16 year old Pedro Acosta, Red Bull Ajo KTM, takes chequered flag in Qatar

The date 4th April 2021 may well go down in motorcycle racing history as the day that Pedro Acosta announced himself to the world. Still only 16 years old, the Spaniard pulled off one of the all-time great rides in any class in modern memory.

Pedro Acosta winner of the second round of the 2021 Moto3 Championship at Losail. Darryn Binder came second and in third place Niccolò Antonelli. Image courtesy of Rob Gray (Polarity Photo)|KTM.

Fans look back at 18th August 1996 when Valentino Rossi won his first 125cc Grand Prix at Brno or 6th June 2010 when Marc Marquez took his first victory in the same class at Mugello. You have to wonder in years to come just how historic the second race of the 2021 season will be in the career of young Acosta.

A rookie winning a race is nothing new, even in only his second race. What stands out though is that Acosta started from the pit lane along with six other riders, some eleven seconds after the lights went out to start the race. As the eighteen laps ticked away, Acosta and Romano Fenati (who finished tenth) dragged the late starters up to the main pack with seven laps remaining. Once there, Acosta picked his way through each rider and when he hit the front, and you might think he had over-used his tyres, he still pulled away. Darryn Binder nearly caught him by the end but the Red Bull rider held on to win by 0.039 seconds.

Of course, there is no guarantee that Acosta will be a star of the future as it was a young Fenati that finished second in his debut at Qatar in 2012 before winning in Jerez at the next round and he’s still in Moto3 at the age of 25 (largely through issues of his own creation).

Binder often featured in the leading pack and was so close to his second ever win. He was lucky to avoid being taken out by an incident involving his teammate John McPhee and Jeremy Alcoba however. With four laps to go, Binder led into turn one from Alcoba  who nearly clipped the back of the South African. Alcoba went over the handlebars and his cartwheeling Honda took out the innocent McPhee who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Scot reacted badly to being taken out of the race two weeks in a row and squared up to the Gresini rider before aiming a kick at his Spanish crown jewels. Both riders will receive a pit lane start at the next round at Portimao in Portugal on 18th April, with McPhee penalised one thousand Euros and 10 seconds and Alcoba one thousand Euros and five seconds.

The last step on the podium went to Nico Antonelli who won here five years ago. The Italian started twelfth and positioned himself in the top six with a lap to go. Fortunately for him, last week’s winner Jaume Masia took Gabriel Rodrigo wide half way around the lap and Antonelli popped up to fourth. The 25-year-old then passed his compatriot Andrea Migno for third and beat him to the line by 0.032 seconds. Masia came home seventh while Argentine rider Rodrigo was only thirteenth.

Kaito Toba, who won here in 2019, finished fifth for his second top ten finish in a row with the rookie taking his best finish so far with sixth. Ayumu Sasaki took his best Losail result in seventh followed by fellow Japanese rider Ryusel Yamanaka who took his best ever finish with eighth in his twentieth start. With Tatsuki Suzuki finishing twelfth and Yuki Kunii fifteenth (his first points finish) there were five Japanese riders in the top fifteen for the first time since Jerez 2019.

RESULTS (TOP 15)

1 – Pedro Acosta – SPA – Red Bull Ajo KTM – 25
2 – Darryn Binder – RSA – Petronas Sprinta Honda – 20
3 – Nico Antonelli – ITA – Avintia Esponsorama KTM – 16
4 – Andrea Migno – ITA – Rivacold Snipers Honda – 13
5 – Kaito Toba – JAP – CIP Green Power KTM – 11
6 – Izan Guevara – SPA – Gaviota Aspar Gas Gas – 10
7 – Ayumu Sasaki – JAP – Red Bull Tech 3 KTM – 9
8 – Ryusel Yamanaka — JAP – CarXpert PruestelGP KTM – 8
9 – Jaume Masia – SPA – Red Bull Ajo KTM – 7
10 – Romano Fenati – ITA – Sterilgarda Max Husqvarna – 6
11 – Jason Dupasquier – SUI – CarXpert PruestelGP KTM – 5

12 – Tatsuki Suzuki – JAP – SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda – 4
13 – Gabriel Rodrigo – ARG – Indonesian Gresini Honda – 3
14 – Max Kofler – AUT – CIP Green Power KTM – 2
15 – Yuki Kunii – JAP – Honda Team Asia Honda – 1

STANDINGS (TOP 15)

1 – Pedro Acosta – SPA – Red Bull Ajo KTM – 45
2 – Darryn Binder – RSA – Petronas Sprinta Honda – 36
3 – Jaume Masia – SPA – Red Bull Ajo KTM – 32
4 – Nico Antonelli – ITA – Avintia Esponsorama KTM – 26
5 – Izan Guevara – SPA – Gaviota Aspar Gas Gas – 19
6 – Kaito Toba – JAP – CIP Green Power KTM – 18
7 – Gabriel Rodrigo – ARG – Indonesian Gresini Honda – 14
8 = Sergio Garcia – SPA – Gaviota Aspar Gas Gas – 13
8 = Andrea Migno – ITA – Rivacold Snipers Honda – 13
10 – Tatsuki Suzuki – JAP – SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda – 12
11 = Romano Fenati – ITA – Sterilgarda Max Husqvarna – 11

11 = Jason Dupasquier – SUI – CarXpert PruestelGP KTM – 11
13 – Ryusel Yamanaka — JAP – CarXpert PruestelGP KTM – 10
14 – Ayumu Sasaki – JAP – Red Bull Tech 3 KTM – 9
15 – Carlos Tatay – SPA – Avintia Esponsorama KTM – 4

Red Bull top of table after Race 1 in Moto3, Qatar

Jaume Masia won an exciting race to start the 2021 season, winning in Qatar ahead of his Red Bull teammate Pedro Acosta. The pair had spent the majority of the race near the front of the leading pack and took first and second at the start of the last lap. For Masia it was his fourth win in Moto3 and he has now won three of his last six races after he won both rounds at Aragon last year.

Jaume Masia Winner of the 2021 Moto3 Grand Prix of Qatar. Pedro Acosta second. Image courtesy of Polarity Photo/KTM

Rookie Acosta qualified eleventh but worked his way forward early on to work well with his teammate, especially when trying to break away from Darryn Binder who finished third. The sixteen-year-old Spaniard proved he is one of the rookies to look out for this season with a confident ride. Another rookie worth noting for the right reasons is Izan Guevara who qualified on the front row for the new Gas Gas team and finished seventh in the race.

