Moto3: Suzuki Hands SIC 58 Home GP Pole

In Misano, the conditions were almost perfect for the Moto3 riders as they headed out on track to qualify for the thirteenth round of the 2019 World Championship.

In Q1, Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) was the big name to have to try to get himself into the top four and advance to Q2 after the second-placed rider in the championship missed out in the final stages of FP3 on Saturday morning. It proved to be a successful session for Canet, who went through to Q2 in second place behind Niccolo Antonelli (SIC 58 Squadra Corse), with Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC 58 Squadra Corse) and Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) joining Canet in the second session.

Q2 saw advancements from Suzuki and Canet, the Japanese rider taking pole position for Paolo Simoncelli’s outfit on the circuit named after his late son, whilst Canet rescued what could have been another dreadful qualifying with his final lap to go second and give himself a strong chance to erode some of the points advantage of championship leader Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) tomorrow.

Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) had a quite anonymous session, but took third place for his second home race of the season. He went from pole position to win at Mugello earlier in the year, and has given himself a good chance to do the 2019 Italian double with a front row starting position for tomorrow.

Jaume Masia (WMR) is newly unsponsored for this weekend, as is teammate Andrea Migno (WMR), but it did not slow the Spaniard down, qualifying fourth ahead of Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Niccolo Antonelli (SIC 58 Squadra Corse) who will start fifth and sixth respectively for their home race.

Lorenzo Dalla Porta crashed at the end of his first run in Q2, and the Leopard Racing squad had too much work to do on his Honda by the time it got back to the garage that the 2018 Misano Moto3 winner forfeited his second Q2 run. His first run had him in fifth place, and fortunately for the championship leader there were few improvements in the second half of the session, meaning he will start from seventh tomorrow, with Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) – who topped both Friday sessions – and Leopard Racing teammate Marcos Ramirez joining the #48 on the third row.

Andrea Migno has had a reasonable weekend, and had a reasonable qualifying, starting from tenth, with Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) and Filip Salac (Redox PruestelGP) joining him on row four.

It was thirteenth place for Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46), the only VR46 rider to not live in the Rimini area, something which cost reportedly him his spot in the VR46 Riders Academy. The #7 will be joined by John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) – who crashed on his final lap in turn four – and Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP) on the fifth row; whilst row six is comprised entirely of riders who failed to set a valid lap time in Q2, with Gabriel Rodrigo (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) having both of his fast laps cancelled for track limits and both Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) and Romano Fenati crashing on their first runs and missing the rest of Q2 as a result, Masaki going down quite hard in the process.

The fastest rider to miss out on Q2 was Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing), who probably had the pace to make the second session, but poor track position for his final lap meant he had too much traffic, and missed out to Fenati despite the Italian’s Q1 being compromised by a crash on his first lap. The Italian duo of Stefano Nepa (Reale Avintia Arizona 77) and Riccardo Rossi (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) will join Sasaki on the seventh row.

Alonso Lopez at the 2019 Misano qualifying session. Image courtesy of Jaime Olivares/Box Repsol

Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) will head up row eight and will be joined by Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia), who was fast on Friday morning before a pair of crashes on the first day compromised his weekend, and Deniz Oncu (Red Bull KTM Ajo) who qualified twenty-fourth in place of brother, Can, who hurt himself on Friday and was declared unfit.

Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) has been unable to match the performance of his time-topping teammate, Arenas, throughout the weekend, and qualified down in twenty-fifth place, ahead of Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) who will join the #25 on row nine.

It was a tough qualifying session for CIP Green Power, with Darryn Binder qualifying one place ahead of teammate Tom Booth-Amos, the pair occupying the front two positions of the tenth row, whilst wildcard rider Meikon Kawakami (Fundacion Andreas Perez 77) qualified thirtieth for his first Grand Prix appearance. Fellow GP debutant, VR46-backed Italian Elia Bartolini (Sky Junior Team VR46) qualified last, in thirty-first.

Moto3: Ramirez Secures Second Win as Canet Completes Remarkable Recovery

Round twelve of the 2019 Moto3 World Championship took place at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix, in which Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) took victory, his second of the season.

Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) made a strong start from pole position and made the holeshot. It was the #14 rider who most people were worried about escaping, having had a strong pace throughout the weekend. Some early fighting in the first corners allowed him a small advantage, but the high-speed nature of Silverstone meant that the pack soon closed back up.

