Moto2 Qatar GP: Lopez Stuns in the Desert

After getting pole position yesterday at the Lusail International Circuit, Aron Canet cannot convert the best starting position into the win after taking too much out of the new Pirelli tyres early in the race. Alonso Lopez capitalised on his countryman’s poor start and was able to defend from a charging Barry Baltus towards the end of the race. The pair were joined on the podium by Sergio Garcia who carved his way through the field after starting in 18th place.

Lopez got a great start from the middle of the front row and moved to the front of the field as Canet fell down the pack like a stone, ending up in eighth place. There was a small amount of contact between Tony Arbolino and Manuel Gonzalez but not enough to cause either rider to crash or retire.

Ai Ogura also made a good start, gaining six positions on the first lap. But the big loser was Marcos Ramirez who lost eight places on the first tour of the circuit.

Canet was fighting with the field to make his way back to the front and by lap three he was back at the front of the field. The Spaniard had put himself in a good rhythm and was putting in fastest lap after fastest lap.

Albert Arenas and Arbolino made contact during the third lap and the Gresini rider was able to make it past the Italian rider. However, on the following lap Arenas ran slightly wide at turn one but Arbolino was preoccupied with Ogura coming past. Baltus also got past Arbolino.

Gonzalez took the lead of the race into turn one on lap five but Lopez made it back past.

Izan Guevera seemed to have an issue as he lost three places in one lap and ended up retiring the bike on lap thirteen.

Canet started putting in a lot of fast laps but Lopez made the decision to overtake Canet and reduce the pace at the front to look after the Pirelli rubber that was making its debut in the Moto2 series in Qatar.

On lap seven, Ayumu Sasaki crashed at turn one causing a yellow flag in the first sector.

Arenas ran slightly wide at turn one and this led to him being overtaken by Baltus.

On lap eight, it looked as though Canet may have taken too much out of his tyres when he was fighting through the field to make up the positions he lost because his lap times continued getting slower. Lopez and Gonzalez started to gap the pole sitter and Baltus started looking at ways to get past the Fantic Racing rider.

Baltus made the move at turn fifteen and was looking incredibly confident on his RW-Idrofoglia Racing GP bike.

Next up to pass Canet was Ogura who made the move on lap nine. Canet continued dropping down the field as his tyres seemed to run out of life.

Garcia made his way past Arenas for sixth place on lap nine.

Baltus was able to make up 0.7s up to the two riders at the front of the field, Lopez and Gonzales, during lap nine and started battling with them. On lap eleven, Baltus went past Gonzalez at turn one with a massive lunge. The Belgian rider had a slight twitch after losing the rear of his bike but was able to keep the position.

And Baltus didn’t stop there, he immediately got in the slipstream of Lopez but was unable to get through on lap twelve. The battle continued at the front of the field and this led to the chasing pack getting on the back of Baltus, giving him more pressure from behind.

On the following lap, Garcia was able to get past Gonzalez for third place at turn ten and was looking to be the strongest rider on the track in the final laps of the race.

Former race leader Canet had a complete tyre drop off by lap fourteen which could be seen by the incredibly slow lap times he was posting. This information will be useful for the Fantic Racing team as it shows that with Canet’s riding style, he cannot put a lot of load on the tyres at the start of the race and expect them to perform well at the end of the race, like a set of Bridgestone or Michelin tyres. It is worth noting that these tyres are similar to the ones that are used in the World Superbike Series.

Baltus, however, with a more aggressive driving style and being a larger rider may benefit from the Pirelli tyres being introduced as he seemed to keep life in the tyres until the end of the race. Even if he kept life in the tyre, he was still unable to make a move on Lopez even after setting up for many moves on the last two laps.

Lopez crossed the line in first place, followed by Baltus and a hard charging Garcia in third. Ogura just missed out on the podium after finishing in fourth, just ahead of Gonzalez and Marcos Ramirez. Joe Roberts finished the first race of the season in seventh place, four seconds behind his teammate but ahead of Arenas, Celestino Vietti and pole sitter Canet rounded out the top ten.

On his Moto2 debut, Deniz Oncu collected points but Fermin Aldeguer had a race to forget. He finished in sixteenth place just four places ahead of Arbolino.

Jake Dixon was declared unfit following a highside suffered on Saturday.

