The last World Supersport sprint race in Europe for the year would be on a cold, damp track thanks to rain in the morning. Jonathan Rea was declared fit to race. Tyres for the ten lap race would be a tricky choice, with wets, intermediates and slicks available, however, everyone lined up with wet tyres, with the track only 23ºC.
It has been four years since anyone lapped the Circuit of The Americas quite so rapidly. In 2018 and 2019, nobody, not even Marc Marquez, managed to get under the 2'03s. So it is a testament to how much faster the MotoGP riders are going that two riders managed it on Saturday in Austin. And this, despite the fact that the track has become so much more bumpy in the past couple of years.
So bumpy, in fact, that it appears as if the circuit has been issued an ultimatum: resurfaces the section from the exit of Turn 1 all the way through Turn 10, or MotoGP is not coming back. Though riders try not to talk to the media about what was discussed in the Safety Commission, the body in which the MotoGP riders can talk to Dorna and the FIM about safety issues, so that they can speak freely, it was obvious there was only one topic of discussion in the meeting: the bumps which have rendered the track so dangerous that there were calls by some riders not to race at all on Sunday.
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class at COTA:
Results and summary of qualifying for the MotoGP class at COTA:
The sky was looking a touch darker in Austin but there was no real threat during the final practice session of the premier class and it allowed Jack Miller to cruise into the lead of another session, this time with a one tenth advantage on his rivals. Adding to a pretty low key Friday at CotA, Joan Mir made a fiery start in FP4, as his engine spat out flames down the back straight, but the frustration proved to be solid motivation, as he rejoined on his second machine and climbed into second position.
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto3 class at COTA:
The weather in Austin was stable enough to deliver three dry FP3 sessions and the intermediate class didn’t have to rush to sort out the top 14 positions. Despite a few movements early on, Raul Fernandez’s Friday benchmark stood until the final handful of minutes of FP3, when fellow rookie Ai Ogura and then teammate Remy Gardner challenged for the top of the timesheets. However, Fernandez quickly responded to reclaim the lead by six hundredths of a second from Gardner, whose final charge was derailed by a moment in the final sector.
Saturday morning in Texas was still dry and hot, albeit quite overcast, and it allowed the premier class another physically-demanding battle for the top 10. There was no major movement on the timesheets early on but the time attack eventually hotted up for the final handful of minutes, with Jack Miller ending FP3 on a high, almost seven tenths of a second ahead of the opposition. Only five rivals managed to finish the session within a second of the Ducati man, with Takaaki Nakagami as the main challenger.
World Supersport would follow on from the exciting Superbike race with another exciting and close race.
The weather radars were kind on the lightweight class on Saturday morning, with dry conditions for FP3 and a solid opportunity to fight for that valuable top 14. Despite the improved forecast, riders were in no hurry to attack the timesheets so Filip Salac’s top FP2 time held on until the shootout in the final handful of minutes. Jaume Masia eventually managed to claim the top of the timesheets by almost two tenths of a second from Stefano Nepa, whose late charge promoted him to second, ahead of compatriots Dennis Foggia and Niccolò Antonelli.
WorldSBK standings after a thrilling Race 1 at Portimão:
Standings in the WorldSSP300 class after the first race on Sunday:
World Superbike race one was twenty laps of Portimao, with no Pirelli SCX tyres available for safety reasons. The track was 43ºC with 25ºC air temperature. Toprak Razgatlioglu leads Jonathan Rea by twenty points in the championship going into this round.
World Superbike was fifteen minutes of qualifying, with riders getting two of their three Pirelli SCX tyres. Pirelli restricted the SCX to just this session and the Superpole race on Sunday, deeming it unusable for the feature races. Alex Lowes was ruled unfit and didn't get to take part in qualifying.
World Supersport Superpole qualifying was twenty minutes of qualifying at the Portuguese track. Riders would once again encounter yellow flags that cancelled a lap record.