Tony Arbolino and Marcos Ramirez. Image courtesy of Hondaproracing.com

For most of the first half of the race, the pack remained quite close together, but as the race approached the final ten laps, thirteen riders pulled themselves significantly clear at the front, identifying themselves as the leading group.

Throughout the second half of the race, Ramirez made progress and with five laps to go he came into the top positions. Onto the final lap Ramirez was second to his teammate, championship leader Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing), and ahead of pole sitter Arbolino, who passed Ramirez in turn one. Ramirez came back at Arbolino once more into Stowe, and when Dalla Porta ran wide in Vale, the Spaniard was well-placed to take advantage.

Some battling between the two Italians, Dalla Porta and Arbolino, in Village and The Loop gave Ramirez an advantage going into the Wellington Straight, towards Brooklands, and this proved enough. As the two behind fought over second, the #42 was able to ride relatively alone in the final part of the lap, and take his second career victory, ahead of Arbolino and Dalla Porta.

Despite the strong fighting at the front, a lot of attention in the race was diverted further back in the pack, towards Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), who had been taken out by Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) at Village on lap three. The #44 rider was able to remount quickly, and a strong recovery ride saw him go from last, without a hope of a point, to thirteenth in fifteen laps. The failure of Dalla Porta to take victory, finishing third, in combination with Canet’s tremendous comeback could be critical come Valencia.

Whilst Marcos Ramirez was delighted to pick up his second win of the season, Tony Arbolino will have been somewhat disappointed with second place, having inflicted relative dominance on the Moto3 field throughout the weekend. Nonetheless, taking four points out of Dalla Porta saw him close to thirty-eight points adrift of his compatriot in the standings, and if he continues to work in that direction, this title fight could quite conceivably become a three-way scrap.

Niccolo Antonelli (SIC 58 Squadra Corse) had a relatively quiet race, but came home to finish fourth ahead of teammate Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC 58 Squadra Corse). Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) had his best finish of the season in sixth place, ahead of teammate John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and the SKY VR46 duo of Dennis Foggia and Celestino Vietti in eighth and ninth respectively, in what was a very ‘Noah’s Ark’ top ten, rounded out by Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura.

Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) was eleventh having run on at Maggots in the middle of the race, ahead of Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) and the recovered Canet. Gabriel Rodrigo’s replacement at Kommerling Gresini Moto3, Jeremy Alcoba, was fourteenth, while his former Monlau teammate in CEV, Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0), completed the points scorers in fifteenth.

Sixteenth went to Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP), who was ahead of Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai), Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) who started from the front row, Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) who completed the top twenty.

Filip Salac at the British MotoGP 2019. Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

Filip Salac (Redox PruestelGP) was announced by VNE Snipers to be partnering Tony Arbolino in 2020, but he was unable to celebrate that news with a good result, finishing twenty-first on his first visit to Silverstone. The Czech rider was followed over the line by Stefano Nepa (Reale Avintia Arizona 77), the pair split by little more than half a tenth. Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) was twenty-third, ahead of Can Oncu (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power), Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race), Riccardo Rossi (Kommerling Gresini Moto3), Maximilian Kofler (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team), the wildcard falling close to the end of the race, and Brandon Paasch (FPW Racing) who was last on his Grand Prix debut.

Despite the hectic racing, only Arenas and Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) retired from the race.

Featured Image courtesy of Hondaproracing.com

Moto3: More Hectic Lightweight Action Ahead in Silverstone

This weekend the 2019 Moto3 World Championship heads to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix, round twelve of the season.

Having confirmed his Moto2 future for 2020 Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) goes to Silverstone this weekend with the knowledge that he can focus entirely on the World Championship, the lead of which he lost to Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) in Austria. Canet has a good history in Silverstone, having won in 2017. The Spaniard had a difficult race in Austria, finishing only tenth in the mixed conditions, but nonetheless is just one point behind his Italian rival.

That means Dalla Porta must still do everything to beat Canet this weekend. With over forty points back to third-placed Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) it is almost safe to assume that it will be either Canet or Dalla Porta who will be crowned Moto3 World Champion this year, so each will be strongly targeted by the other. However, in Moto3, it is never that simple.

