2019 Champion AndrewZh: how to be fast in Portimao

The tremendous Algarve International Circuit hosts the first race in this year’s MotoGP™ eSport Global Series

A new addition for the 2021 MotoGP™ eSport Championship, the Algarve International Circuit is the scene of the first round of this year’s Global Series, where eleven finalists will go head-to-head to gain an early edge in the standings.


Few tracks on the current MotoGP™ calendar set the pulse racing like the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal. Phillip Island may come close with it's seaside setting and fifth gear curves but in terms of physicality, undulations and variety of turns the venue also known as Portimao sets it apart.

If a rider can be quick here, they can be quick just about anywhere. The layout is technical and challenging. And its fast, flowing nature leads it to routinely serve up some memorable racing.


Nestled in the beautiful setting of Portugal’s Algarve, the 100,000 capacity Autodromo Internacional do Algarve – known more colloquially as Portimao, after the port city it sits half an hour outside of – was opened on the 2nd of November, 2008. The circuit was inaugurated by WorldSBK when they headed to Portugal for their final round of that season – but it’s not just a racetrack. The Algarve Motorsports Park is a state-of-the-art complex which boasts the stunning race track, a go-kart track, an off-road park, a hotel, an apartment complex, a technology park and a sports complex – it really is the bee’s knees.

In terms of the actual circuit layout, the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve has 15 corners – nine right, six left. The undulation in Portimao is incredible and the front straight will allow the MotoGP™ riders to really stretch the legs of their machines, before a unique downhill descend into Turn 1. There's a reason it gets called a high-speed rollercoaster, it's a thrill for riders and fans alike.

It all starts with a fast run down to turn one. Go back to third gear before accelerating through turn two. Go back down to first gear for the turn three hairpin. Feather the throttle through the fast turn four left, and be careful not to lose the front as you brake and shift back to first gear at turn five.

Then you start building speed. Full throttle is required through turn six and then ease your way through seven before braking down to first gear at turn eight. Be careful with acceleration as you descend down through turn nine, feathering the throttle on the way. And trail brake through turn ten, into eleven, again back down to first gear.

Turn twelve is almost flat out and again shift back to first for the turn 13 hairpin (a great overtaking spot on the track). Then comes the rollercoaster. Patience is required through turn 14 as you gently accelerate through second and third gears, and take the long, final turn 15 in fourth gear before powering your way onto the front straight.

The key to a fast time here is all about smoothness and consistency. If you can do that, then you are in with a shout!

Who will start their campaign on top? Find out on Friday the 11th of June at 16:00 (GMT +2) as the all-important stage of the 2021 MotoGP™ eSport Championship Global Series kicks off!

Fans can watch on motogp.com and esport.motogp.com, on selected TV broadcasters, and across social media platforms including YouTube (via the MotoGP™ and MotoGP™ eSport channels), MotoGP™ eSport TwitterInstagram, Facebook (via MotoGP™ and MotoGP™ eSport pages) and Twitch via MotoGP™ and MotoGP™ eSport.

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