Remy Gardner left it to the last round of the 2020 championship to take his first win in a tense Moto2 Portuguese race, which saw Enea Bastianini take the world championship title after crossing the line fifth in Portimao.
Up front, the Australian had placed his Onexox TKKR SAG Racing bike on pole and lead the opening laps before being passed by Luca Marini, who was looking for a maximum points haul to try and snatch the crown.
With nothing to lose, Gardner pulled his Kalex back in front on the penultimate lap and held on to collect the set of pole, a first victory and the fastest lap in the race. Incredibly, Gardner was faster on the final lap of the race than he was on his pole lap. Leading over the line by 1.609s, he is the 26th different winner across all classes this season – a new record.
Surviving an early scare where he hit neutral and sat up, almost collecting Bastianini who was sat in behind him at the time, second was not quite enough to see Sky Racing Team VR46’s Marini to the title, his valiant effort leaving him nine points short.
Sam Lowes, riding with broken bones in his hand, also gave it his best shot. Coming to the chequered flag third, the number 22 was also nine points short in the title hunt.
The EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider rode as high as second and was in with a shout of the title if Bastianini made an error, but it was not to be for the Brit, who was gracious in defeat.
Marco Bezzecchi was also ahead of Bastianini in the race in fourth on the second Sky entry, but his points difference meant his title hopes were distant to begin with.
The title went to Enea Bastianini who was attacked for position throughout the race. He fought back from early hard passes from Lowes’ team-mate Fernandez and a late lunge for position from the ever improving Jorge Martin to take a hard earned fifth, which rewarded him with the Moto2 2020 title before his move up to MotoGP.
Martin had missed a session after a rare engine breakdown in Moto2 which left him playing catch-up. He found a different line to most and was confident enough to make a string of late lunges as he finished sixth for Red Bull KTM Ajo.
Joe Roberts enjoyed a surge of late race pace which saw him finish seventh for Tennor American Racing, almost catching Martin at the line.
That saw him clear of Augusto Fernandez, who did a great job of supporting his team-mate Lowes where possible in the race on his way to eighth and Lorenzo Baldassarri, who completed the top ten for Flexbox HP 40.
Marcos Ramirez was right behind him in eleventh on the second Tennor American Racing entry and was the best of the rookies in the race.
Marcel Schrotter couldn’t translate his warm-up topping speed into race pace, taking the chequered flag a distant twelfth.
The remaining points on offer went to Bo Bendsneyder in 13th for NTS RW Racing, Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in 14th and Aron Canet (Pull & Bear Team Moto2) in 15th after his long lap penalty for a jump start.
Canet became the Moto2 rookie of the year after his nearest rival in the standings, Hector Garzo, crashed out after six laps.
Jorge Navarro fell on the same lap, with Kasma Daniel, Edgar Pons, Andi Farid Izdihar and Simone Corsi all failing to go the distance.
Fabio Di Giannantonio and Nicolo Bulega didn’t make it past the first corner after the Speed Up man’s fall saw him collect Bulega, who was wiped out by his body, not the bike. They attended the medical centre for check-ups, along with Garzo.