Lorenzo Dalla Porta. Moto3 2019: Round Eleven – Red Bull Ring, Austria. Image courtesy of Hondanews.eu

For example, Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) returned to the top step in Austria, his first win since 2017. If the Italian continues to put in performances like that throughout the remainder of the season, he could prove problematic for both Canet and Dalla Porta. As well as Fenati, the likes of Arbolino – who is the only rider other than Canet to have won more than once this season – and Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) will likely enter the fray on many an occasion. Mathematically the championship look to be a two-horse race, but in Moto3 it is impossible to predict which way that will go.

Similarly, at a track like Silverstone, with four straights of reasonable length and at lot of fast corners, the racing will be worryingly unpredictable for the championship combatants. A track which is so fast it puts an increased emphasis on the rider’s ability – the commitment of the pilot can make a lot of difference when there are several corners above 100mph stretched over a 130-second-plus lap time – but also on the slipstream, and the rider’s ability to legally find one. The latter stages of the free practice sessions, as well as all fifteen minutes of both qualifying sessions will be particularly hectic, with riders desperately fighting over track position. Some might miss the flag, too concerned about who is in front of them, who is behind them and the respective distances. Additionally, there will be a lot of waiting – in pit lane and on the track – as riders look to hook onto someone immediately, and those with the hook in their back look to pull them out and throw them back. Simultaneously, there could be those riders who, like John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) two weeks ago, are content to lap alone, knowing they have the track and their mind to themselves. Finally, there will very possibly be a lot of grid penalties, like in Austria – there is also the potential for everyone to be well-behaved, but this is Moto3.

Moto3: Fenati Returns to the Top Step in Drying Austrian GP

Rain in the morning had wetted the track for the Moto3 race in Austria, round eleven of the 2019 World Championship. However, by the time the race was to start, slicks were the only choice. The first laps would be difficult, but after only a short time the dry line would be significant.

Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) made the holeshot from second on the grid. The Italian qualified on pole position but penalties for irresponsible riding in Q2 saw many riders penalised. Some were penalised by four rows whilst some just had their fastest laps taken away. This meant the grid was quite different to the results of qualifying – some riders who were penalised actually started from a better position than their qualifying. In the end, it was John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) who started from pole.

McPhee’s start, though, was good enough only for third place after turn one. Fenati led from VNE Snipers teammate Tony Arbolino, whilst McPhee sat in behind. The mixed track conditions saw the field spread out, and it was the front three who had the superior pace, pulling multiple seconds in the first laps, despite some fighting between them – especially the two Italians.

Tony Arbolino, Romano Fenati and John McPhee. Moto3 2019: Round Eleven – Red Bull Ring, Austria. Image courtesy of Hondanews.eu

Eventually, Fenati was able to get to the front and pull an advantage, leaving McPhee and Arbolino to fight over second place, just over one second in arrears to the #55. Meanwhile, Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) were closing in on the battle for fourth place which involved second-in-the-points Lorenzo Dalla Porta, his Leopard Racing teammate Marcos Ramirez, and Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race).

When Masia and Vietti arrived in the battle, it took them a few laps to get to the front, but once they had cleared the Leopard bikes and Yurchenko had made a mistake at turn nine, the KTM duo were able to pull clear of the trio they had just caught, and set their sights on the battle for second between McPhee and Arbolino – five seconds up the road.

Battling between McPhee and Arbolino in the wake of Fenati was allowing Vietti and Masia to close in rapidly. Normally, Moto3 riders are averse to letting themselves be led, but Masia saw that Vietti was dragging him up to the battle for the podium, and he was content to stay there. When they finally arrived in the second-place battle with two laps to go, Masia passed Vietti for fourth and set his sights on McPhee in third. He tried to pass in turn nine, but McPhee pinched him on the inside. This compromised Masia’s line, he drifted out onto the wet part of the track and high-sided.

The incident also forced McPhee wide, which allowed Vietti into third. The Italian was unable to pass his compatriot Arbolino on the final lap, since the Honda has a slight speed advantage, but had a good run out of the final corner. In fact, it was too good, as he had to pull out of the slipstream too early, whilst McPhee tucked into his and took third on the line.

All of this was happening far behind Fenati, though, who had a relatively stress-free final lap, taking his first win since Japan 2017 and earning redemption for his past actions. A less hectic race was helpful for Fenati, who has been open about his struggles in the Moto3 class this year, where the racing is so intense. He was able to run his pace, escape from the pack, and essentially race his pit board for the second half of the Grand Prix. The Italian’s difficulties over the past year will have made this victory perhaps the sweetest of his career.

