MotoGP Portugal: Oliveira takes home pole for Portimao finale

Oliveira takes pole for the finale in Portimao
Tech3 KTM's Miguel Oliveira clinched his first pole position in MotoGP on home soil by 0.044 seconds for the Portuguese Grand Prix when World Champion Joan Mir qualified in 20th place.
MotoGP has not visited Portugal since 2012 but is ending its 2020 season with the first Portuguese rider to take pole position on the series’s first visit to the Algarve International Circuit in an exciting second quarter of the year.
Avintias Johann Zarco set the standard with 1: 39.938 minutes, although this was immediately surpassed by his French compatriot Fabio Quartararo on the Petronas SRT Yamaha.
Quartararo's 1: 39.877 minutes were available for 20 seconds as Yamaha works colleague Maverick Vinales advanced by 1: 39.689 minutes.
Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli was just scratching through the first quarter and shot to the top of the rankings in 1: 39.245 seconds on a medium-sized rear tire.
Morbidelli's efforts went unchallenged until the final three minutes when the Italian produced a time of 1: 39.141 minutes on his only soft tire on his one-year-old SRT machine for the session.
The SRT driver dived under the 1:39 mark on his last lap with 1: 38.936 seconds. The Q1 pacemaker Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda and the works team RC213V from Stefan Bradl came in the front row for the time being.
But some subsequent improvements have pushed the Hondas out of the front row, and Oliveira hit the timing screen on his final lap.
Oliveira takes pole for the finale in Portimao
The Tech3 driver connected his last sector with the best Morbidelli for pole with 1: 38.892 minutes, with Pramacs Jack Miller completing the front row.
Crutchlow's LCR swan song starts from fourth place on the grid ahead of Quartararo and Bradl, with Zarco shuffling back to seventh place after a late fall in Turn 8.
Vinales finished eighth 0.368 seconds before pole time and KTM's Pol Espargaro failed to move up to ninth after a quick start to his final lap.
Alex Rins was the leading Suzuki rider in tenth place and needed a great rest on Sunday in his quest for second place in the championship. The Spaniard took Takaaki Nakagami - who crashed in RP4 - on the LCR Honda and Andrea Dovizioso on his last Ducati outing.
KTM's Brad Binder endangered Morbidelli's passage into the second quarter in his last two laps, but missed it by 0.114 seconds and will start in 13th place ahead of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) and Francesco Bagnaia from Pramac.
The biggest shock in qualifying was that world champion Mir couldn't leave the first quarter and started a worst 20th place in his career with his Suzuki after a lap was canceled late.
I only have Avintias Tito Rabat behind him when he left MotoGP and Tech3 substitute Mika Kallio. Honda's Alex Marquez, Valentino Rossi at his last factory appearance at Yamaha, the outgoing Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci and Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia) occupy positions 16 to 19.
MotoGP Portuguese GP Qualifying Results
Item
driver
team
gap
1
Miguel Oliveira
Tech3 KTM
1m38.892s
2
Franco Morbidelli
Petronas Yamaha
0.044 s
3
Jack Miller
Pramac Ducati
0.146 s
4th
Cal Crutchlow
LCR Honda
0.264 s
5
Fabio Quartararo
Petronas Yamaha
0.307s
6th
Stefan Bradl
Honda
0.312 s
7th
Johann Zarco
Avintia Ducati
0.346 s
8th
Maverick Vinales
Yamaha
0.368 s
9
Pol Espargaro
KTM
0.392 s
10
Alex Rins
Suzuki
0.575 s
11
Takaaki Nakagami
LCR Honda
0.639 s
12
Andrea Dovizioso
Ducati
0.695s
13th
Brad Binder
KTM
0.498 s
14th
Aleix Espargaro
Aprilia
0.870s
15th
Francesco Bagnaia
Pramac Ducati
1.127s
16
Alex Marquez
Honda
1.157s
17th
Valentino Rossi
Yamaha
1.166s
18th
Danilo Petrucci
Ducati
1.199s
19th
Lorenzo Savadori
Aprilia
1.282s
20th
Joan Mir
Suzuki
1,398s
21st
Tito Rabat
Avintia Ducati
1.535s
22nd
Mika Kallio
Tech3 KTM
2.861s
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