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MotoGP season finale: A journey into the unknown

MotoGP riders

Bengaluru, November 20: A roller-coaster 2020 FIM MotoGP World Championship season that saw nine different winners in premier class arrives at a whole new track for the Portuguese Grand Prix, with Portimao's stunning Algarve International Circuit playing host to what is definitely going to be an equally spectacular season finale.

"History-making" has a propensity to get overused, but the 2020 FIM MotoGP World Championship season has truly deserved the moniker.

Nine different winners in the premier class - equalling the all-time record set in 2016 - is something worth celebrating. And the best news? There is still a race left...

Know more about new MotoGP champion Joan Mir

One last race provides the chance for a tenth different winner to reign. The Algarve track in Portimao is perhaps the most fitting venue for a 2020 season finale.

The MotoGP field head outs on track for practice on Friday as we count down to the final showdown on Sunday, when the lights go out at 2pm local time (7.30pm IST).

New challenge

New challenge

For most of the MotoGP riders, Portimao's Algarve International Circuit presents a brand-new challenge this weekend.

Previewing the final three days of a thrilling 2020 season in the pre-event press conference was newly-crowned world champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), home hero Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3), Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and two riders getting ready for what could be their last appearances in MotoGP -- Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol).

Triple Crown beckons Mir

Triple Crown beckons Mir

Mir arrives in Portugal having achieved his ultimate goal, but the work is not done yet: Suzuki have a Triple Crown to try and earn. Despite winning the MotoGP crown four days ago, Mir was focused on the job at hand in Portugal as an already scintillating season can become that even more sweeter.

"I'm happy and now we've a mission to do here. Getting the Triple Crown, it would be a very good season if we don't get it but it would be super good if we could. I'm fully focused on that, motivated also and let's see if I can have the package to fight for victory here."

Morbidelli upbeat

Morbidelli upbeat

Morbidelli is now second in the title race after his third victory of the season last time out, and staying there would be some achievement.

"I'm very excited and curious to see how this track is going to look like on a MotoGP bike. I raced here in 2013 and rode here a couple of months ago and yeah, I remember that it's a very high adrenaline track and yeah, it'll be interesting. I feel good and ok with the overall package."

Oliveira, the home hero

Oliveira, the home hero

It is a shame that there will not be any Portuguese fans cheering the riders on from the grandstands this weekend, but their superstar will be aiming to put on a show. Oliveira, Portugal's first premier class winner, was also buzzing to get going at Algarve as one of the other riders who know the place well.

"Very happy and excited to the race at home after seven years that we had the last Portuguese GP in Estoril back then and now to have the chance. Still it's a different kind of season, but to have a home GP is great, especially because it's the last race where everyone is a bit more relaxed," said Oliveira, who will don the Tech3 colours for the last time before stepping into Pol Espargaro's shoes.

(By a special arrangement with Dorna Sports)

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Story first published: Friday, November 20, 2020, 9:37 [IST]
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