Moto3: Alonso Lethal in Lusail!

Feature Image Credit: @PolarityPhoto on X

With a glorious sunset in Doha, the opening race of the season was upon us in Moto3. With both Jaume Masia and Deniz Oncu now in Moto2, only David Alonso (CFMOTO Aspar Team) remained from last year’s podium in today’s race. Alonso started from the middle of the 3rd row in 8th.

Pole sitter Daniel Holgado (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) who finished 9th here last season, was desperate to finish off a perfect weekend converting the pole position to victory this afternoon.


David Munoz (BOE Motorsports) not allowed to start and told to get off the grid after stalling off the line. Disaster for Munoz and had to be moved to the pits before we got going.

A great start from Holgado off the line when we finally got under way. Ivan Ortola (MT Helmets MSI) and Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) hot on the heels of Holgado as they went through the first sector. Rueda up the inside of Ortola into turn 10. Rueda looked to go further ahead and pass Holgado into turn 12 but Holgado managed to shut the door on the Spaniard.

Adrian Fernandez (Leopard Racing) dived up the inside of Ortola as the riders completed the first lap. Into lap 2 and Fernandez was ready to fight today, dicing with Ortola in the first few corners.

Alonso up 4 places into 4th in the middle of lap 2 of 16 here in Doha. Alonso the pre season favourite by many will be keen to get to the front as quickly as possible. Rueda and Holgado already into an epic battle here switching places as Rueda headed into the final corner in the lead of the race to complete lap 2.

Sector 1 lit up in yellow as Rueda and Ortola collided at turn 1. 2 of the race favourites both crashing out of the race early on. Rueda looked to of lost the rear and went into Ortola. Clearly a racing incident and both riders ok. No further action was taken by the stewards.

Lap 4 of 16 and Alonso right up behind race leader Holgado into turn 1. Tatsuki Suzuki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) set the fastest lap of the race at this point and going well running in 11th having started the race in 19th.

We had a lead group of 11 riders at this early stage in the race and it was anyone’s guess as to who could take command of the Grand Prix. Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia) had a disaster in qualifying but not today, going from 18th to 7th in the race at this point.

Through the first 3rd of the race, Holgado lead from Alonso 2nd and Fernandez in 3rd. We still had a lead group of 11 riders all not letting Holgado pull away in this one. Holgado set the pace but with itchy riders behind it was shaping up to be another Moto3 classic. With the length of the start straight being a kilometre long it’s always difficult for a leader to pull away.

Both Matteo Bertelle (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Filippo Farioli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) went down at turn 13 with Farioli having a big high side in the incident. Farioli clearly hurt after that impact.

Furusato now up to 6th place with 11 laps to go and continued to climb to the front. Yellow flags in sector 3 and 4 would keep Furusato at bay at least for the next few corners.

Towards half race distance now and Furusato looked on another level and took the lead for the first time of the race from 18th on the grid. Holgado took back the lead from Furusato at turn 10 and Furusato lead the Grand Prix for just 4 corners. Into the final corner of lap 8, Riccardo Rossi (CIP Green Power) dove up the inside of Fernandez into the podium position only for Fernandez to get him back into turn 1.

7 laps to go and the battle was no where near finished as every rider behind the leader were fighting in an overtaking melee. We were all set for another Moto3 classic.

Furusato lost the rear and 2 places and dropped back to 4th. Swapped places with Fernandez and outside of the podium places as we headed into turn 1 with 5 laps to go.

3 laps to go and Holgado still lead from Alonso 2nd, Fernandez 3rd and Furusato in 4th. It was still anyone’s guess as to who was going to win this race. Furusato up the inside of both Alonso and Fernandez up into 2nd at turn 1.

With the slipstream not having much of an impact on the leader on the start straight, the race was all hanging on who would lead out of turn 16 on the last lap. At this stage we still had a lead group of 10 riders.

2 laps to go, Furusato and Alonso went by Holgado into turn 1, only for Holgado to squeeze through the pair of them into turn 2. As Ryusei Yamanaka (MT Helmets MSI) crashed out in sector 2, Holgado hung onto the lead from Furusato 2nd and Alonso in 3rd.

Alonso towards the end of lap 15 went from 3rd to 6th with Rossi, Fernandez and Vicente Perez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) getting by the Columbian in the last sector of the lap.


Into turn 1 and Holgado clung onto the lead with Furusato 2nd and Rossi in 3rd. Alonso started his charge back to the front moving up to 4th as disaster struck for Perez and Fernandez crashing out on the last lap of the race.

Turn 10 and Alonso picked his spot perfectly to get by Rossi. With the momentum into turn 11,  Alonso was in full attack mode blasting his way up the inside of Furusato. Alonso into 2nd now gunning for Holgado and the race victory.

Towards the final corner into turn 16, Alonso made his move and went by Holgado to take the first win of the 2024 season. Incredible from David Alonso and the Aspar team garage went bonkers and rightly so. To start the lap in 6th place and to go onto win it in the last corner was outstanding.

What a start to the 2024 Moto3 championship! What a win for David Alonso!

Image Credit: @AsparTeam on X

Image Credit: @AsparTeam on X

Race Classification

Image Credit: MotoGP
Image Credit: MotoGP

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

Un et Deux – the French reign at Doha

Round two under the Qatar lights found some riders floundering and some soaring. If it was thought to be a repeat of last weekend then audiences were in for a shock.