Tony Arbolino and Romano Fenati on the podium. Moto3 2019: Round Eleven – Red Bull Ring, Austria. Image courtesy of HondaNews.eu

Arbolino’s second place was his second podium in succession – an important pair of results after the summer, and finishing ahead of Dalla Porta and Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) will have brought the Italian slightly further into championship contention as he now sits forty-two points behind Dalla Porta.

Third place for John McPhee was a good way to rebound after his start-line problems last week in Brno. It was a smart race from the #17, taking few risks, and he got the reward with the podium.

Celestino Vietti’s first laps were not fantastic but his recovery in the second half of the race was strong. It was a shame for him to miss the podium at the line, because his pace in the final ten laps to close down McPhee and Arbolino was fast, but anyway to finish the race was important for Vietti, having crashed out in Assen, Sachsenring and Brno.

Marcos Ramirez was quite detached in fifth, but took no prisoners when battling with his teammate. It was an important result for Ramirez, who is confirmed to be leaving Leopard at the end of the season.

Lorenzo Dalla Porta was sixth, which was enough for him to reclaim the championship lead by one point from Aron Canet. The two recent strong results of Arbolino, though, show that Dalla Pota and Canet cannot afford to look only at each other.

Makar Yurchenko slipped back after his mistake just as Vietti and Masia began to check out from the battle with himself and the two Leopard machines. The Kazakh rider came home in seventh ahead of Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP) and Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse), who also finished ahead of Canet and is still only fifty points behind in the championship. Canet completed the top ten, demoting him to second in the championship, but only by one point. It was not a great race for the Spaniard, but it was not a disaster.

Eleventh place went to Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) ahead of Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia), Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) who completed the points, the South African coming from last on the grid.

Alonso Lopez at the RedBull Ring, Spielberg, AUSTRIA
Moto3 race 2019. Image courtesy of BoxRepsol

Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) took a long lap penalty, and finished sixteenth. He was ahead of wildcard Deniz Oncu (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia), Filip Salac (Redox PruestelGP) and Maximilian Kofler (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) who completed the top twenty as a wildcard.

Jeremy Alcoba, in place of the injured Gabriel Rodrigo at Kommerling Gresini Moto3, was twenty-first. Stefano Nepa (Reale Avintia Arizona 77) was twenty second, ahead of Riccardo Rossi (Kommerling Gresini Moto3), ahead of Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race), Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power), Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai) and Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) who remounted after a crash to finish twenty-seventh and last.

Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was the first retirement, crashing out at turn one before Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) went down in turn nine. Can Oncu (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crashed twice before he called a day on his race and Jaume Masia was the final retirement when he fell on the penultimate lap.

Featured Image courtesy of Hondanews.eu

Moto3: Fenati Takes Austrian Pole, Canet 14th

The Moto3 qualifying session in Austria for round eleven of the 2019 World Championship saw Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) take pole position in dry conditions.

Q1 saw a return to days past, with riders more concerned with having people out of their tow than actually setting a lap time. Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) returned to pit lane to get people out of his slipstream, and it worked. He had clear track in front of and behind him on his fastest lap, which was enough for him to top the session. The Spaniard was joined in advancing to Q2 by Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers), Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai) and Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0).

In Q2, the track remained dry, and the riders remained hectic. On the final run, almost all of the riders were together on track, fighting for track position – potentially illegally.

In the end it was Romano Fenati who qualified fastest, ahead of Sachsenring pole sitter Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Jaume Masia.

11-Gp ? #austriangp [#motogp] Spielberg RedBull Ring ▶️ FP2 5° -> Tony 1'37.01115° -> Romano 1'37.543Go ✊ Go ✊ Go ✊▪️▪️▪️#moto3 @ Red Bull Ring

Gepostet von Snipers Team am Freitag, 9. August 2019

John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was one of the few riders to lap on his own in the final run, and for a minute or so he had pole position. In the end, he ended up fourth, with the Honda Team Asia duo of Ai Ogura and Kaito Toba joining him on the second row in fifth and sixth respectively.

Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) had a problem at the end of the session and had to be pushed the wrong way down pit lane. He qualified seventh ahead of Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers), whose final lap was one of many to be hindered by traffic, and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing).

Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) rounds out the top ten in qualifying, heading up row three from Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46), who has been strong this weekend but had his Q2 compromised by a crash on his first run. Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) completes row four.

Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) heads up row five from championship leader Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) who had some problems early on in Q2, seemingly with the brakes. When he got back out his strategy was not perfect, and so he was only fourteenth. Andrea Migno completes row five.

Row six sees Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP) ahead of Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) and Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0).
Stefano Nepa (Reale Avintia Arizona 77) had a strong session in Q1 but was only fast enough for fifth, meaning he will head up row seven in nineteenth and will be joined by Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Filip Salac (Redox PruestelGP).

Can Oncu, Austrian Moto3, 2019. Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

Row eight sees Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) ahead of Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) and Gabriel Rodrigo’s replacement at Kommerling Gresini Moto3, Jeremy Alcoba; whilst Riccardo Rossi (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) is ahead of Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and wildcard Maximilian Kofler (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) on row nine. The two Red Bull KTM Ajo riders, Turkish twins Can and Deniz Oncu qualified twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth respectively. Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) qualified thirtieth but a grid penalty means he will start from the back of the grid, meaning teammate Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power) will start from the back of row ten.

Moto3: Canet Back in Front Ahead of Austrian GP

This weekend the Moto3 World Championship arrives in Austria for the eleventh round of the 2019 season in Spielberg.

Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) arrives in Spielberg after winning in Brno one week ago and reclaiming the championship lead which he now holds over Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) by three points after the Italian finished second in the Czech Republic. Canet has never finished on the podium in Austria, with a best finish of fifth coming in 2017. Canet will have to deal once again with the KTM’s speed deficit to the Honda this weekend, as well, which should be more pronounced at the Red Bull Ring thanks to the amount of time spent at full throttle on a Moto3 bike. On the other side, though, one of the KTM’s strongest points is its braking stability, which will be especially important in Austria with several big stops, at turns one, three and four.

One of Lorenzo Dalla Porta’s strengths is that he is fast in the straight lines, and this will be especially advantageous for the Italian this weekend at a track where he finished fifth last season. The areas where Dalla Porta will be strong this weekend, Canet should be weaker, and vice versa. This should make for an interesting race and, with this being Moto3, the two championship combatants will not be alone on the track on Sunday.

Joining the two on the podium last weekend was Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) who was joined by Canet on the list of multiple Moto3 winners in 2019, which consists of only the #14 and the #44. Mostly, since Arbolino’s win in Mugello, his form has been strong and, with the exception of Sachsenring, the Italian has been fighting for the podium in each of the last five or six rounds and will hope to continue that into this weekend.

Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) was also in the podium battle in Brno, although he missed out to to Arbolino and Dalla Porta on the final lap. Masia’s debut in the World Championship was in Austria back in 2017, when he impressed with a ninth place. Masia has not won since Argentina and not stood on the podium since Mugello, has been waiting a while for a trip to the rostrum – winning on a KTM in Austria would perhaps make that wait seem more worthwhile.

Gabriel Rodrigo (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) is not racing this weekend after his broken pelvis and collarbone in Brno. The Argentine will be replaced by CEV rider Jeremy Alcoba, running the #52.

Featured Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

Moto3: Canet Defeats Dalla Porta in Brno Battle

The sun was out for the Moto3 race in Brno, round ten of the 2019 World Championship, as Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) took his second win of the season and reclaimed the championship lead.

Before the start, Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) stalled his bike on the grid and missed the warm up lap. He had to start from pole position instead of third.

The front row would lose its second contender at the start, as John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) engaged the pit limiter instead of the launch button. He got away well but didn’t accelerate past the pit speed of 60kph, and was lucky to only be collected by one rider, although wildcard Yuki Kunii (Asia Talent Team) will doubtless see that differently.

It was Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) who made the holeshot from pole. He was joined at the front for much of the first half of the race by teammate Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) who spent much of that period riding the outside line to maintain the lead from the group behind which was for most of the race seventeen-strong.

That group was broken up when the two Estrella Galicia 0,0 bikes collided, taking both Sergio Garcia and Alonso Lopez out of the race, and slimming the front group to ten riders.

Before this crash, three riders had been making significant progress: Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing), Niccolo Antonelli and Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power). The all benefitted from the strong effect of the slipstream throughout a lap of Brno, and were able to fight their respective ways up the order to all, at some point, at least have a look at leading the race.

Particularly Antonelli’s ride was impressive, coming from pit lane to fight for the podium and the win, setting several fastest laps along the way and not looking at risk to do any of it. Similarly, and perhaps uncharacteristically, Darryn Binder did not look to be risking much in his overtakes, although some of them were slightly late.

