Moto3: Moreira with Bonkers Win in Indonesia!

Image Credit: MTHelmets - MSi

The Moto3 Indonesian Grand Prix was one to remember and a race that you could write a book about. It was Moto3 madness at its very best, as Diogo Moreira (MTHelmets-MSi) won an incredible race in Mandalika. He is the first Brazilian rider to win in any class since Alex Barros at the 2005 Portuguese Grand Prix.

In the hottest conditions of the year so far, the 3 title contenders of Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing), Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna Intact GP) arrived at the circuit separated by just 9 points.

At the end of the race, and the all of the chaos, the top 8 riders were separated by less than a second. Thanks to his victory, Masia now leads the championship by 16 points as we head to Phillip Island in Australia next weekend. 

Image Credit: MTHelmets-MSi

AS IT HAPPENED

We had drama here in Indonesia before the lights went out, with the Husqvarna team scrambling to fix Sasaki’s bike on the grid. Sasaki had a fall during the sighting lap which seemed to hinder him throughout the Grand Prix. It was the last thing he needed, being 1 of the 3 main contenders fighting for this year’s Moto3 championship.

Sasaki also had an issue off the start and dropped way back. At the same time, Moreira shot off from pole position and led the race after turn 1. Moreira led with Collin Veijer (Husqvarna Intact GP) up in 2nd with David Alonso (GASGAS Aspar Team) in 3rd. Veijer was enjoying a great start to the race.

Holgado seemed more determined than ever to get to the front and went up the inside of both Alonso and Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) at turn 16. It was a superb start for Holgado, going from 7th to 3rd on the opening lap of the race. Holgado was desperate to take back control of the championship.

On lap 2, Veijer ran wide to let Holgado go through into 2nd. Holgado wasn’t stopping there, getting by Moreira and taking the lead of the race. Sasaki dropped all the way back to 22nd from the opening lap.

Masia posted the fastest lap of the race as they started lap 3 and quickly moved up into 4th, getting by Alonso at turn 1. Masia was picking his way back through the field after a poor start from the front row.

Into turn 10, Veijer took the inside line getting by Holgado to retake the lead of the race. Masia then went by Moreira up into 3rd. As per usual in Moto3, we had a tonne of overtakes and after a few laps this was shaping up to be another fantastic battle for the win in Mandalika.

As Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) took his long lap penalty at the start of lap 4, Holgado led with Veijer and Masia just behind dicing with each other for 2nd. Sector 3 and yellow flags waved as Ana Carrasco (BOE Motorsports) had a nasty crash at turn 10, her first crash of the 2023 season. Hopefully Carrasco will be ok after that one.

With the first quarter of the race completed, Holgado was leading from Masia 2nd and Alonso in 3rd. Holgado had a few tenths of a second gap to Masia in 2nd, but still with a long way to go in the race.

Lap 7 and into turn 10 the riders fan out 6 abreast going into the corner as Masia was the last on the brakes and took the lead of the race. Masia only led for a few corners as Holgado, yet again with another overtake at turn 16, retook the lead from Masia. Alonso and Veijer continued to swap places with Alonso now back up into 3rd.

Coming up to half race distance, into the favourite turn 16, Veijer went up the inside of both Alonso and Masia. The second double overtake of the race. David Munoz (BOE Motorsports) went by Alonso up into 5th with Moreira setting the fastest lap of the race. It was still all to play for at this point and it was anyone’s guess as to who would come out on top at the end. Holgado led from Veijer in 2nd and Masia in 3rd at this stage.

Yellow flags waved as Adrian Fernandez (Leopard Racing) crashed out of the race in sector 2. Moreira dove and Munoz barged their way by Masia in the fast sector 2. Masia was going backwards from 3rd to 5th with 10 laps to go. As it stood, Holgado would retake the lead of the championship.

8 laps left and we had a six-way shootout for victory at the Mandalika circuit. Holgado led but not for long as Moreira went by and back to the front of the race. Moreira lead from Holgado 2nd, Veijer 3rd, Alonso 4th, Masia 5th and Munoz in 6th. Any of the top 6 still had a chance of winning this race in an ever changing order at the front.

