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Champion Mir can make MotoGP™ history in Portugal

19/11/20

The final race of 2020 could be historic for the Spaniard.

Joan Mir wrapped up the MotoGP™ championship last weekend and could make history when the Portuguese Grand Prix brings the curtain down on an electrifying season.

Seventh place in the second race at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, where Mir claimed his maiden win the week before, was enough to ensure the Suzuki Ecstar rider will finish the campaign at the top of the standings.

Should he get beaten to the top step of the podium when MotoGP™ heads to Portimao for the first time, the Spaniard will become the first rider in history to take the premier class title despite only winning one race.

Lights out is scheduled for 1:00am AEDT on Monday 23 November.

LAST TIME OUT

With Fabio Quartararo, Maverick Vinales and Alex Rins failing to get on the podium at the Valencia Grand Prix, finishing seventh was enough for Mir to seal championship glory.

Quartararo's title challenge ended when he crashed out, while Petronas Yamaha team-mate Franco Morbidelli held off Jack Miller in a thrilling last-lap battle to claim his third win of the season.

It is a tally that only Morbidelli and Quartararo have managed to reach in 2020.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN PORTUGAL

Having guaranteed their place at the top of the riders' and teams' standings, Suzuki can complete the Triple Crown in Portugal.

The Japanese manufacturer last won the constructors' championship in 1982 and head to Portugal level on points with Ducati at the top of the standings, with Yamaha 13 points behind having been docked 50 for breaching technical regulations.

Ducati will no doubt hope Andrea Dovizioso can help lead them to the title in his final race before taking a sabbatical in 2021 – he has one podium in five MotoGP™ races in Portugal.

There will also be team farewells for Valentino Rossi, Jack Miller, Pol Espargaro, Johann Zarco, Danilo Petrucci, Tito Rabat and Cal Crutchlow, while Iker Lecuona will be replaced by Mika Kallio after testing positive for coronavirus.

Miguel Oliveira, the only Portuguese rider in premier class history, will hope to give the home fans – though none will be in attendance – something to cheer as MotoGP™ returns to the country for the first time since 2012.

TOP FIVE STATS

Yes, Joan can – Mir has the chance to finish the season with twice as many points as he accumulated across 17 races in his debut MotoGP™ campaign (92). He heads to Portugal with 171 from 13 grands prix.

New ground - Only six riders raced in the last Portuguese Grand Prix in the top category in 2012: Rossi, Dovizioso, Crutchlow, Petrucci, Stefan Bradl and Aleix Espargaro.

A tough campaign – Rossi has retired from five races in 2020 and has never had six in any of his 25 seasons in all categories. The Italian is also guaranteed to finish with less than 100 points for the first time.

A landmark race - Quartararo will contest his 100th grand prix in all categories. In the previous 99 he has reached four wins, 14 podiums, 13 pole positions and five fastest laps.

Barren run - Vinales has failed to finish on the podium in his past six races and if he fails to do so at the Portuguese Grand Prix it will be his worst run since his first 22 MotoGP™ races between 2015 and 2016.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
Riders
  1. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) - 171
  2. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) - 142
  3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) - 138
  4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) - 127
  5. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) - 125
Teams
  1. Suzuki Ecstar - 309
  2. Petronas Yamaha - 230
  3. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing - 209
  4. Ducati - 203
  5. Monster Energy Yamaha - 169