As the race approached its final part, the efforts of these three riders perhaps began to show, as other riders seemed to grow stronger in the closing laps, possibly as a consequence of Antonelli, Dalla Porta and Binder using more tyre to arrive in the fight at all. In comparison, their competitors were in the fight from the beginning, so did not have to apply any unnecessary stress to put themselves in a particular position.

Tony Arblino and Aron Canet. Moto3 2019: Round Ten – Brno, Czech Republic. Image courtesy of Hondanews.eu

Lorenzo Dalla Porta, nonetheless, led onto the final lap, but both Tony Arblino and Aron Canet – both of whom had sat quietly in the top five for the whole race – went through at turn three. Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) – similar to Arbolino and Canet in his anonymity throughout the race – passed Dalla Porta in turn five.

A mistake from Arbolino on the exit of turn nine allowed Canet to cut underneath and take the lead, whilst Dalla Porta used the slipstream to put him in the position to out-brake Masia into turn ten. Another dive from Dalla Porta in turn twelve allowed Canet to escape a little before the run up the hill. The #44 was clear into the final corner, and Dalla Porta was not close enough to slipstream him to the line.

Canet’s victory was a superb one, in which he showed just how much moving away from the Monlau setup for this year has helped him. So many times we have seen Canet sit in the group and do very little but maintain his distance to the front until the final stages this year, and in this race he perfected that strategy to take his second win of the season and reclaim the championship lead.

Dalla Porta’s second place was therefore important for the Italian, who now sits three points behind Canet as the World Championship heads to KTM’s home track in Austria. Despite a poor qualifying where he was only seventeenth, the #48 proved he has the race craft, the mentality and the intelligence to recover from that situation, and in this case that means that he remains in touch in the World Championship chase between himself and Canet.

Tony Arbolino looked strong throughout the race, but there was little he could do about Dalla Porta’s late lunge in turn twelve which cost him the chance to challenge Canet in the final two corners. Nonetheless, it was a good response from Arbolino to his difficult race in Sachsenring where he finished only fifteenth.

Jaume Masia, Moto3 race, Czech Moto2 2019. Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

Jaume Masia was unable to put KTM on the podium in Brno, but his race was a good one, similar in some respects to the one he made in Mugello. He was invisible for most of the race, but was able to challenge strongly for the podium at the end, unfortunately missing out by two tenths.

After starting from pit lane, Niccolo Antonelli should be quite happy with fifth place, but when he had the opportunity entering the final lap to fight for the win it is perhaps difficult to see what he actually achieved. An attempted pass from Antonelli into the first corner dropped him to fifth place on the final lap, and unfortunately for the Italian he was unable to recover from that.

Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) had a strong ride to sixth place. Brno is a track that Ogura knows, having ridden a wildcard ride there in 2018, so a good result was to be expected – to walk away with ‘top rookie’ is nonetheless impressive and shows his potential.

Seventh place went to Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai) who was also in the front group for almost the entirety of the race, but was unable to launch himself into the fight for the podium. He was ahead of Romano Fenati over the line, finishing eighth after dropping out of the lead fight at about half-distance.
Ninth place went to home rider Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP), whilst Darryn Binder eventually rounded out the top ten.

Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) took eleventh place ahead of Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) who made a strong start but was unable to keep the front pace for the full distance. Thirteenth place went to Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) who fought inside the top ten in the early stages, but fell back in the second half. Can Oncu (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took fourteenth, whilst Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) took the final point in fifteenth.

Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) started one place behind teammate Dalla Porta, but was unable to get near the Italian’s pace and was unable to follow him through the pack, finishing sixteenth in the end. Stefano Nepa (Reale Avintia Arizona 77) was seventeenth, ahead of wildcard Deniz Oncu (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team) who crashed early on – his third crash in as many races.

Filip Salac, Moto3, Czech MotoGP 2019. Image courtesy Gold and Goose/KTM

After Yuki Kunii hit John McPhee, both riders were out. Filip Salac (Redox PruestelGP) joined them when he had contact with another rider in the first corner and crashed out of his home GP. Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power) and Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) both finished their respective races with seventeen laps to go, before Riccardo Rossi (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) dropped out as well. Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) crashed twice before he called it a day; then Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) high sided on the exit of turn seven, moments before Garcia and Lopez came together at turn nine. Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) was the final retirement with two laps to go.

