(Makes clear in para 3 Oliveira one of nine race winners in 2020)
Nov 21 (Reuters) - KTM Tech 3 rider and home hope Miguel Oliveira edged out Franco Morbidelli to take pole position for the MotoGP season-ending Portuguese Grand Prix at the Algarve International Circuit in Portimao on Saturday.
Oliveira scorched MotoGP’s reserve track, which is hosting the country’s first race in the championship since 2012, to produce an all-time circuit lap record of one minute 38.892 seconds, 0.044 clear of Petronas Yamaha’s Morbidelli.
“It feels really good. I feel like every time I go on the bike on this track I’m enjoying every lap and I think this was key to performing well today,” said Oliveira, who is one of nine different race winners this season.
“When you enjoy on the bike, things somehow get more easy. It’s nice to do my first pole here in Portugal, but still we want to finish strong tomorrow and complete the job.”
Australian Jack Miller of Pramac Racing will line up alongside the pair on the front row, while Briton Cal Crutchlow will start fourth after a superb finish having come through the first qualifying round with Morbidelli.
Suzuki’s Joan Mir, who won his first MotoGP crown and became the Japanese team’s first world champion in two decades by finishing seventh at Valencia last weekend, will start 20th on the grid after a disappointing outing.
Having sealed their maiden teams’ championship, Suzuki are searching for their first constructors’ title since 1982 and are tied with Ducati on 201 points heading into Sunday’s race.
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, who is set to race for the team’s satellite outfit next year, will target his 200th premier class podium finish but the nine-times world champion faces an uphill task starting from 17th on the grid. (Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru Editing by Christian Radnedge)
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