The qualifying had the biggest surprise which came from the rookie, Jorge Martin who took pole! With a 1.53.106 second lap, snatching it from Vinales, who was confident he had done enough at the flag. Next position went to Martin’s team-mate and Vinales ended up 3rd to round off the front row. The Suzuki’s still seemed to have issues with qualifying and ended up in 8th and 9th. Rossi made changes to his bike which turned out to hinder his chances at getting another 4th in qualifying this time and ended up 21st on the grid.

Martin takes pole on Saturday. Courtesy of: Moto GP website

All riders started Sunday on both rear and front soft tyres again, with the exception of Oliveira, Binder, Lecuona and Petrucci. Perhaps they had thought a different strategy may help them in the closing section of the race. Once again, the wind was blowing and causing sand to go across the track, meaning the tyres would degrade quicker.

The two front Ducati’s got a flying start, with Martin leading Zarco but it was Vinales that went backwards as Aleix Espargaro came through and took 3rd place from the Spaniard, a very surprising Oliveira, who was 12th on the grid, shot into 4th . The next 22 laps were sure to be exciting!

By lap three, Rins had already made the fastest lap, eager to make it to the front early on, now in 3rd place, he started putting pressure on Zarco.

Lap four was Bagnaia’s turn to take fastest lap. But it was the Suzuki’s that were looking menacing as Mir came through to 5th place and Rins took 2nd from Zarco. However, the Ducati took back the position on the straight.

Meanwhile the factory Yamahas were sticking to their plan, which was to conserve tyres and were in 9th and 10th place.

With 17 laps to go Martin was still leading, in only his second Moto GP race, from Rins and Zarco.

Martin leads Rins. Courtesy of: Moto GP website

Performing well in the flowing corners, the Suzuki was putting pressure on the rookie, but the straight, once again was the time for Zarco to pounce, re-gaining 2nd.

Trying to hunt down Martin, Rins took back 2nd place from the Frenchman on turn 10 – lap 8. He knew he had to breakaway from Zarco before the straight. With 13 laps to go Oliveira started to go backwards, unfortunately, the tyre choice didn’t seem to be any better.

The two Petronas riders were struggling as well – not even in the top ten.

The top nine riders however, were starting to breakaway from the rest of the pack and were creating their own race. Martin still lead, now half-way through the 22 laps, whilst Vinales was bringing up the rear. The first six bikes were all four Ducati’s and the two Suzuki’s. Espargaro on the Aprilia, was the only bike not with it’s teammate, out in front of the two factory Yamaha’s.

Mir and Miller were battling for 5th place on lap 13, Mir touched Miller going underneath him to take the position. But, coming onto the straight Miller (43) went wide and and seemed to go straight into Mir, forcing him to go all the way back to 9th. There was an investigation from the stewards but both times were seen as racing incidents.

Things went from bad to worse for Alex Marquez who had a second DNF in a row as he crashed on lap 14.

However, things were looking good for Quartararo (20), who was moving through the front pack and was now 4th, behind the Ducati’s, with 8 laps till the end. Battling for the position alongside Rins, he knew he had to create a chance in order to get on the podium. His teammate was now in 7th with Mir still in 9th place. It seemed the Yamaha’s tactic was paying off.

With six laps till the end, 20 took 3rd place from 43, it was taken straight back on the start-finish line but a mistake going into the first corner from Miller meant Quartararo re-took 3rd once more. The battle for the podium was heating up.

The two Frenchmen then fought for 2nd on lap 18. Zarco tried to defend but Quartararo’s Yamaha had conserved tyres better and was stronger on the corners, meaning he was able to take 1st place as well on turn 14, leading into turn 15, from Martin. The rookie had shocked everyone by leading for most of the race. Martin wasn’t going to give his position away easily and on the straight the Ducati roared past the Yamaha. But, Quartararo re-gained first place soon after.

With four laps to go it was anyone’s call who would win. Quartararo now lead Martin, Zarco and Vinales.

Courtesy of: Moto GP website

Top Gun’ briefly took 3rd place from Zarco, which took Zarco out of the top three for the first time the whole race.

‘El Diablo’ started to pull away from the two satellite Ducati’s and with Vinales putting pressure on Zarco, Zarco decided he needed to try and make a pass on his teammate. Martin went defensive with two laps to go, not wanting to give away his position. Vinales couldn’t keep up with number 5 and Rins took 4th place from him into turn one on the last lap. The penultimate corner of the last lap was Zarco’s last shot at 2nd, after admitting in the post-race interview he was acting as a “… bodyguard for Martin…” he decided to over-take his team-mate to finish 2nd.

It was Quartararo that took the chequered flag, taking his fourth Moto GP victory alongside fellow Frenchman Zarco. The first time in 67 years that two Frenchmen have stood first and second on the podium in the premier class. Martin finished an impressive third to round off the podium. Fourth was Rins, fifth Vinales, sixth and seventh place were the factory Dukes and Mir managed to make up two places since the collision with Miller to finish seventh.

Zarco stood on the podium for the 50th time and now leads the championship with 40 points. Proving to be consistent with two second places in a row.

This thrilling battle was the closest Moto GP race in 73 years. Teams learnt from last weekend and everyone seemed far stronger.

There is now a two week gap until the next event, but the big news is Marc Marquez is said to be making a return in Portugal, which leads into the many European races. Will we see a fit, strong and hungry Marquez? Will the other riders be too far ahead of him? Or will we witness a masterclass performance?

Whatever the outcome, it is sure to be a thrilling ride.


Featured image courtesy of: Moto GP website.

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