Into the final phase of the race, with 7 laps to go, Holgado dove up the inside of Moreira into turn 1 with Moreira back passed Holgado into turn 2. Into the fast sector 2 and Holgado cut the corner and into the lead of the race. Holgado was his own worst enemy and was handed a long lap penalty as a result. There was no room for Holgado to get by Moreira but, with a bit of patience, Holgado could have avoided that. With Sasaki way down in 19th place and Holgado with a long lap penalty to serve, this was all playing into the hands of Masia in the championship.

Masia was gifted the lead as Holgado slotted back into 10th place after serving the long lap penalty. Masia lead from Alonso in 2nd and Veijer in 3rd. Up to the end of lap 16, Munoz went up the inside of Veijer into 3rd place with just 4 laps left to go.

Munoz and Alonso diced and swapped positions throughout the lap in the battle for 2nd place. Holgado set the fastest lap of the race after his long lap penalty and fought his way back up to 8th. Holgado recovered rapidly and was not far off catching the leaders.

2 laps to go and down into turn 1 Masia led from Munoz 2nd, Moreira 3rd and Veijer in 4th. Masia made a mistake into turn 3 and opened the door for Munoz to go by and into the lead at turn 4. Another long lap penalty was issued for Holgado just as he went for the lead of the race and ran too deep, almost colliding with Masia. Moreira now led with Alonso 2nd, Munoz 3rd and Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) up to 4th. Holgado, in 5th, has a long lap penalty to serve and Masia was down in 6th.

THE LAST LAP

Pole sitter Moreira led into turn 1 with Munoz 2nd and Alonso in 3rd. Holgado refused to take the long lap penalty and instead took the time penalty that would be issued at the end of the Grand Prix. Holgado quickly dispatched Alonso and Munoz and then up the inside of Moreira into the lead with half a lap to go. Holgado was just too good through the fast, sweeping sector 2. Holgado, at this point, could have been totally unaware of his 2nd long lap penalty.

Both Moreira and Alonso swooped by Holgado at turn 12 and into turn 13 the carnage continued. 3 abreast they went and Masia squeezed Holgado wide. Moreira led into the final sector of the race with Alonso in 2nd and Munoz in 3rd. Veijer went from 7th to 3rd in one corner, an incredible performance from the Dutch teenager Veijer.

Into the final corner we went, Moreira led and Munoz tried all he could to get by Alonso, who clung onto 2nd as they crossed the line. That race was Moto3 in its purest form. Madness in Mandalika from start to finish. It’s for races like this that we watch Moto3 and why we love it so much. What a race and what a win for Moreira!

After all of the chaos, Holgado was relegated from 9th to 14th, salvaging 2 points after failing to comply with the 2nd long lap penalty. After the troubles for Sasaki and the penalties for Holgado, Masia is now 16 points clear in the championship as we head to Philip Island in Australia next weekend.

Race Classification

Image Credit: MotoGP

Championship Standings

Image Credit: MotoGP

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

Moto3: Merciless Masia in Motegi

Image Credit: MotoGP

Leopard Racing’s Jaume Masia conquered Motegi today in Japan. Masia in full command at the front, as his title rivals all squabbled behind gifting Masia the win.

All change in the Moto3 championship as Masia now sits at the top. Championship rival’s Ayumu Sasaki finished 2nd after snatching it on the line from Daniel Holgado finishing in 3rd. Deniz Öncü pushed it too far and into the gravel after battling at the front for so long. 

Image Credit: Leopard Racing

AS IT HAPPENED

Stefano Nepa and Öncü had a great start off the line, Nepa from row 2 and up to 3rd after turn 1. Holgado up to 2nd with Öncü leading the way at the front of the race. Öncü was keen to pull away at the front and into turn 5 was followed by Holgado and Nepa with a slight gap to the rest of the pack lead by Masia.

Alonso pushed Ortola but unable to get by as they come down the hill into sector 4 to complete the first lap. Diogo Moreira was up 5 places at the end of lap 1 but front row starter Matteo Bertelle was down 7 places. Bertelle later retiring out of the race after 7 laps. Not the race the Rivacold Snipers Team rider would of dreamt of last night.