Featured Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

Moto3: Dalla Porta and Canet Lead the Way to Brno

The Moto3 World Championship heads to Brno this weekend for the tenth round of the 2019 season, and the beginning of the second half of the season.

Having taken his first win of the season in Sachsenring, Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) arrives in Brno as the leader of the Moto3 World Championship by two points from Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team).

Dalla Porta has had a strong season so far, and especially since the start of the European season he has been consistently fast. Having missed out narrowly in Assen and Mugello to Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) for those wins, taking victory in Sachsenring was important for his season, and it came at an important time – directly before the summer break. Dalla Porta was only tenth in Brno last season, but his smooth riding style, in combination with the Honda’s comfort in the mid-corner, should make the Italian a potent force this weekend.

Aron Canet, by comparison, has had a more complicated year, but his avoidance of incidents has kept him atop the championship for most of the season. Now having lost the championship lead it will be interesting to see how Canet responds this weekend in Brno, where he was second to Fabio Di Giannantonio last year.

Dalla Porta and Canet have a large margin over the rest of the field in the championship. Third in the points is Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse), fifty-eight points behind the leading Dalla Porta. The battle for third, though, is quite tight, with only twelve points between Antonelli in third and Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) in eighth. Between Antonelli and Masia are Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) who won in Barcelona; Tony Arbolino who is the only multiple-winner in Moto3 this year; John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) who won in Le Mans and Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) who has impressed with two podiums in his rookie year.

Of course, things are difficult to predict in a series as tight as Moto3, where the front group can be as strong as twenty riders. Brno should be one of the tracks where the group is big, because there are several medium-length straights where the slipstream will have some effect and keep the field together. This makes Brno a dangerous race for the championship contenders, because in a group as large as twenty, things can go wrong at 150mph, and without any real fault you can be on the floor and scoring no points while your rivals are still fighting at the front. Incident avoidance has been a strong point of Aron Canet’s riding this season, and it could be critical this weekend if the race is particularly hectic.

Featured image Gold and Goose/KTM

Moto3: Canet Leads as Championship Midpoint Approaches

There is no rest for the Moto3 World Championship riders, as one week on from the Dutch TT the 2019 championship heads to the Sachsenring for the German Grand Prix, round nine of the year.

In Assen, Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) became the first person to repeat wins in thirteen races, as the Italian took his second victory in three GPs. At a circuit which should suit the Honda, although perhaps not with the firm way Arbolino has it set, the Italian has a chance to make it three wins in 2019, which could single him out as a clear championship favourite heading into the second half of the season.

Despite having more wins than any other rider, Arbolino is thirty-one points behind the championship leader, who remains Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) notwithstanding the Spaniard finishing only twelfth in the Netherlands. Canet finished fifth in Sachsenring last year, and crashed the year before after starting from pole position. The #44 has a mixed record in Germany, but could do with it swinging his way this weekend with his points lead down to just seven points.

Tony Arbolino winner of Moto3 2019: Round Eight – Assen, Netherlands. Image courtesy of HondaNews.eu

The rider sitting those seven points behind is the rider beaten in last lap fights by Arbolino in both of the #14’s wins: Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing). The #48 is without a win yet this season, although has been consistent in being there at the front. Only interference from other riders in the closing stages of races (Argentina, for example) or mechanical problems have prevented Dalla Porta from remaining in the top ten all season, but this is racing and anything can happen. Dalla Porta and his Leopard Racing team seem to be able to get his Honda working particularly well in a straight line. Whilst this might not be especially important in Sachsenring, the low power of Moto3 means that any minor gain can be an advantage come race time.

John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) is the only ride racing in the Moto3 class who was on the Moto3 podium in Sachsenring last year. Whilst Marcos Ramirez was able to make it a KTM 2-3-4 last year and on more favourable Leopard Racing Honda machinery this year, he could be a threat for the podium at the circuit where he took his first top three back in 2017. Similarly, Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) was sixth last year and was unfortunate in Assen to retire with bike issues after running a strong race fighting for the podium. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) is another rider who will be aiming to put a KTM on the podium, which would be the third time he were to do so in 2019 – a result which would be useful to the Italian rookie having dropped behind compatriot Arbolino in the points after Assen where he didn’t finish.