One rookie with a race to forget was Xavier Artegas after he took out three riders as well as himself on the second lap with a move which could be described as optimistic or adventurous at best, or likely in less polite terms by the riders he retired. Coming into the heavy-braking left hand corner he tried to go up the inside but had too much speed and too little grip to make it work. His move took out Jeremy Alcoba, Andrea Mignoe and one of the pre-race favourites John McPhee. The Brit had qualified on the front row with his new teammate Binder on pole position.

Binder had a solid race from the front row, riding in his usual aggressive style with late-braking passes and was in the top three for many of the eighteen laps. In the end though he could not catch the breakaway from the Red Bull riders on the last lap and settled for his fifth career podium.

The entire race was a typical Moto3 affair with places changing every lap and plenty of riders going three or four wide into turn one. In the penultimate lap though there was one fantastic rear-facing onboard shot showing the riders going six-wide into one right hand turn and all coming out unscathed. It was a perfect example of the combination of skill and madness required to race at this level.

Guevara’s teammate Sergio Garcia had a solid race on the Gas Gas, running in the leading pack throughout and staying out of trouble. He just did not have enough at the end to reach he podium. It was very similar for Argentine rider Gabriel Rodrigo although at one point it did look like his chance of a high finish had gone when he clipped Masia’s rear wheel and ran wide. The 24-year-old pulled himself back up from outside the top ten to finish fifth in the end.

Jaume Masia Winner of the 2021 Moto3 Grand Prix of Qatar. Pedro Acosta second and Darryn Binder third. Image courtesy of Polarity Photo/KTM1

Nico Antonelli qualified tenth and was largely unnoticed in the early stages of the race but in the final third he worked his way through to the front and led shortly before the final lap. He dropped back to sixth by the chequered flag.  His 2020 teammate Tastsuki Suzuki finished eighth with Gueveara between them. The Japanese rider started dead last after failing to set a qualifying time in Q1 so a top ten finish was a great result.

2019 winner Kaito Toba finished tenth ahead of Jason Dupasquier who took his first points finish. Romano Fenati made his name here in 2012 on his debut with second place but struggled around to eleventh ahead of Carlos Tatay.

TOP FIFTEEN RIDERS

1 – Jaume Masia – SPA – Red Bull Ajo KTM – 25 points
2 – Pedro Acosta – SPA – Red Bull Ajo KTM – 20
3 – Darryn Binder – RSA – Petronas Sprinta Honda – 16
4 – Sergio Garcia – SPA – Aspar Gas Gas – 13
5 – Gabriel Rodrigo – ARG – Indonesian Gresini Honda – 11
6 – Nico Antonelli – ITA – Avintia KTM – 10
7 – Izan Guevara – SPA – Aspar Gas Gas – 9
8 – Tatsuki Suzuki – JAP – SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda – 8
9 – Kaito Toba – JAP – CIP Green Power KTM – 7
10 – Jason Dupasquier – SUI – CarXpert PruestelGP KTM – 6
11 – Romano Fenati – ITA -Max Racing Husqvarna – 5

12 – Carlos Tatay – SPA – Avintia KTM – 4
13 – Filip Salac -CZE – Rivacold Snipers Honda – 3
14 – Ryusei Yamanaka – JAP – CarXpert PruestelGP KTM – 2
15 – Max Kofler – AUT – CIP Green Power KTM – 1

Double Delight for Petronas Sprinta in Moto3 Qualifying from Qatar

Petronas Sprinta Racing were delighted with their qualifying efforts as both riders will start on the front row on Sunday. Darryn Binder took pole position after coming through Q1 in first place while teammate John McPhee took third place with his last lap of Q2.

Into the first corner, of the 2020 Jerez Moto3 GP. Image courtesy of Polarity Photo/KTM

Binder’s time of 2’04.075 is a new record for Moto3 at a race weekend and the South African will look to make the most of his second ever pole tomorrow. Brit McPhee was hampered by a Leopard Racing bike on his penultimate lap but still made third place, just 0.079 seconds ahead of fourth place.

Sixteen-year-old rookie Izan Guevara was the surprise of both Q1 and Q2. The Spaniard came through the first session in second place behind Binder and finished second again in Q2, closing the gap from 0.6 seconds to 0.2 seconds in the sessions. It was a fantastic start for the Aspar Gas Gas team on their Moto3 debut.

The second row will see Spaniards Jeremy Alcoba and Jaume Masia joined by Japan’s Kaito Toba. Row three will see Gabriel Rodrigo, Sergio Garcia and Riccardo Rossi.

Romano Fenati came through Q1 in third place only to miss setting a time in Q2 by leaving the pit lane too late to set a time. Tatsuki Suzuki had already made the same mistake in Q1 and will start last, behind new teammate Lorenzo Fellon.

1 – Darryn Binder – RSA – Petronas Sprinta Honda

2 – Izan Guevara – SPA – Aspar Gas Gas

3 – John McPhee – GBR – Petronas Sprinta Honda

4 – Jeremy Alcoba – SPA – Indonesian Racing Gresini Honda

5 – Jaume Masia – SPA – Red Bull Ajo KTM

6 – Kaito Toba – JAP – CIP Green Power KTM

7 – Gabriel Rodrigo – ARG – Indonesian Racing Gresini Honda

8 – Sergio Garcia – SPA – Aspar Gas Gas

9 – Riccardo Rossi – ITA – BOE Owlride KTM

10 – Nico Antonelli – ITA – Avintia Esponsorama KTM

11 – Pedro Acosta – SPA – Red Bull Ajo KTM

12 – Jason Dupasquier – SUI – CarXpert PruestelGP KTM

Moto3 – the Season Preview so far …… by Si Boyle

With Sky Racing Team VR46 and Estrella Galicia leaving Moto3 to focus their resources on MotoGP and Moto2 projects, the lightweight class grid will look a little different in 2021. The top five riders in last season’s standings have all moved up to Moto2 also. So with a full breakdown of the teams and riders at the bottom of this page, I’m going to first give you my six to watch in 2021.

John McPhee

Now the elder

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

statesman of Moto3, it had looked likely that the Brit would move to Moto2 with MV Augusta in 2021 but he has re-signed for a third season with Petronas Sprinta to race the Honda for another shot at the title. John has three wins under his belt, including Misano last year but to date has lacked the consistency and luck for a sustained challenge for the crown with his best overall being fifth in 2019. Can this be his year at last?

