The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider is untouchable from lights out as Arenas, Arbolino and Ogura go boxing to decide the title
Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) signed off from Moto3™ with pure dominance in the Grande Premio MEO de Portugal, the Spaniard taking the holeshot from his sixth pole of the season and uncatchable thereafter. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) just pipped 2020 Rookie of the Year Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) to second, but the Spaniard’s third place is nevertheless his first Grand Prix podium to round out his rookie season.
Behind that fight, an almighty Moto3™ war raged with the key title contenders all in the battle, but in the end it was Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) who came out on top, the Spaniard impeccably picking his way through the lightweight class trenches to emerge as the 2020 Moto3™ World Champion.
At lights out, Fernandez got the holeshot from pole and immediately got the hammer down, with immediate movement for the title contenders too as Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) mugged Arenas to move into third, Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) having taken over in second. Next time over the line both Ogura and Arenas moved forward too, although Fernandez was already beginning to disappear in the lead.
The shuffle then began behind the number 25, tension palpable as Arenas, Ogura and those on the chase diced it out. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team), meanwhile, was on the move. After a tough qualifying leaving him in 27th on the grid, the Italian had his head down and clawed back the gap from the second group to his, arriving on the scene with still more than a few laps left – now well in the fight with Arenas and Ogura, his two Championship rivals.
After some more shuffling and ousting in the front battle, Arenas was back in tenth. By three laps to go, Arenas was Champion by eight points, with Ogura then dropping to the back of the group in P12. Arbolino, having made it up the road, was then passed by Darryn Binder (CIP – Green Power) and dropped to P7, as Arenas got back up to P8 with two and a half laps to go. But the Championship leader was then out of the seat and picked off by John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing), although he hit back.
Ogura, now desperate, was deep into Turn 1 after trying to pass five riders in one. He was wide on the exit and was P10 as Arenas was now back right behind Arbolino. With one lap to go, Arbolino, Arenas and Ogura were P6, P7 and P9. So on the last lap, all Arenas had to do was defend and stay on.
Contact at Turn 3 between Ogura and Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) nearly cost the pair of them and while the latter looking over his shoulder, Arenas was trying to go around the outside. On the exit of Turn 4 though, Arenas was then out of the seat and onto the green. A huge moment on the final lap of the race and suddenly, the points leader was P12 – but that was ok. Arbolino was up to P5 and Ogura had regrouped to P8, but it would be enough. Nevertheless, Arenas was taking risks. And at Turn 12, the KTM rider nearly got his front chopped by Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) after a huge lunge, an almost catastrophic end to the Spaniard’s season on the last lap!
But, despite plenty of scares, with Arbolino 5th and Ogura 8th, Arenas crossed the line in P12 to claim the 2020 Moto3™ World Championship. Super Arenas was on top of the world after a stunning season and it’s a thoroughly deserved crown, but hats off to Arbolino’s incredible effort from P27 on the grid. P5 wasn’t enough for the number one spot but with the equally awesome Ogura finishing P8, Arbolino takes second in the Championship based on number on wins. Four points was the difference between three riders in the end.
At the front though, Fernandez was the ride of the day. Flying from lights out, the Spaniard signs off from Moto3™ with a dominant win in what was fast becoming ‘Fernandez style’. Foggia’s race was also phenomenal, the Italian bouncing back from two Long Laps to second, just enough to fend off Jeremy Alcoba. The Rookie of the Year took his first Grand Prix podium in style, fighting it out to the line.
Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) finished half a second from the podium in P4, another great ride from the double Valencia rostrum finisher, with Arbolino completing the top five. Binder ended his KTM Moto3™ career with a great P6 as Vietti pips Ogura to P7 in their last Moto3™ race. McPhee picked up P9 to beat Öncü, Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was P11 ahead of World Champion Arenas.
Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) took points but had a tougher race from the front row, ahead of Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Moto3) and Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) as they were the final scorers of 2020. Suzuki and Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) were two higher profile fallers.
And so, another crazy Moto3™ campaign comes to an end in more chaos and creation, with Arenas emerging as the 2020 Champion. Congratulations to the Spaniard and his team on a wonderful 2020 season, and congratulations to Arbolino and Ogura for taking the fight down to the last lap. Now, the riders will take a hard-earned winter break and come back aiming to be even stronger in 2021.
1 Raul Fernandez – Red Bull KTM Ajo – KTM 38:06.272
2 Dennis Foggia – Leopard Racing – Honda +5.810
3 Jeremy Alcoba – Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 – Honda +5.866
Raul Fernandez: “This weekend was a special weekend, the first time my brother raced here, it was an amazing surprise when I knew that, it was extra motivation, and then the team said that tomorrow I’ll try the Moto2 bike… even more motivation! So on the grid I said, ‘ok, I’ll push, I want to do the whole race in the 47s because I can’, and I didn’t think about anything, just about the bike, enjoying it, sliding it like Supermoto. This is my best race and it’s incredible to end my Moto3 career with victory and pole. I have a great team, we’ll enjoy it and need a relaxed day to enjoy it. It’s my last day with the Moto3 team and I want to party!”
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