Morbidelli gunning for maiden back-to-back MotoGP™ wins
On home soil, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) produced a historic Saturday afternoon performance to stick his KTM on pole position at the Grande Premio MEO de Portugal. Now, an eagerly anticipated main event is coming up on Sunday afternoon.
So it’s time to delve into 10 stats that have sprung from qualifying in Portimao ahead of MotoGP™’s last 2020 dance.
1. Oliveira has qualified on pole for the first time since he stepped up to MotoGP™ last year. It’s the first premier class pole for a Portuguese rider since pole positions begun to be officially recorded in 1974.
2. With Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) at the Austrian GP, Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) at the Catalan GP, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) at the Teruel GP and now Oliveira, this is the first time there are four maiden MotoGP™ polesitters in a season since 2006 when it was Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, Chris Vermeulen and John Hopkins.
3. This is the third MotoGP™ pole position for KTM, along with Pol Espargaro at the Styrian and European GPs.
4. Morbidelli will be aiming to take his first back-to-back wins in the class. He is also aiming to end the season in second overall, currently four points ahead of Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), and can also take the title of top Independent Team rider as he is 17 points ahead of his challenger and teammate, Fabio Quartararo.
5. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) has qualified third, which is the fifth time this season he starts from the front row. He will be aiming to become the 10th different MotoGP™ winner of the season. Miller is the top Ducati and the best-placed machine from either Ducati or Suzuki as the factories begin the finale equal on points. Whichever machine finishes first wins the Constructor crown – as long as too much ground is not lost to Yamaha, who trail both by 13 points.
6. After passing through Q1, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), who is scheduled to start his last race as a permanent rider on Sunday, qualified fourth as the top Honda, equalling his second-best qualifying result of the season from France.
7. Quartararo has qualified fifth for his best qualifying result since he was on pole at the Aragon GP and will be aiming to stand on the podium for the first time since he won the race at the Catalan GP. He trails teammate Morbidelli, who starts second, for the title of top Independent Team rider in 2020 by 17 points.
8. Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) is the top factory rider and starts sixth after his best qualifying since P4 in Malaysia in 2014.
9. Rins is the top Suzuki on the grid as the Hamamatsu factory aims for the Triple Crown, having won the Rider title with Mir and the Team title. Rins is also aiming to make it a Suzuki 1-2 in the Rider Championship for the first time since 1981. He is currently third overall, four points off Morbidelli, who is on the front row.
10. 2020 MotoGP™ World Champion Mir is 20th, equalling his worst MotoGP™ qualifying from the Italian GP last year. He’s the first rider to win the premier class title without a pole during the season since Wayne Rainey in 1992. – www.motogp.com