Onto lap 2 and Masia quickly caught and went by Nepa. Home favourite Sasaki followed Masia going by Nepa into turn 7. Öncü and Holgado lead at the front with a 0.374 gap to Masia in 3rd. Masia swapped fastest lap times with Öncü, as Masia was keen to catch the leaders with Sasaki for company.

In the early stages of the race a lead group quartet developed. Masia and Sasaki caught up to Holgado and race leader Öncü. Into the 90 degree corner Sasaki missed a half hearted attempt to get by Holgado as they completed the first third of the race.

The lead group of 4 pulled away from the rest with a gap of 1.046 seconds to Nepa leading the rest of the field in 5th. Sasaki into sector 3 got by Holgado as they went through the tunnel and onto the last two corners to complete the lap. Öncü lead the group of 4 with Sasaki 2nd, Holgado 3rd and Masia in 4th.

Lap 6 and Masia went by Holgado and Sasaki midway through the lap. Out of turn 10 and onto the straight, Masia broke as late as he could to keep 2nd and hunt down Öncü to start lap 7.

Masia into turn 1 took the lead of the race for the first time. Sasaki into turn 3 went up the inside of Öncü. Öncü went backwards as Masia looked to escape at the front. Holgado almost come together with Öncü at turn 7. Into turn 11 and with the slipstream Sasaki was unable to get by Masia through turns 11, 12 and 13.

10 laps to go and the lead quarter lead by Masia are still over 1 second ahead of the group behind lead by Nepa. Holgado swarmed all over the back of Öncü but was unable to get by. Sasaki sat on the back wheel of Masia as they crossed the line as we approached the second half of the race.

Nepa and Ortola closed the gap slightly to the lead group at the front, as Masia seemed to be managing the pace. Öncü into turn 7 on the fastest place on the track blasted by Sasaki. Sasaki and Öncü swapped places as Sasaki went by Öncü only a few corners later. A fantastic battle for the win with the front 4 riders forever dicing for the lead.

 

8 laps to go and Masia lead with Sasaki 2nd, Öncü 3rd and Holgado 4th. A gap of 1.129 seconds to teammates Nepa and Ortola behind. Sector 1 lit up with yellow flags as the first retirement of the race Xavi Artigas went down at turn 1.

Sasaki, Öncü and Holgado diced and swapped places. Öncü down and out of the race into turn 10. Öncü pushed too hard and out in sector 3. Disaster for any championship hopes for Öncü and looked to of handed Masia a lead and win of this race with all of the fighting on lap 11.

Masia pulled a 1.117seconds gap to the fighting Holgado and Sasaki behind and now in full control of the race at this point.

Holgado and Sasaki almost come together in turn 1 with 6 laps to go. As the battle for 6th continued lead by Moreira, Masia was 1.209 seconds clear at the front of Sasaki 2nd and Holgado 3rd.

Tatsuki Suzuki down at turn 1 with 4 laps to go. Sasaki tried to catch Masia and pulled back over 3 tenths of a second to the leader up ahead. Sasaki and Holgado squashed any fighting now and both gunning to catch Masia at the front.

Masia lead with 3 laps to go. Sasaki and Holgado still 0.875 seconds behind. Still the ever changing places of 4th and 5th between teammates Ortola 4th Nepa 5th. The Angellus MTA  teammates although on their own for the race, have had a great battle with each other in Motegi.

2 laps to go and Masia responds to the charge from Sasaki and Holgado behind. Masia in full command here and headed to the top of the world championship standings. Nepa now lead Ortola as the two Angellus MTA teammates have over 3 seconds gap to the rest of the field, lead by Moreira down in 6th.

THE LAST LAP 

Alonso barged his way by Toba into 8th. Moreira still lead the group with Munoz all over the back of him at the start of the last lap.

In an attempt to salvage as many points as possible, Holgado went up the inside of Sasaki into sector 3 at turn 11.

Masia crossed the line to take a back-to-back victory. As Masia won the drama wasn’t finished there as Sasaki snatched 2nd from Holgado on the finish line. A mistake from victory corner from Holgado allowed Sasaki to take 2nd on the line away from Holgado. Through the final corner Holgado nearly lost it and Sasaki pounced to take 2nd place.