Darryn Binder

McPhee’s new teammate could be another title challenger in South African Brad Binder’s younger brother, Darryn. The 22-year-old has been in Moto3 since 2015 and took his maiden win in Catalunya last year. The first race of the 2021 will be his 100th in the class but also his first on a Honda after previously riding Mahindra and KTM machinery. So far in his career, Darryn has certainly been a Sunday rider, often coming through the pack in exciting fashion after qualifying poorly the day before. If he can start higher up the grid in 2021 it could make a huge difference to his season.

Into the first corner, of the 2020 Jerez Moto3 GP. Image courtesy of Polarity Photo/KTM

Jaume Masia

The young Spaniard is surely one of the favourites for the 2021 title. Of the riders staying in Moto3 from last season he finished the highest in sixth place, taking two wins in the double-header at Aragon. This is his fourth full season in the class and a move to one of the best teams on the grid, Red Bull KTM Ajo is his best shot at the title yet. The challenge for Masia may come from one rider I haven’t included in this sextet, his own teammate Pedro Acosta who won the Red Bull Rookies Cup last season.

Tatsuki Suzuki

The relationship between the likeable Japanese rider and the popular SIC58 Squadra Corse team continues for a fifth season in 2021. After seven races of 2020, the 23-year-old was a title contender with victory at Jerez in round three and a podium at Misano. Tatsuki appears to have formed a strong bond with Paolo Simoncelli over the years and it would be great to see the pair back on the podium in 2021.

Dennis Foggia

The former VR46 Academy rider starts his fourth season in Moto3 with perhaps more expectation than any previous year. H

Dennis Foggia, Moto3 race,,Aragon MotoGP 2019. Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

e remains with the competitive Leopard team and has a rookie for a teammate in Spaniard Xavier Artegas which should help the team focus on his title bid. The 20-year-old Italian also took his maiden win last season at Brno and was second at the final race of the year in Portugal.

Jeremy Alcoba

The rookie of the year in 2020 took his first podium at the final round in Portugal. The 19-year-old also finished in the top ten in eight of the fifteen races and showed great consistency across the season (only one finish outside the points and two retirements). Of the riders yet to win a race in Moto3, Jeremy is my tip for one in 2021.

 

FULL LIST OF TEAMS AND RIDERS

Petronas Sprinta Racing – Honda

17 – John McPhee (GBR) – 26yo – 151 races, 3 wins – 7th overall in 2020

40 – Darryn Binder (RSA) – 22yo – 99 races, 1 win – 8th overall in 2020

Red Bull KTM Ajo – KTM

5 – Jaume Masia (SPA) – 20yo – 53 races, 3 wins – 6th overall in 2020

37 – Pedro Acosta (SPA) – 16yo – Rookie – 2020 Red Bull Rookies Cup Champion, 3rd in FIM CEV Moto3 in 2020

Red Bull KTM Tech3 – KTM

53 – Deniz Oncu (TUR) – 17yo – 15 races, 0 wins – 17th overall in 2020

71 – Ayumu Sasaki (JAP) – 20yo – 70 races, 0 wins – 16th overall in 2020

Aspar Team Moto3 – GasGas

11 – Sergio Garcia (SPA) – 17yo – 32 races, 1 win – 9th overall in 2020

28 – Izan Guevara (SPA) – 16yo – Rookie – 2020 FIM CEV Moto3 Champion, 9th in Red Bull Rookies Cup in 2020

Leopard Racing – Honda

7 – Dennis Foggia (ITA) – 20yo – 54 races, 1 win – 10th overall in 2020

43 – Xavier Artigas (SPA) – 17yo – Rookie – Runner-up in FIM CEV Moto3 in 2020

Team Gresini Moto3 – Honda

52 – Jeremy Alcoba (SPA) – 19yo – 20 races, 0 wins – 11th overall in 2020

2 – Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG) – 24yo – 103 races, 0 wins – 13th overall in 2020

SIC58 Squadra Corse – Honda

24 – Tatsuki Suzuki (JAP) – 23yo – 103 races, 2 wins – 12th overall in 2020

20 – Lorenzo Fellon (FRA) – 16yo – Rookie – 11th in FIM CEV Moto3 in 2020

Sterilgarda Max Racing Team – Husqvarna

55 – Romano Fenati (ITA) – 24yo – 128 races, 12 wins – 14th overall in 2020

31 – Adrian Fernandez (SPA) – 16yo – 1 races, 0 wins – 7th in FIM CEV Moto3 in 2020

Rivacold Snipers Team – Honda

16 – Andrea Migno (ITA) – 24yo – 115 races, 1 win – 15th overall in 2020

12 – Filip Salac (CZE) – 19yo – 33 races, 0 wins – 21st overall in 2020

CIP Green Power – KTM

27 – Kaito Toba (JAP) – 20yo – 69 races, 1 win – 18th overall in 2020

73 – Maximilian Kofler (AUT) – 20you – 19 races, 0 wins – No points in 2020

Reale Avintia Moto3 – KTM

23 – Niccolo Antonelli (ITA) – 24yo – 147 races, 4 wins – 19th overall in 2020

99 – Carlos Tatay (SPA) – 17yo – 17 races, 0 wins – 22nd overall in 2020

BOE Skull Rider Facile.energy – KTM

82 – Stefano Nepa (ITA) – 19yo – 40 races, 0 wins – 20th overall in 2020

54 – Riccardo Rossi (ITA) – 18yo – 33 races, 0 wins – No points in 2020

CarXpert Prustel GP – KTM

6 – Ryusei Yamanaka (JAP) – 19yo – 19 races, 0 races – 24th overall in 2020

50 – Jason Dupasquier (SUI) – 19yo – 15 races, 0 wins – No points in 2020

Honda Team Asia – Honda

92 – Yuki Kunii (JAP) – 16yo – 15 races, 0 wins – No points in 2020

19 – Andi Farid Izdihar (INA) – 23yo – Rookie in Moto3 – 16 Moto2 races in 2020 with no points

Jerez, Moto2 and Moto3 did not disappoint.

If MotoGP was weird enough having no racing for over 8 months – nearly 9 months, then Moto2 and Moto3’s predicament was just frustrating especially for the riders, a four mouth wait between Qatar and the second round at Jerez.

Moto3

Saturday saw Fenati, Antonelli, Arbolino and Ogura all progress into Q2, the four were only separated by 0.393s. Q2 was just as busy with Q1. Fenati was the top Q1 runner in Q2 with Tatsuki Suzuki. The championship leader and winner of round one taking pole. Andrea, Migno and John McPhee taking the remaining front row. Sunday saw the sun shine with blue skies at Jerez. First up was Moto3, waiting to blast down the first turn with the track at 36c and air temps 27c. Everything seemed perfect except of course there were no fans.

Into the first corner, of the 2020 Jerez Moto3 GP. Image courtesy of Polarity Photo/KTM

The red lights quickly faded away, and there’s some pushing and shoving but Suzuki got the holeshot by some margin – it seemed he was gunning for the second win from two. Foggia and Tatay crashed with each other at turn one. Suzuki had a blinding first lap with a sizeable gap with about 20 bikes following him with Migno and Fernandez making the top 3. Lap 2 saw Vietti take third from Fernandez. By Lorenzo’s corner the gap that Suzuki had, was now gone. By lap four Vietti had taken Migno and then Suzuki on the start-finsh straight. By the end of the lap, Suzuki was fifth and Arenas was fourth.

From lap five the standard Moto3 dog fighting began, with Arenas and Arbolino joining into lap six. Arbolino quickly made his way to second behind Viettti. Vietti and Arblino in second, stayed in front whilst Migno, Arenas, Fernandaz and Rodrigo were all where playing musical “chairs” until lap eleven when Arbolino scuttled past Veitti for the lead and kept it. Vietti couldn’t keep second place though, falling back to fifth.

It was now a fight between Arbolino, Alcoba, Arenas and Binder. McPhee was now sixth behind Vietti. Arbolino’s lead didn’t last long before Arenas quickly grabbed first in a sort of group mele which you weren’t quite sure who would be where, or was going to fall – a very typical Moto3 moment.

Into Lap twelve it was Arenas, Binder, Alcoba, McPhee and Arbolino in the top five. Suzuki, the once leader was hanging on in sixth but by the end of the lap having a resurgence to fourth. Arenas was hanging on in first, Moto3 style because McPhee had managed to go from fourth to second with Binder sliding to fifth. Arbolino was now back in the hunt. The tustle continued with Binder briefly taking second at the end of lap thirteen but by lap fourteen Arbolino had retaken second and McPhee was fourth.

Arenas continued to stay in first with the main three protagonists of Arbolino, McPhee and Binder swapping and sniping for places behind him. Arenas like Suzuki wanted a gap, but that gap never really appeared as each lap passed Lorenzo Corner they where swamped next to each other preying for any one but them to make a mistake. Coming up to Lorenzo Arbolino went wide, along with most the train behind him – except for John McPhee and by not going wide he took first into the start-finish straight.

It wasn’t until lap eighteen that we finally saw the lead change. Arbolino made his move down the back-straight with Arenas droping behind Binder for third. McPhee managed to create more of a gap than Arbolino or Suzuki ever did but maybe because of the excessive dog fighting behind him. Arbolino, Vietti, Binder and Arenas were not in any mood to settle for anything less than first. With less than 4 laps to go the fuse was lit for the fireworks, either somebody would go wide or crash. The four were ready to pounce on McPhee.

Again the back straight was the centre of the action with Arbolino snuffling out Mcphee’s lead and regaining first again. Binder crashes mid way through lap twenty-one. The final three left in the hunt was Arbolino, McPhee and Arenas. Into Lorenzo’s corner and Arbolino goes wide again, allowing Mcphee back into first place, going into the last lap.

Albert Arenas winner of the Jerez 2020 Moto3 Race. Image courtesy of Polarity Photo/KTM

McPhee kept the pace going into turn one on the last lap. But McPhee was being prevented by Arbolino and Arenas from creating any gap, because they were snapping and sniping at his heal, ready to pounce. Arbolino was indeed ready to pounce and he made his move down the back straight into the braking area. McPhee slid back to second, but Aranas wanted second and into the corners before Lornezo Corner, he made his move. McPhee was having none of it, he made his move going sharper and closer to the apex then Arbolino and Arenas did but by doing so he went wide on the exit into the straight, slightly touching the grass and promptly hitting Arbolino causing McPhee to crash in a plume of dust. Arbolino went on to stay on his bike and to take second, Ogu took third with Arenas taking the top spot.

Moto2

In Q1 Fabio DI Ginnantonio , Xavi Vierge, Hafizh Syahrin and Joe Roberts all progressed into Q2. Only Vierge could make any substantial improvement on their grid placings in Q2 with Ginnantonio last, Roberts sixteenth and Syahrin one place up in fifteenth. At the front it was Martin who took pole with the other Jorge (Jorge Navarrro) taking second with the final front row being taken by Sam Lowes

The second race of the day saw the battle of the Jorges for the holeshot, with Jorge Martin and Jorge Navarro in second with Sam Lowes on third. Martin made the holeshot, with the other two on the front being consumed by the rows behind them, resulting in a huge gap for Martin by the first corner. The other Jorge – Jorge Navarro, crashed into the kitty litter. By the middle of the lap after the long back straight, the top three had shaken out as Martin, Canet and Marini followed by Lowes with Schrotter in fifth.

jJorge Martin into the first corner of the 2020 Jerez Moto2 race. Image courtesy of Polarity Photo /KTM

Into Lap three, and we saw a break-away group of four; Martin, Marini, Canet and Nagashima. Marini was on a charge, and just after the long back straight, he made his move swiftly under cutting Martin. Marini first, Martin second and Nagashlm third, with Canet and Bezzecchi behind them. Jorge Martin was slowly but surely heading backwards, with Nagashima taking second at Lorenzo’s corner. At the end of lap five, Bezzecchi made the pass to take fourth from Canet.

The top three of Marini, Nagashima and Martin stayed that way with an increasing gap made by Marini into lap Seven, when finally Bezzecchi made his move along the back straight and going tighter into the apex pushing Martin back into fourth. Unfortunately for Bezzecchi, it was not to last because into turn 10 on lap eight, Bezzecchi’s front folded on him after going onto the rumble strip and he crashed. Schrotter, into turn 11 on lap nine crashed looking winded from the fall. Two riders crashing in one lap removed two potential candidates for the podium

With fifteen laps to go, Marini seemed, along with Nagashima and Martin content with their positions. That though wasn’t the case for Sam Lowes, as he was sixth on lap eight, he inherited fifth after Schrotter crashed. By the end of lap eleven, Lowes had caught and passed Canet for fourth. Lowes then started hunting down Martin for third. By lap eighteen, Lowes was only a second behind but Martin was starting to match Lowes lap times.

It wasn’t just Lowes thinking he could grab another place, Nagashima also contemplated the same thing as he was closing in on Marini. Into lap twenty-one, Lowes now only .6 seconds behind Martin but his pit board showed a 0.5s to push him forwards. As much as Nagashima was catching Marini, he was, with 3 laps to go stil 1.585s behind Marini. It was to be a last lap attempt for both Lowes and Nagashima.

