Portimao has been officially designated to host the last stage of the 2020 World Championship over the weekend, between November 20th and 22nd. It was clear enough that the Portuguese track was the main candidate to host the last Grand Prix of the season, but only today was this decision officially confirmed, bringing the World Championship back to Portugal after an absence that as lasted since 2012.
At the time, however, they raced at Estoril, a technical track, but one that's not particularly exciting in its development, while the Algarve race track represents quite the opposite. A true challenge for the MotoGP riders. Between ups and downs, changes of direction at very high speeds, and a truly heart-stopping corner that leads to the finish line (without forgetting the downhill braking at the end of the first straight), watching the MotoGP bikes whizzing on this track will undoubtedly offer moments of pure motorcycle adrenaline.
All the parties involved have obviously expressed their satisfaction, starting with FIM President Jorge Viegas, who also has a Portuguese passport and, as a former rider, had the return of the MotoGP world championship to his homeland very much at heart.
"I'm really proud of the fact that the MotoGP is returning to my homeland, eight years after the last Grand Prix held at the Estoril Circuit in May 2012. I want to sincerely thank Dorna, the Algarve International Circuit, and the Portuguese Motorcycle Federation for having created a way to manage all that was required to organize the final stage of the 2020 World Championship in Portugal."
A satisfaction that is obviously shared by Paulo Pinheiro, CEO of the company that manages the Portimao racetrack, and who's more than satisfied to host the third, top-level motoring event this year. The SBK has already raced on the Portuguese track in 2020 and, today, the good news has also arrived for the Formula 1.
"It's a great achievement for our team to finally have the MotoGP on our track! The MotoGP is the high-point of two-wheeled sports, and we're absolutely thrilled about this. It was a long process with Dorna. We had an agreement in place since 2017, and the hard work finally paid off. The icing on the cake will also be having Miguel Oliveira on the starting grid in the MotoGP, and maybe being able to fight for the podium will be a huge added value for this race. The World Championship could also be awarded right there. We're working to have fans in the stands, and will start with a capacity of 30,000 for the race weekend. We'll then decide, along with Dorna and the health authorities, on the next steps to take. It's difficult to express how happy we are that we'll be hosting this race."
Finally, it was Carmelo Ezpeleta who expressed his thoughts regarding the arrival of the MotoGP in Portimao, after a courtship that lasted several years and resulted in this announcement, which could also make the Portuguese track the crossroads for the 2020 World Championship.
"It's great news for us that we signed an agreement with Portimao in 2017, to designate it as a reserve circuit in case of the cancellation of other stages. We've been in contact with them constantly. We've already raced in Portimao with the SBK, and we think this could be an incredible opportunity for us. Moreover, a clause has been included in the agreement, which provides for the complete resurfacing of the track after the SBK stage. When we explained this to the riders, they were thrilled, because they had only seen the track on TV, but no one has ever raced there. Portugal has a long tradition in our sport, and there have been some memorable battles in Estoril. It's a great thing for us to return to Portugal, especially having Miguel Oliveira representing Portugal in the role of home rider. We're very excited to be racing in Portimao at the end of this season."
Here's the MotoGP calendar updated after Portimao was confirmed: