believe it’s a well-deserved podium. I could have done the same in other occasions, but this time we had something more in terms of pace. I did well in staying calm and in the last laps I wanted to capitalize on an extremely important result that bodes well for a 2021 in which I want to improve further. I would like to thank the team who helped me so much.”

Sergio Garcia, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 4th
“This was a very hard-fought race. On the opening laps it was difficult for me to get up to speed, but I started to gain positions and was in a better spot within the group. I had something in reserve for the end, but the other riders established a small advantage that prevented us from reaching the podium. Our tires were at the limit at the end. This was my last race with Estrella Galicia 0,0 and I am happy to have achieved such good results at these recent races. I want to thank the team for the years in which they have been preparing me to compete in the World Championship.”

Ai Ogura, Honda Team Asia: 8th
“I only can be happy about all that happened in the 2020 Moto3 World Championship. It has been nice to be fighting for the title until the last race. In 2019 I had some excellent races, and I finished tenth in Championship. That was my rookie season, so it wasn't bad. In 2020 we started perfectly – we were fast in pre-season testing in Jerez and Qatar. For me, the essential thing that made me think about the title was my podium in the first round. At that moment I saw that it was possible this year. It's nice to be fighting for championship all season but in the end the most important thing is that we did our best until the last moment. Not a perfect season, but I’m happy about my 2020. I would like to thank the team and all the people who support me. I have now finished my period in Moto3 and I'm excited about the new challenge I have in Moto2.”

Yuki Kunii, Honda Team Asia: 22nd
“From the start and the two first laps to the long-lap penalty I rode maybe my best laps of the season. I was in the top group, enjoying riding with them. After losing the group for the penalty I tried to catch them again, pushing hard but making many mistakes and destroying the tires. So this season is now finished. From the beginning I struggled about how to manage the championship; everything was new for me. But from the middle of the season until now we made many steps forward, although we couldn't achieve a really good result. For this reason I would like to say sorry to the team. I can see how I improved. That is for me very important because it will help me a lot for next year.”


Results

MotoGP

Rank Rider
1Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
2Jack MILLER (Pramac Racing)
3Franco MORBIDELLI (Petronas Yamaha SRT)
4Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
5Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)
6Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
7Stefan BRADL (Repsol Honda Team)
8Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
9Alex MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
10Johann ZARCO (Esponsorama Racing)
11Maverick VIÑALES (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
12Valentino ROSSI (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
13Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)
14Fabio QUARTARARO (Petronas Yamaha SRT)
15Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
16Danilo PETRUCCI (Ducati Team)
17Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
18Tito RABAT (Esponsorama Racing)
RTLorenzo SAVADORI (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
RTJoan MIR (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
RTBrad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
RTFrancesco BAGNAIA (Pramac Racing)

Moto2

Rank Rider
1Remy GARDNER (Onexox TKKR SAG Team)
2Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
3Sam LOWES (EG 0,0 Marc VDS)
4Marco BEZZECCHI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
5Enea BASTIANINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
6Jorge MARTIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
7Joe ROBERTS (Tennor American Racing)
8Augusto FERNANDEZ (EG 0,0 Marc VDS)
9Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Flexbox HP 40)
10Xavi VIERGE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
11Marcos RAMIREZ (Tennor American Racing)
12Marcel SCHROTTER (Liqui Moly Intact GP)
13Bo BENDSNEYDER (NTS RW Racing GP)
14Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
15Aron CANET (Inde Aspar Team Moto2)
16Thomas LUTHI (Liqui Moly Intact GP)
17Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Italtrans Racing Team)
18Somkiat CHANTRA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
19Stefano MANZI (MV Agusta Forward Racing)
20Dominique AEGERTER (NTS RW Racing GP)
21Hafizh SYAHRIN (Inde Aspar Team Moto2)
RTSimone CORSI (MV Agusta Forward Racing)
RTAndi IZDIHAR (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
RTEdgar PONS (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
RTKasma Daniel KASMAYUDIN (Onexox TKKR SAG Team)
RTJorge NAVARRO (HDR Heidren Speed Up)
RTHector GARZO (Flexbox HP 40)
RTFabio DI GIANNANTONIO (HDR Heidren Speed Up)
RTNicolo BULEGA (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)

Moto3

Rank Rider
1Raul FERNANDEZ (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2Dennis FOGGIA (Leopard Racing)
3Jeremy ALCOBA (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3)
4Sergio GARCIA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
5Tony ARBOLINO (Rivacold Snipers Team)
6Darryn BINDER (CIP Green Power)
7Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46)
8Ai OGURA (Honda Team Asia)
9John MCPHEE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
10Deniz ONCU (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
11Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
12Albert ARENAS (Valresa Aspar Team Moto3)
13Ayumu SASAKI (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
14Carlos TATAY (Reale Avintia Moto3)
15Kaito TOBA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
16Barry BALTUS (CarXpert PruestelGP)
17Ryusei YAMANAKA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
18Adrian FERNANDEZ (Adrian FERNANDEZ)
19Stefano NEPA (Valresa Aspar Team Moto3)
20Romano FENATI (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)
21Andrea MIGNO (SKY Racing Team VR46)
22Yuki KUNII (Honda Team Asia)
23Jason DUPASQUIER (CarXpert PruestelGP)
24Riccardo ROSSI (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy)
25Maximilian KOFLER (CIP Green Power)
26Davide PIZZOLI (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy)
27Gabriel RODRIGO (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3)
28Khairul Idham Pawi (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
RTTatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
RTJaume MASIA (Leopard Racing)
RTAlonso LOPEZ (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)

Photos

MotoGP Takaaki Nakagami

MotoGP Takaaki Nakagami

MotoGP Takaaki Nakagami

MotoGP Takaaki Nakagami

MotoGP Takaaki Nakagami

MotoGP Stefan Bradl

MotoGP Stefan Bradl

MotoGP Stefan Bradl

MotoGP Stefan Bradl

MotoGP Stefan Bradl

MotoGP Alex Marquez

MotoGP Alex Marquez

MotoGP Alex Marquez

MotoGP Alex Marquez

MotoGP Alex Marquez

MotoGP Cal Crutchlow

MotoGP Cal Crutchlow

MotoGP Cal Crutchlow

MotoGP Cal Crutchlow

MotoGP Cal Crutchlow

Moto2 Somkiat Chantra

Moto2 Somkiat Chantra

Moto2 Andi Farid Izdihar

Moto2 Andi Farid Izdihar

Moto3 Dennis Foggia

Moto3 Dennis Foggia

Moto3 Dennis Foggia

Moto3 Dennis Foggia

Moto3 Jeremy Alcoba

Moto3 Jeremy Alcoba

Moto3 Jeremy Alcoba

Moto3 Sergio Garcia

Moto3 Sergio Garcia

Moto3 Tony Arbolino

Moto3 Tony Arbolino

Moto3 Ai Ogura

Moto3 Ai Ogura

Moto3 John Mcphee

Moto3 John Mcphee

Moto3 Niccolò Antonelli

Moto3 Niccolò Antonelli

Moto3 Yamanaka Ryusei

Moto3 Adrian Fernandez

Moto3 Adrian Fernandez

Moto3 Yuki Kunii

Moto3 Yuki Kunii

Moto3 Gabriel Rodrigo

Moto3 Gabriel Rodrigo

Moto3 Khairul Idham Pawi

Moto3 Tatsuki Suzuki

Moto3 Tatsuki Suzuki

Moto3 Jaume Masia

Moto3 Jaume Masia

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