Feature image credit to: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

2024 Qatar Moto2 Grand Prix, Lusail – Race Results
Pos Rider Nat Team Bike Time
1 Alonso Lopez SPA Sync SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 35m 45.595s
2 Barry Baltus BEL RW-Idrofoglia Racing GP (Kalex) 35m 45.650s
3 Sergio Garcia SPA MT Helmets – MSI (Boscoscuro) 35m 46.337s
4 Ai Ogura JPN MT Helmets – MSI (Boscoscuro) 35m 47.109s
5 Manuel Gonzalez SPA QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 35m 50.695s
6 Marcos Ramirez SPA OnlyFans American Racing Team (Kalex) 35m 50.915s
7 Joe Roberts USA OnlyFans American Racing Team (Kalex) 35m 54.653s
8 Albert Arenas SPA QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 35m 54.805s
9 Celestino Vietti ITA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) 35m 56.305s
10 Aron Canet SPA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 35m 56.474s
11 Somkiat Chantra THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 36m 0.661s
12 Jeremy Alcoba SPA Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team (Kalex) 36m 4.581s
13 Zonta Vd Goorbergh NED RW-Idrofoglia Racing GP (Kalex) 36m 4.633s
14 Bo Bendsneyder NED Pertamina Mandalika GAS UP (Kalex) 36m 7.933s
15 Deniz Öncü TUR Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) 36m 8.163s
16 Fermin Aldeguer SPA Sync SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 36m 10.815s
17 Senna Agius AUS Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (Kalex) 36m 12.655s
18 Darryn Binder RSA Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP (Kalex) 36m 14.110s
19 Dennis Foggia ITA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 36m 15.694s
20 Tony Arbolino ITA Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 36m 15.951s
21 Filip Salac CZE Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 36m 26.798s
22 Diogo Moreira BRA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 36m 28.713s
23 Xavi Cardelus AND Fantic Racing (Kalex) 36m 28.780s
24 Mario Aji INA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 36m 28.854s
25 Jaume Masia SPA Pertamina Mandalika GAS UP (Kalex) 36m 29.218s
26 Alex Escrig SPA KLINT Forward Factory Team (Forward) +1 lap
27 Xavier Artigas SPA KLINT Forward Factory Team (Forward) +1 lap
  Izan Guevara SPA CFMOTO Aspar Team (Kalex) DNF
  Ayumu Sasaki JPN Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team (Kalex) DNF


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

Moto3: Holgado Smashes Qatar Qualifying

Feature Image Credit: @PolarityPhoto on X

MotoGP is back! After the long winter break we are finally at the Lusail International Circuit for round 1 of the 2024 season.

New faces and stars are all ready to take on the 21 rounds of 2024, and it was a familiar face of Daniel Holgado (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) who delivered the first Moto3 pole position of the season.

An incredible lap time set by Holgado with a new all time lap record here in Doha. It’s all set for another epic Moto3 race tomorrow in Qatar!

Image Credit: @Tech3Racing on X
Image Credit: @Tech3Racing on X


Qualifying 1

Scott Ogden (Mlav Racing) lead the field out onto the circuit for the first 15 minute qualifying  session of the season.

As the first set of flying lap times were set, it was Angel Piqueras (Leopard Racing) on the Joan Mir inspired #36 to top the timings with a 2:03.892.

The first runs were complete with several riders back in the garages for some changes. It was Filippo Farioli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) a few tenths clear of Piqueras at the front. The top 4 heading through to Q2 at this point were Farioli, Piqueras, Luca Lunetta (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia).

With the sun setting in Qatar and as newbie Joel Esteban (CFMOTO Aspar Team) was called back to the pits, it was still all to play for to get through to Q2.

With 1 minute left of the session, a Moto3 familiar sight of all riders dawdling on track, looking for someone to follow on their last flying lap attempts.

Farioli went by two riders but ran too deep in sector 3. Farioli lit up the sectors on his final flying lap attempt but failed to beat his quickest time.

That didn’t matter though as the top 4 order remained the same. Farioli quickest with Piqueras, Lunetta and Furusato all through into Q2.

Qualifying 2

The battle for pole position was on and the flood lights were switched on trackside.

As the swarm of riders crossed the line on their first flying laps,  it was a brief Honda 1-2 with Adrian Fernandez (Leopard Racing) and Lunetta at the top of the timings. This was short lived as Ivan Ortola (MT Helmets MSI) smashed the provisional pole time set by over a second. What a lap from Ortola and a new all time lap record time set with a blistering 2:02.541. Could anyone beat this time set by Ortola with 9minutes left of the session?

With the first run at pole position completed, all of the riders headed into the pits and most would of been baffled by Ortola’s incredible lap time. At this stage in Q2, Ortola was on provisional pole with Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2nd and David Alonso (CFMOTO Aspar Team) 3rd rounding off the provisional front row of the grid.

Just under 4 minutes of the session remained as all of the riders headed back out onto the circuit to fight for pole position.

With only 2 minutes left of the session, Alonso’s team communicated with him to come into the pits to box. Alonso aware of the time left continued on in the session ignoring the call to the pits.

Daniel Holgado was up through sectors 1 & 2 half way around his last flying lap. Personal bests for David Munoz (BOE Motorsports) and Matteo Bertelle (Rivacold Snipers Team) also on their last attempts at pole position. Holgado was still estimated P1 as he headed into the final corner.

Holgado crossed the line with an incredible lap of 2:02.276. After we thought nobody was stopping Ortola marching to pole position, Daniel Holgado set a new all time lap record and now has his 3rd pole position of his career.