The 9th career win for Leopard Racing’s Masia and arguably his most important. Masia now leading the championship in Moto3 and heads to Mandalika in a couple of weeks time the main man to beat. What a win for Masia!

Race Classification

Image Credit: MotoGP

Championship Standings

Image Credit: MotoGP

 

Moto3: Motegi Pole for Masia

Image Credit: MotoGP

Jaume Masia continued his blistering form and took his 3rd pole position in a row here today in Motegi, Japan. Masia made it look easy, with championship rival Deniz Öncü qualifying in 2nd and a back-to-back front row start for Matteo Bertelle completing the front row in 3rd.

A 5th pole position of the season for Leopard Racing team’s Masia and it’s hard to imagine anyone in Moto3 being able to stop Masia charging to championship glory. Championship rival’s Daniel Holgado starts the race on row 2 from 6th position and Ayumu Sasaki starts 7th on row 3 tomorrow.

Image Credit: Leopard Racing 

AS IT HAPPENED

Qualifying 1

Jose Antonio Rueda had a rare appearance in Q1. Taiyo Furusato and Riccardo Rossi also unlikely names in Q1 ready to battle it out for a spot in Q2.

Furusato was the first of the riders to come through and set a time, quickly followed by a group of 5 unable to go faster, with 10mins left of the session. Furusato was quicker through the first 2 sectors on the next run, only for the lap to be cancelled after running wide in sector 3.

Red Bull KTMs Filippo Farioli come through and up to 2nd in the standings. Still +0.633 seconds behind the quickest time set so far in the session. A 1:57.564 from Furusato. Farioli come off at the end of turn 2, but quickly back up and thankfully Farioli ok to continue.

5mins left in the session and CFMOTO teammates Joel Kelso and Xavi Artigas come through with Kelso setting the quickest time and Artigas up into 3rd. The top 4 currently heading through to Q2 at this point was Kelso, Furusato, Artigas and Farioli.

3mins remained in the session and Rossi was red through sectors 1 and 2 on his first flying lap in the session. Rossi topped the standings with a 1:57.161 a time +0.261seconds clear of Kelso in 2nd.

The riders had very little time to get through to Q2, only one more shot at getting through to Q2. Kelso, Artigas, Rueda and Rossi all on flying laps as the chequered flag came down on the session. The top 4 heading through to Q2 were Rossi, Kelso, Furusato and Rueda.

Qualifying 2

Some breaking news at the start of the Q2 session, with 3 place grid penalties handed out to Diogo Moreira and Collin Veijer. Both for moving their hands off the grips on the straights. No rain and a dry session in a really important qualifying in Moto3. Just 1 point separating the top 3 in the championship.

As the battle for pole position started it was bike #6 Ryusei Yamanaka coming through to set the first time of the session. GASGAS Aspar Team rider Yamanaka keen to impress this weekend and still needed a ride for next season. Bertelle quickly followed over the line and up to the top of the timings, with Ortola 2nd and Rueda currently in 3rd.

Less than 10mins of the session remained and the first group of riders were all setting flying laps. David Munoz setting a benchmark time now of 1:56.892, the first to get into the 1min56’s. Munoz tucking in behind the Husqvarna teammates Veijer and Sasaki picking up some slipstream along the finish straight.

Masia now seen coming out of the pits with Deniz Öncü, Kaito Toba, Rossi and Kelso all yet to set a time in the session.

With 5mins left of the session both Masia and Öncü were lighting up the sectors red just as Rossi had a big crash into turn 9. Yellow flags in sector 3, but both Masia and Öncü clear of the incident at the time and their laps stood. Masia up to the top with a 1:56.744 and Öncü 2nd with a gap of just +0.120seconds to Masia on provisional pole.

Masia and Öncü marched on with Öncü behind Masia on track, both continued to set the sectors red on their second runs. Both Masia and Öncü improved with Masia up to a 1:56.331 with a gap of +0.208 to Öncü in 2nd. Only Öncü able to be within a half a second to Masia at the top.

Sasaki with only a minute left in the session got a slipstream from teammate Veijer. Sasaki through the victory corner turn 14 onto the straight only to go 5th. Sasaki was up in the first two sectors on Masia on that lap, but unable to piece it all together for pole position.