Featured Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

Moto3: Arbolino Becomes First Repeat Winner of 2019

Still in the grips of the European heatwave, Assen was already roasting by the time the Moto3 riders rolled out for the start of the eighth race of their 2019 World Championship.

Niccolo Antonelli and his Sic58 Squadra Corse teammate, Tatsuki Suzuki, led the way in the very early stages, whilst Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) and the two VNE Snipers bikes of Tony Arbolino and Romano Fenati also looked strong.

The group was, as was to be expected, encompassing of almost the entire field. Even after five laps, twenty-six riders could have been classed in the ‘front group’, and from there it was only retirements which split the group.

Eventually, Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP) was gifted an advantage at the front thanks to action in the final chicane. Unfortunately for the Czech rider, his victory hopes were dashed by a long-lap penalty, a sanction which he was not the first to receive in the race after several riders found themselves taking the long route at Osserbroeken.

Kornfeil’s penalty left Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) out front from Tony Arbolino, whilst Kornfeil dropped back into third place and within reach of the group behind.

Dalla Porta had a reasonable gap to Arbolino, but with the tow and target of his compatriot, Arbolino was able to set the fastest lap of the Grand Prix on the penultimate tour, which set up an all-Italian last lap scrap for the win.
Arbolino tried to pass in turn seven, but that was a strong point for Dalla Porta.

Tony Arbolino winner of the Moto3 2019: Round Eight – Assen, Netherlands. Image courtesy of HondaNews.eu

The #14’s attempt forced him wide and cost him time, but by Mandeveen the leading two were together once more, and Arbolino was in the prime position to try to pass in the Ramshoek, which he did with complete finesse, running wide on the exit to protect the inside line at the chicane, forcing Dalla Porta to the outside. Dalla Porta had a better run through the chicane, but it was not enough to deny Arbolino, who became the first rider to win two races in 2019, and the first rider to repeat victory in thirteen Moto3 Grands Prix.

In taking his second win of the year, and beating Dalla Porta for the second time in a last lap fight, Arbolino confirmed his status as a championship challenger and, although he does not hold the points lead – partly thanks to his breakdown in Barcelona – perhaps he does have the biggest target on his back ahead of Sachsenring.

Dalla Porta will be disappointed to miss the victory when it was so close, but after a difficult weekend for the Italian he will be content to take points out of the championship lead of Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) who finished down in twelfth, meaning the gap is trimmed by sixteen points with one race before the summer break.

Jakub Kornfeil, Moto3 race, Dutch MotoGP 2019. Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

Kornfeil was able to break away from the group after his long lap penalty and secure his first podium of the season, which he deserved after a strong weekend at a track which is perhaps not best suited to the KTM which tends to struggle in the long corners.

Gabriel Rodrigo (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) finished fourth, despite dropping as low as twentieth at times, whilst John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) rounded out the top five. Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) was sixth over the line, ahead of Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) and Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse) who appeared to take the long lap penalty for no reason which dropped him back to the lower reaches of the top twenty before fighting back to eighth. Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) completed the top ten.

Romano Fenati looked very strong in the first half of the race but dropped back to eleventh in the end, ahead of the aforementioned Aron Canet who will need to bounce back in Sachsenring. Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) was in twenty-fifth when the front group contained twenty-six riders, but he stayed on the bike and came through to finish thirteenth for three points, ahead of Filip Salac (Redox PruestelGP) and Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0).

Can Oncu (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was another rider to receive a long lap penalty and finished sixteenth, ahead of Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) who had the mother of all rear-end saves early in the race. Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) finished 12.984 seconds off the win in eighteenth.

Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai) remounted after a crash for nineteenth, ahead of Stefano Nepa (Reale Avintia Arizona 77) and Riccardo Rossi (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) who was yet another rider to take the long lap loop. Wildcard Ryan van der Lagemaat (Qnuim Racing) was twenty-second ahead of Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power) who was the final classified rider in twenty-third.

Surprisingly, it took until seven laps from the flag before there was a retirement, as Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) dropped out with mechanical problems and Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) crashed out.

Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse) dropped out on the next lap and was involved in an incident where Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) clipped the back wheel of Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) in De Strubben. Vietti and Toba went down and Suzuki had nowhere to go, and neither did Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) who was also caught up in the incident. Fernandez, Toba and Vietti all got back to the pits but were unable to continue.

Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) made his presence known, as usual, in the group, sending riders wide at almost every opportunity. He eventually crashed at De Strubben with four laps to go.

Featured image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM