Arenas vs Ogura vs Arbolino: game on in Portimão

The Moto3™ title hangs in the balance as the paddock arrives on the Algarve for the season finale

After 14 races and some incredible highs and lows, the rollercoaster 2020 Moto3™ season is almost at a close with three contenders hoping to lift the crown. In the Gaviota Aspar Team corner there’s Championship leader Albert Arenas, in the Honda Team Asia corner Ai Ogura, and then there’s Rivacold Snipers Team’s Tony Arbolino. Arenas’ lead is eight points over Ogura and 11 over Arbolino, or in other words… it really is everything to play for.

If Arenas wins the Portuguese GP or comes second, he’s the Champion. If he’s on the podium in third and Ogura doesn’t win, likewise. But if he’s not on the podium it all becomes a maths challenge with the three contenders, and lately Arenas has not been on the podium. Add in the new, undulating rollercoaster of Portimão where most have zero or very little experience and the final round is sure to be a showstopper.

The man with the momentum on the way in is not the Championship leader, it’s Arbolino. He’s the latest winner – becoming the 25th different rider to take a victory across all classes this year, equalling the record – and that’s put him right back in the hunt. The Italian has also been a dark horse for some time and arrives with a little less pressure as the underdog, but then Ogura does in many ways too, the Japanese rider’s season a case study in consistency and podiums rather than how to the take pressure as a favourite for the crown.

The pressure then, really, is on Arenas – so can he take it? The Spaniard has had his share of bad luck this season and a few key mistakes, but he’s also shown his A-game to be the best in the business as he’s outfoxed everyone on some pitch perfect final laps. Is that what he’ll bring to Portimão? Or will experience not prove an ace card at a brand new venue?

The other question is their rivals, who may be out of the running for the crown but are very much in the running for the win recently. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is on form, Darryn Binder (CIP – Green Power) arrives from a first pole… Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) is on a roll of rostrum form. It’s more than a three horse race and it may well come down to those around the three contenders on track to decide the outcome of the crown and how they balance risk and reward. And all this at a brand new track…

It’s been a stunning season and the Grande Premio MEO de Portugal is sure to round it out in style. Tune in for the Moto3™ race on Sunday at 11:00 (GMT), where we’ll see a Champion crowned – and another rollercoaster lightweight class battle.

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