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

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