With the chequered flag waving the riders all completed the session, none of the riders able to knock Masia off the top. A third pole position in a row for Masia. The Leopard Racing team rider sent a clear message to his championship rivals today in Motegi. A 5th pole position of the season for Masia and seemingly unstoppable at the moment in Moto3.

Official Starting Grid

Image Credit: MotoGP

 

Moto3: Masia wins Chaotic Clash in COTA

Jaume Masia has come out on top, winning in COTA, ahead of a seven-way battle that rumbled on for much of the race. He was joined on the podium by Dennis Foggia and Andrea Migno.

It was the experienced Moto3 riders who came out on top at the Grand Prix of the Americas today. The chaotic race saw seven riders battling for only three podium positions for most of the race. Eventually, it was Jaume Masia who came out on top, taking the lead on the final lap.

Masia hasn’t won a race since the first round of the 2021 season, making it an emotional return to the top step of the podium for the Spanish rider. Having spent last year in the shadow of his teammate and eventual 2021 Moto3 champion, Pedro Acosta, this win will provide him with some much-needed confidence.

On the podium were fellow Italian riders Dennis Foggia, in second, and pole-sitter Andrea Migno, in third.

As the race commenced, it was Deniz Oncu who took an early lead, passing Migno at the first corner. He took rookie Diogo Moreira with him as he leapt from his starting position of sixth up to second. Oncu and Moreira were then battling for the lead and came to be side-by-side on the long straight. As they crossed the line to start the second lap, Moreira swerves across in to Oncu’s path. Oncu was forced to back off and Moreira stole the lead.

Further back, Kaito Toba enjoyed a good start as he leapt up from eighth to fifth. However, Scott Ogden had a more difficult start as he was shuffled back to 17th, despite claiming his best qualifying result and starting the race in 12th.

Foggia and Masia also struggled and, by lap 4, they were quickly shuffled back to 10th and 11th despite starting second and fifth respectively.

On the same lap, Oncu took the lead back from Moreira. Shortly after, Xavier Artigas got the best of both of them and flew his way up in to the lead. Two laps later and Moreira was back in the lead of the race, only to be overtaken by Oncu shortly after.

At this point, a number of other riders joined the leading pack, stating their intentions for the win. Championship leader Sergio Garcia closed up to the leading three but then clashed with Daniel Holgado, who crashed in to him on the final corner. Both riders were able to rejoin the race but Garcia eventually retired on lap 13 and Holgado crashed again on the final lap of the race. Holgado will be disappointed with his race result today, as he makes his return from injury.

Lap 8 saw Ayumu Sasaki and Masia join the leading group, taking second and third respectively behind Oncu.

For much of the rest of the race, seven riders were battling at the front of the pack – these riders were Masia, Sasaki, Oncu, Moreira, Foggia, Artigas, and Migno.

As the grid started their final lap, Migno was leading ahead of Masia in second and Foggia in third. Moreira crashed at the first corner of the lap – he was trying to hard to make his way through the leading pack and showed his inexperience with a rookie error that ruined his hard work.

Due to a number of incidents around the circuit, yellow flags were hampering the progress of most riders and left it difficult to find a way past Migno. However, down the long straight, Masia made his move and took the lead. He went out wide and found himself on the rumble strips, giving some hope to Migno. However, as Migno tried to make his way around the outside of Masia at turn 19, giving it everything he had in an attempt to win, he ran wide and let Foggia through the inside to take second. Masia remained unbeatable out in front and crossed the line in first.

Just missing out on a podium finish was Sasaki in fourth, Oncu in fifth and Artigas in sixth.

Izan Guevara was deemed to have jumped the start and was given a double long lap penalty. As this wasn’t served quickly enough, the penalty then went up to three long laps. This should have ruined his race but he was able to climb back up the field and ended the day in seventh.

The top ten was rounded out by Carlos Tatay, Ricciardo Rossi and Tatsuki Suzuki in eighth, ninth and tenth respectively.

Championship Standings

Thanks to Foggia’s second-place finish today, he has now jumped to the top of the championship standings. He leads Garcia, in second, by 16 points. Migno is in third ahead of Guevara in fourth. Oncu is sitting in fifth ahead of today’s winner, Masia, in sixth.

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

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