Luthi meanwhile crashed on turn nine, on the 22nd lap but by the start of the final lap the gap was 1.562 to Marini, which meant that Nagashima had settled for second. Barring the racing gods intervening, the same went for Lowes who was now 1.158s behind Martin. Being racers of course, ‘it ain’t done ‘til the flag drops’ on your bike and that indeed was the case with the final five being Marini, Nagashima, Martin, Lowes and Canet.

Despite waiting over four months for the championship to continue we saw a polished race worthy of its wait. Whilst lacking the drama of the MotoGP race or the Moto3 race, it certainly wasn’t a filler race. Despite obtaining a second place, Nagashima maintains behind championship leader after the win at Qatar. Baldassarri second with Jerez’s race winner a worthy third. The long list of title contenders still have every chance given the nature of the intermediate round. That said, Nagashima is a surprise contender. Next up is the Gran Premio Red Bull de Andalucía or Jerez to you and me.

Pos. Points Num. Rider Team Time/Gap
1 25 75 Albert ARENAS Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3 39'26.256
2 20 79 Ai OGURA Honda Team Asia 0.34
3 16 14 Tony ARBOLINO Rivacold Snipers Team 0.369
4 13 16 Andrea MIGNO SKY Racing Team VR46 0.546
5 11 13 Celestino VIETTI SKY Racing Team VR46 0.634
6 10 25 Raul FERNANDEZ Red Bull KTM Ajo 0.682
7 9 2 Gabriel RODRIGO Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 0.753
8 8 24 Tatsuki SUZUKI SIC58 Squadra Corse 0.881
9 7 23 Niccolò ANTONELLI SIC58 Squadra Corse 0.986
10 6 5 Jaume MASIA Leopard Racing 3.646
11 5 71 Ayumu SASAKI Red Bull KTM Tech 3 3.751
12 4 82 Stefano NEPA Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3 3.936
13 3 55 Romano FENATI Sterilgarda Max Racing Team 4.157
14 2 21 Alonso LOPEZ Sterilgarda Max Racing Team 6.086
15 1 52 Jeremy ALCOBA Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 5.608
16   6 Ryusei YAMANAKA Estrella Galicia 0,0 6.098
17   11 Sergio GARCIA Estrella Galicia 0,0 6.256
18   40 Darryn BINDER CIP Green Power 17.642
19   27 Kaito TOBA Red Bull KTM Ajo 28.324
20   73 Maximilian KOFLER CIP Green Power 28.406
21   50 Jason DUPASQUIER CarXpert PruestelGP 28.64
22   89 Khairul Idham PAWI Petronas Sprinta Racing 28.844
23   9 Davide PIZZOLI BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy 29.026
24   70 Barry BALTUS CarXpert PruestelGP 33.352
25   53 Deniz ÖNCÜ Red Bull KTM Tech 3 +1'03.589
Not Classified        
    17 John MCPHEE Petronas Sprinta Racing 1 Lap
    92 Yuki KUNII Honda Team Asia 6 Laps
    12 Filip SALAC Rivacold Snipers Team 12 Laps
    54 Riccardo ROSSI BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy 15 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap      
    7 Dennis FOGGIA Leopard Racing 0 Lap
    99 Carlos TATAY Reale Avintia Moto3 0 Lap

Data derived from Motogp.com

Pos. Points Num. Rider Team Time/Gap
1 25 75 Albert ARENAS Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3 39'26.256
2 20 79 Ai OGURA Honda Team Asia 0.34
3 16 14 Tony ARBOLINO Rivacold Snipers Team 0.369
4 13 16 Andrea MIGNO SKY Racing Team VR46 0.546
5 11 13 Celestino VIETTI SKY Racing Team VR46 0.634
6 10 25 Raul FERNANDEZ Red Bull KTM Ajo 0.682
7 9 2 Gabriel RODRIGO Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 0.753
8 8 24 Tatsuki SUZUKI SIC58 Squadra Corse 0.881
9 7 23 Niccolò ANTONELLI SIC58 Squadra Corse 0.986
10 6 5 Jaume MASIA Leopard Racing 3.646
11 5 71 Ayumu SASAKI Red Bull KTM Tech 3 3.751
12 4 82 Stefano NEPA Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3 3.936
13 3 55 Romano FENATI Sterilgarda Max Racing Team 4.157
14 2 21 Alonso LOPEZ Sterilgarda Max Racing Team 6.086
15 1 52 Jeremy ALCOBA Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 5.608
16   6 Ryusei YAMANAKA Estrella Galicia 0,0 6.098
17   11 Sergio GARCIA Estrella Galicia 0,0 6.256
18   40 Darryn BINDER CIP Green Power 17.642
19   27 Kaito TOBA Red Bull KTM Ajo 28.324
20   73 Maximilian KOFLER CIP Green Power 28.406
21   50 Jason DUPASQUIER CarXpert PruestelGP 28.64
22   89 Khairul Idham PAWI Petronas Sprinta Racing 28.844
23   9 Davide PIZZOLI BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy 29.026
24   70 Barry BALTUS CarXpert PruestelGP 33.352
25   53 Deniz ÖNCÜ Red Bull KTM Tech 3 +1'03.589
Not Classified        
    17 John MCPHEE Petronas Sprinta Racing 1 Lap
    92 Yuki KUNII Honda Team Asia 6 Laps
    12 Filip SALAC Rivacold Snipers Team 12 Laps
    54 Riccardo ROSSI BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy 15 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap      
    7 Dennis FOGGIA Leopard Racing 0 Lap
    99 Carlos TATAY Reale Avintia Moto3 0 Lap

Data derived from motogp.com

Rebooting MotoGP 2020 – we start at “home” – Jerez

After the aborted start at Qatar (ok the Moto2/3 guys whipped around the moonlit track), for the MotoGP fraternity, the 2020 MotoGP season reboots and hits “home” at Jerez from the 17th to 19th of July.

Any of the Spanish circuits could be classed as “home” but Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto giving its full titles, usually provides some great racing with some brilliant passes.

The tower and the spaceship building over the start-finish line provide some great scenery yet also gives the riders some great reference points during the race.

Jerez is a 4.4km, 2.75 mile circult, with Marc Marqez winning last years MotoGp event and also holding the fastest lap of 1:38.051. The MotoGP race consists of 25 laps, Moto2, 23 laps and Moto3 22 laps.

You can watch a lap onboard from 2018 here:

MotoGP

Ever since Marc Marquez sat on the Repsol Honda, one saying started to come out “Only Marquez can stop Marquez”, typically that meant him to crash. But that now is in the form of his Brother; Alex. Jorge Lorezno left his contract early, after a horrendous year at the Honda works team, which ended up with him injured and he is now the Yamaha test rider. It will only be a matter of time before we see Lorenzo racing – body permitting.

Repsol Honda, with the Marquez brothers, have a family feel to it but that can quickly turn into a family feud as Alex has the ability to match his brother. Of course we have to mention the RC213V, will that still be as extreme as it was in 2019 which nearly became the Bronco Billy of 2019.

Yamaha SRT had a brilliant first year beating the Yamaha works team. Fabio Quartararo’s first year was equally outstanding, with six poles and five second places, which resulted in being fifth in the championship last year. The bike, whilst being kinder to the tyres than the works team, still has the issues that the works team has – lack of power. Franco Morbidelli, whilst being a star in the Moto2 championships, hasn’t set his debut year in MotoGP on fire. He can justifiably say that the combination of the bike, and having Quartararo as a team mate, may have been worth saying. Excuses wear thin, though.

Yamaha Racing, the works team, do not want a second year of embarrassment, especially with it being Valentino Rossi’s last year with the team. Maverick Viñales will be hoping that the lack of straight line speed will be less of an issue this year. Rossi will be hoping for the same, along with tyre wear, not to be a consistent issue with his front starts leaving him 7th or 8th by the end of the race in 2019.

Andrea Dovizioso, at thJerez 2020 July test. Image courtesy of Ducati

Ducati, Andrea Dovizioso having been runner up in the championship for the last three years running, must feel frustrated and yet happy that his form has been consistent. From 6 wins in 2017 down to only 2 last year, but collecting 8 more points (2017: 261 points; 2019: 269 points) has been the weak point for the team. So Dovizioso will be hoping that 2020 will be one of less frustration, and also winning his first MotoGP championship. Danilo Petrucci will be wanting to increase on his 2019 haul of one win and two 3rd places.

KTM, having mixed fortunes in 2019 in all 3 classes, they have finally made the decision to dump Moto2. Probably the right thing long term, as they have under performed since coming to MotoGP. Hopefully in doing so, Pol Espargaro will have a chance to fight for race wins.

Rest of the bunch.

Álex Rins will be wanting further wins this year. Team Suzuki Ecstar, have shown they can produce the goods, but the consistency isn’t there yet. Zarco is another one to watch – in the Moto2 class, he trailblazed but once in MotoGP, that came to a sudden halt. Jack Miller is in exactly the same boat. Of course, you can never rule out anyone in MotoGP in winning a race. One person missing is Cal Crutchlow. The LCR Honda, was not to his liking in 2019, after coming back from an injury which hindered his progress in 2019.

Moto2

Both the Moto2 and Moto3 classes completed one round at Qatar back in march with Tetsuta Nagashima wining round one. Both the top two riders from 2019 have moved to MotoGP: Marquez and Brad Binder. The loss of the 2019 top two will not result in any loss of quality. Far from it. Lüthi, Baldassarri, Navarro, Marcel Schrötter, Jorge Martín, Fabio Di Giannantonio and of course Marco Bezzecchi will all be fighting for the championship. To suggest a favourite for the championship would be crazy at this point.

Moto3

Albert Arenas, won Qatar Moto3, with John Mcphee 0.053 seconds behind. That sets up a great 2020 season with Mcphee, Masia, Foggia, Fernandez, Arbolino, Toba and of course Romano Fenati racing for the title. Fenati will want the racing to do the talking and not his explosive emotions.

Featured image courtesy of Box Repol

Moto3: Three Riders in the Fight as the Asian Tour Begins

Two weeks on from Aron Canet’s (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) victory in MotorLand Aragon, the Moto3 World Championship heads to Thailand for the first of the long hauls that indicate the end of the season.

Canet’s MotorLand win was accompanied by an eleventh place for Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing). That means that as the championship heads to Asia there are only two points between the top two in the championship in favour of Dalla Porta, while Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) is only twenty-nine points behind the Dalla Porta – essantially, the championship is very close with only five rounds to go.

Aron Canet, Moto3 race Aragon MotoGP 2019. Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

While Canet may be the most recent winner in Moto3, his form this season has been up-and-down, if consistently within the top ten or twelve. The KTM certainly seems to be less adaptable circuit by circuit compared to the Honda – perhaps due to the NSF250R’s superior straight line speed – and that could be a factor in Canet’s season. Either way, the Spaniard has been the best rider at managing the KTM’s problems this year and it would be surprising to see a front group this weekend absent of the #44, in spite of him missing last year’s race and thus lacking any racing experience of the track whatsoever.

In comparison, Lorenzo Dalla Porta was second in Thailand last year, beaten by Fabio Di Giannantonio on the final lap. The #48 Honda always seems strong on corner exit and in top speed, and that could certainly prove a potent weapon for Dalla Porta this weekend with the long straights that start the lap.

In Moto3, though, it is safe to assume that the group will be big until the end of the race, and so it is safe to assume that the fight will go to the final corner. In Thailand, that means a heavy braking zone into a particularly tight hairpin. Braking stability, both upright and on angle, will be critical to coming out on top this weekend and, as we saw last year with Enea Bastianini and Marco Bezzecchi, it can all go wrong quite easily and quite quickly into turn fourteen on the final lap.

This could be where Arbolino’s aggression and braking prowess could come into play. The Italian tends to have his Honda set more stiff than Dalla Porta, and that allows him superior braking performance compared to his compatriot quite often. His lines tend to be less flowing than those of the championship leader, more like Canet’s – who rides the KTM in a way that the RC250 likes – in fact, but that could be a particular advantage in such a last lap scrap.

Dennis Foggia, Moto3 race,,Aragon MotoGP 2019. Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

Of course, this is Moto3, and more riders will be involved in the battle. For example, Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) is arriving this weekend at the circuit where he took his first World Championship podium one year ago as well as coming off the back of his second GP podium in MotorLand two weeks ago. Similarly, Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) was on the World Championship podium for the first time in Aragon, and will be looking for another strong result this weekend with his home race next up on the calendar. Additionally, John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was strong in Aragon and appears to be getting stronger with each race inside the Petronas Honda squad; while his teammate Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) needs a strong result here ahead of his home race in Motegi.

Finally, in place of Niccolo Antonelli at SIC 58 Squadra Corse this weekend is Kevin Zannoni while the #23 recovers from injuries sustained in Misano; and in place of Romano Fenati in VNE Snipers is again Julian Jose Garcia.

Moto3: Supreme Canet Cruises to Aragon Win as Dalla Porta, Arbolino Struggle

The fourteenth round of the 2019 Moto3 World Championship took place in MotorLand Aragon, as differing fortunes befell the championship contenders, changing the complexion of the points battle ahead of the season’s trip to Asia.

It was the pole sitter, Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) who led the early stages. The Spaniard had a clear pace advantage throughout the lap, but the slipstream in the back straight was enough to keep the pack attached to him, so he couldn’t escape.

Aron Canet, race start, Aragon Moto3 race 2019. Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

This was temporary, though, as fighting between those behind Canet allowed the #44 to break away, and by half race distance he had three seconds on the field.

It was, therefore, a race for second in the final part, and that was a fight contested between eight riders. As the race drew on it became clear who the main contenders for the podium would be: Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0), John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) all looking strong.

As they moved onto the final lap, there was a breakaway trio of Ogura, Foggia and Lopez, although fighting between Foggia and Ogura, as well as a strong first half of the lap for McPhee, allowed the group to close up again halfway round the lap.

Dennis Foggia, Moto3 race, Aragon MotoGP 2019. Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

It was Foggia who entered the back straight first, handing the slipstream to those behind. Although it seemed a strange decision for Foggia to decide to lead when he had the option to trail Ogura onto the back straight, it made sense because Ogura’s speed through the middle part of the lap was strong, so hanging on to get the tow would be difficult. Therefore, Foggia’s best hope of second place was to lead, but the slipstream was enough to bring Ogura alongside into turn sixteen, and the Japanese was able to out-brake the Italian and hold the line on the inside, allowing no option of response for Foggia.

Alonso Lopez, having missed out on a home GP podium in Jerez last year due to track limits violations and another in Barcelona this year when Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) passed him in the final corner, was desperate to make the rostrum. He was very late on the brakes into the final corner, but he nearly hit Foggia, and had to correct his line to avoid the #7, which took him out of the battle.

On the inside of all of this was John McPhee, who had lost his left knee slider earlier in the race which was especially compromising in Aragon, since MotorLand is very much anti-clockwise. Missing the knee slider compromised McPhee’s feel in the left handers, so to even be in the podium fight was impressive. Lopez running wide to avoid Foggia granted McPhee fourth place, but he was unable to do anything about either Foggia or Ogura, and so had to settle for the wooden spoon.

Aron Canet crossed the line 4.581 seconds ahead of this battle, which critically did not include either Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) or Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers), the two riders with whom Canet is fighting for the championship. This meant that the victory brought Canet to within two points of the championship lead, a polarisation of the previous week when he was forced to retire in Misano with mechanical problems. There is no better way Canet could wish to enter the Asian tour of the World Championship.

For Ogura and Foggia, the podium represented two different things. For Ogura, the first top three on a Sunday in the World Championship, his first piece of silverware from a Grand Prix, and the result of a fantastic rookie season in which he has fought in the front group many times. On the contrary, for Foggia, the podium represents a return to form, the realisation of his potential in a season which has been quite difficult and where he has played second-best to his rookie teammate, Vietti, on many occasions.

John McPhee’s ride to fourth was quite special considering the limitations he faced in the numerous and dominating left handers in MotorLand, and with Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) crashing out and Niccolo Antonelli (SIC 58 Squadra Corse) sitting this round out due to injury, it was enough for the #17 to climb to fourth in the championship.

Fifth place went to Lopez, who missed the podium this time by less than two tenths. It is becoming quite difficult to continue to watch him come so close to home GP podiums, only to miss out by the smallest of margins. Fortunately for the #21, he is Spanish, so still has one more chance at a home rostrum this year when he arrives in Valencia for the final round.

Sixth place went to last week’s winner, Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC 58 Squadra Corse), ahead of a resurgent Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0), the rookie having a superb ride from twenty-ninth to seventh. In eighth was Albert Arenas (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team), ahead of Gabriel Rodrigo (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) and Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers), the Italian making the same tyre gamble as Ogura – choosing the hard rear compound – but unable to make the same use of it as the Japanese rookie, instead completing the top ten.

Lorenzo Dalla Porta crossed the line tenth, but a track limits violation on the final lap – for the second time in seven days – cost him one position, meaning the Italian is classified eleventh at the end of a difficult race and tough weekend for the championship leader, who at least retains some advantage ahead of Thailand in two weeks.

Carlos Taty, Moto3, Aragon MotoGP 2019. Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

Wildcard and front row starter Carlos Tatay (Fundacion Andreas Perez 77) could not convert his starting position, and finished twelfth – nonetheless a milestone weekend for the Spaniard, one week on from clinching the Red Bull Rookies crown. Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) finished thirteenth ahead of Celestino Vietti, who has suffered this weekend with pain after his involvement in the crash in Misano took Niccolo Antonelli out of action this weekend, and Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP) who took the final point after starting from the head of the front row.

Andrea Migno (WWR) finished sixteenth, ahead of Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power), Filip Salac (Redox PruestelGP), wildcard Gerard Riu Male (Baiko Racing Team) and Romano Fenati’s replacement at VNE Snipers, Julian Jose Garcia, who completed the top twenty on his Grand Prix debut.

Raul Fernandez (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) was twenty-first in a disappointing race for the reigning Moto3 Junior World Champion. Behind him were Niccolo Antonelli’s replacement at SIC 58 Squadra Corse, Davide Pizzoli; Stefano Nepa (Reale Avintia Arizona 77); Can Oncu’s replacement at Red Bull KTM Ajo, Deniz Oncu; Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race), Riccardo Rossi (Kommerling Gresini Moto3), the injured Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power) and Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) who was the final classified rider in twenty-eighth.

There were only two retirements in the Moto3 race in Aragon: Jaume Masia (WWR) and Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing).

Featured image courtesy of Gold and goose/KTM

Moto3: Canet Demolishes the Field for Aragon Pole

Despite rain overnight and damp morning sessions on Saturday in MotorLand Aragon, the qualifying sessions for the fourteenth round of the 2019 Moto3 World Championship took place in dry conditions.

In Q1 it was Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) who topped the session with his final lap courtesy of a tow gained by some good track position. Joining Foggia in advancing to Q2 were championship combatant Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), wildcard and new Red Bull Rookies Champion Carlos Tatay (Andreas Perez Fundacion 77) and Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) who improved dramatically for qualifying having ended free practice twenty-seventh-fastest.

In Q2, it was a fantastic lap from Aron Canet on his first run to win him pole position. The Spaniard was able to find a good tow for the back straight, but more impressive was his first sector, and the move he put on Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) in turn nine – it was this which allowed him to take pole by a mammoth 0.701 seconds and put himself in prime position to close his twenty-two-point deficit to Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) in the championship.

Joining Canet on the front row will be Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) and Carlos Tatay, who both got some good track position for their final laps, bringing them both from outside the top ten to start second and third, respectively.

Row two is fronted by Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP) in his best Saturday performance since his pole position in Brno last season. Joining the Czech rider on the second row are Celestino Vietti and Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0), the Spaniard using the tow of Dalla Porta to perfection to line up sixth tomorrow.

Tony Arbolino will start tomorrow’s race from seventh as he looks to continue his forward momentum in the championship. The Italian will be joined by the same people he was alongside on last weekend’s Misano podium, as Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC 58 Squadra Corse) qualified eighth, ahead of ninth-placed John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing), who missed the flag for his final lap.

Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) will round out tomorrow’s top ten on the grid, heading up row four, where he will be joined by Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) and championship leader Lorenzo Dalla Porta who was simply not fast enough to challenge for the top positions and has a lot of work to do tomorrow to limit the damage that can be inflicted by both polesitter Canet and Arbolino in the championship.

Albert Arenas (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) will start from the front of row five in thirteenth, and will be joined by Gabriel Rodrigo (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) and Jaume Masia (WWR); whilst Filip Salac (Redox PruestelGP) heads up row six from Andrea Migno (WWR) and Riccardo Rossi (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) who was last in his first Q2 appearance.

There was no change in condition for Q2, which theoretically handed an advantage to the riders who came through Q1, since it was the only dry session of the day to that point for the lightweight class riders.

The fifth rider in Q1 and therefore the fastest to miss out on Q2 was Stefano Nepa (Reale Avintia Arizona 77), who will start from nineteenth alongside Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) and Raul Fernandez (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) on row seven; whilst row eight sees Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) start from twenty-second ahead of Niccolo Antonelli’s replacement at SIC 58 Squadra Corse, Davide Pizzoli, and wildcard Gerard Riu Male (Baiko Racing Team).

The ninth row consists of Romano Fenati’s replacement at VNE Snipers, Julian Jose Garcia, ahead of Deniz Oncu, who is replacing his brother, Can, in the Red Bull KTM Ajo team, and Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power). Finally, row ten sees Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) ahead of Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and the injured Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power).

Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) pulled out of the Aragon GP weekend due to pain in his shoulder on Friday, a result of his crash in Misano last weekend.

Featured Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

Moto3: Suzuki Takes Emotional First GP Win in Chaotic San Marino Race

Emotions ran high on Sunday when Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC 58 Squadra Corse) won his first Moto3 Grand Prix at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.

The day before, Suzuki had taken his first ever World Championship pole position, which he converted to a holeshot on Sunday. Although Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) led the opening lap, only three of the following twenty-two laps were not led by Suzuki, those outliers being led by Jaume Masia (WWR).

Tatsuki Suzuki leading the pack at Round Thirteen – Misano, San Marino. Image courtesy of Hondanews.eu

It was a hectic race, with many crashes and splits in the pack. Groups were severed and reconnected, and there was much fighting in both the leading group and the chasing pack, leading to a fragmented race with, thanks to the incredibly low grip of the Misano track, a significantly reduced field.

There were only sixteen finishers – only Deniz Oncu, filling in for brother Can Oncu at Red Bull KTM Ajo, finished but didn’t score points after he was forced off track early on in the race at turn ten. Four riders went down on the first lap: Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) had contact with Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) in turn one. Toba crashed and took Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) with him. Later in the opening tour, Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) crashed on the entry to turn eight after contact with another rider, and on the exit of the same corner Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) high-sided and was fortunate to not be hit by other riders.

Two laps later Garcia’s Estrella Galicia 0,0 teammate, Alonso Lopez, crashed out, then Niccolo Antonelli (SIC 58 Squadra Corse) high-sided on the exit of turn five leaving Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) nowhere to go, and five corners later Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power) crashed out, after making up several places on the first lap, and broke his collarbone in the process. Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) also crashed out on lap three, two laps before mechanical troubles forced Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) to retire, which was important for the championship. The attrition rate of the first half of the race was monumental, but the final rider to go down before the halfway point was Darryn Binder who crashed out with fifteen laps to go. Only wildcard Meikon Kawakami (Fundacion Andreas Perez 77), Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) and Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) went down in the second half.

The crash which took out Ogura was an important one, taking place on the final lap. Andrea Migno (WWR) was looking inside the Japanese in turn eight, but adjusted to avoid Tony Arbolino in front and crashed, taking Ogura with him. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was able to capitalise on this and move up to third, which he turned into second place at turn twelve, and almost to the lead in turn fourteen but for some excellent defensive riding by Suzuki into the Carro hairpin.

It was a fabulously emotional win for Suzuki and the SIC 58 Squadra Corse, who have backed Suzuki for a while, since the circuit bares the name of the inspiration of the team, Marco Simoncelli. Tatsuki Suzuki finally achieved his goal of taking Paolo to the podium and he did it in perhaps the most perfect place.

The positions gained by McPhee in the final lap brought him his third podium of the season and almost his second win of 2019, whilst for Tony Abolino, third place brought important points for the championship.

Jaume Masia, Moto3 race, San Marino MotoGP 2019 Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM

Jaume Masia put some hard moves in throughout the race and was rewarded with fourth place, although the Spaniard is still without a podium since the Italian Grand Prix in May. Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) inherited fifth place as a result of the last lap carnage in turn eight, leading the chasing pack home ahead of Gabriel Rodrigo (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) who was sixth on his debut, and Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) in seventh.

Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) exceeded track limits one to many times and dropped from fourth to eighth as a result of a three-second time penalty added after the race, which helped Aron Canet significantly as his mechanical retirement prevented him from scoring. Despite Canet’s misfortune in Silverstone and Misano, the gap at the top of the championship is still less than one race win in the favour of Dalla Porta, who is twenty-two points ahead of the #44, whilst Arbolino’s consistency is bringing him into play, just thirty-points adrift now.

Rounding out the top ten in Misano were Filip Salac (Redox PruestelGP) in ninth and Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) in tenth.

Stefano Nepa (Reale Avintia Arizona 77) was eleventh ahead of Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP) and Migno who remounted for thirteenth after his last-lap fall. Riccardo Rossi (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) was fourteenth for his first World Championship points in his home race; whilst Elia Bartolini (SKY Junior Team VR46) took the final point on his Grand Prix debut.

Featured Image courtesy of Hondanews.eu