Was this the Portuguese MotoGP™ or an Oliveira masterclass?
© Gold & Goose/Red Bull Content Pool
Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira dominated his home MotoGP™ to end 2020 with a second premier class win and a third victory for KTM.
The 2020 MotoGP™ season came to a close on the fast, flowing and undulating Algarve International Circuit in southern Portugal and it was local rider Miguel Oliveira who claimed a dominant victory, converting a maiden pole position to bring the curtain down on an incredible year’s racing with KTM’s third win of the campaign.
Leading from start to finish, Oliveira didn't look back. In one of the most convincing victories of the season, the Algarve-born rider was followed home by Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller – the Australian managing to overhaul Franco Morbidelli with a few hundred metres of the race remaining, to score a fourth podium finish of the season.
Earlier this year, the entire 2020 MotoGP™ schedule was torn up due to the increasing effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic; however the sport’s organisers reacted brilliantly to plot a 14-race championship resulting in one of the most exciting campaigns in seven decades of premier class racing.
MotoGP™ always serves up excitement and some of the closest duels in world motorsport, but few could have predicted that the 2020 campaign would contain so much drama and so many different winners.
The season has seen a record nine different race victors and a first-time champion in the shape of Suzuki’s Joan Mir. And for one last time before the winter break, the top motorcycle riders in the world didn't disappoint. Neither did the circuit in providing a superb setting for its first MotoGP™ race.
Racing on home soil, Styrian Grand Prix winner Oliveira started from a memorable maiden pole on the Red Bull KTM Tech3 bike and made a rapid start to hold on and lead the pack on lap one. Behind him, Pramac Ducati’s Miller battled for second place with Morbidelli, the pair continuing their fierce battle from the last lap of the previous race in Valencia.
Oliveira’s lead extended to two and a half seconds by lap five, making his tyres work well during the early stages. By lap 10 the KTM rider’s lead amounted to almost four seconds with a fastest lap for good measure. The big question was: would the tyres be able to maintain their grip levels in the second half of the race?
In his final race for Red Bull KTM Tech3 before moving to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in 2021, Oliveira answered without hesitation. Leading from the front, he never came under any pressure, and secured his second career premier class victory and KTM’s third win of the year, capping a stunning year for the Austrian manufacturer.
"It's unreal," exclaimed Oliveira after the race. "You dream about this kind of race – it's incredible. To my team, this is the farewell to Tech3, but it's a great day and I give this victory for Tech3 and for KTM. It is a huge accomplishment."
Almost six seconds behind Oliveira, Miller signed off his time with Pramac Ducati before he moves to the works Ducati team for 2021, snatching second place from Morbidelli on the exit of turn 13 after a race-long battle.