Starting Grid

Image Credit: MotoGP


Moto2: Reactions to the Qatar GP

The first race of the 2022 season was entirely dominated by Celestino Vietti on the VR46 Racing machine, there have been plenty of talking points. Below are a few key thoughts from the riders.

The start of a new season is always rife with speculation, anticipation and excitement. Thankfully, the first race lived up to that with some dominant performances from those on the podium and mixed fortunes for others further back in down the grid.

You can read our full race report here. Below are some key thoughts from the riders as they reflect on the weekend’s actions. The grid will be back in action on the 18th to the 20th of March in Indonesia.

P1 = Celestino Vietti, Mooney VR46 Racing Team

Vietti cruised to a maiden Moto2 win, having secured pole the previous day. He led every lap and came home more than six seconds ahead of his competitors.

Image Credit: MotoGP

“It was very unexpected because [during qualifying] we were fast, but we didn’t have this race pace. We didn’t plan on doing a race like this, but during [Sunday] morning we made some adjustments to better manage the tire and assure a better consistency. The bike worked well and the team did a good job, so this result is for them.

We have to remain calm and continue to work in this way. It is a good way to start the year, but we know that we have very good rivals and it will certainly be a difficult year. We’re going to have to fight hard, so we have to stay focused and work well.”

P3 = Sam Lowes, Elf Marc VDS Racing Team

Lowes was plagued with tendonitis during pre-season testing, which saw him missing out on a lot of track time. However, he enjoyed a race-long battle with Ogura, Fernandez and teammate Arbolino on his way to a podium finish. After winning both races in Qatar in 2021, he will have been keen to start 2022 in an equally positive way.

Image Credit: MotoGP

“It’s been a difficult couple of weeks. But we had a good qualifying [on Saturday] and a podium [on Sunday]! The race was difficult. There were a couple of guys that were stronger than me, but it was a nice battle even though I couldn’t ride how I wanted to ride. So, to get some points on the board is good and to get the podium at the end is fantastic.”


P4 = Augusto Fernandez, Red Bull KTM Ajo

Fernandez spent much of his race, like Lowes, battling for the final podium place, which he was on track to secure before Ogura knocked in him a few laps from the end. He will have, undoubtedly, been disappointed to miss out on his first podium with the KTM team.

Image Credit: MotoGP

“We end the weekend with a bittersweet taste in our mouths. However, we must be happy to have finished, since, after the setback on the last lap, it could have been worse. Besides this, I’m satisfied with how I felt on the bike. During the weekend we showed that we had the pace to be up at the front and we gave our all to win the battle in the chasing group. Finally, the podium got away from us due to that incident, but we were lucky enough to be able to cross the finish line.”

P11 = Jake Dixon, GASGAS Aspar Team

Dixon had a fairly solid day on Saturday, qualifying in seventh, but an issue on the first corner of the first lap sent him tumbling down the order. This forced him to spend much of the race recovering and trying to salvage as many points as possible.

Image Credit: MotoGP

“Turn 1 and 2 was a disaster! Being that far back – outside the top twenty – on the first lap meant it was so hard to try and come back. I had to pass 10 or 11 riders and it took a long time. I think I lost ten seconds and if you take that away from the final race time then we would have been battling for the podium. So, we had the pace but the first lap held me back. It’s a long season and this is just the start.”


P12 = Pedro Acosta, Red Bull KTM Ajo

After laying down the gauntlet in pre-season testing, Acosta crashed out of his first Moto2 qualifying and started the race in tenth. He then faced a similar issue to Dixon after a first corner incident sent him backwards early in the race. Many will have been expecting to see more from the young prodigy during his first Moto2 outing.

Image Credit: MotoGP

“Today we accumulated kilometres and very important experience. The important thing is that we had a very consistent race and that our pace was enough to be fighting with the riders in front. The start of the contest didn’t go as expected, but this can happen in your first Grand Prix in a class.”

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

Moto2: Vietti wins first race of 2022 in Qatar

Celestino Vietti led every lap on his way to winning the Qatar GP. He was joined on the podium by Aron Canet in second and Sam Lowes, who was able to snatch third place after drama on the last lap.

The first race of the season gave Celestino Vietti his first Moto2 win – and it was a very comfortable and enjoyable win for him too! After starting on pole, Vietti flew off the line, quickly put clean air between him and the rest of the field, and then went on to lead every lap.

Vietti took the chequered flag more than 6 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Aron Canet. The Flexbox HP40 rider also enjoyed a strong start to the race – he climbed from ninth to second in only three laps. Once finding himself in second place, he faced no real challenge from the rest of the grid and took a comfortable podium finish.

Ai Ogura and Augusto Fernandez also enjoyed a positive start to their races. They each gained a place and got themselves up to fourth and fifth respectively.

Ogura leads the battle; Image Credit: MotoGP

On the first lap, Jake Dixon and Pedro Acosta both went too hot into the first corner, forcing them to sit up on the bike and go wide. This caused Dixon to fall back from seventh to 16th and Acosta to fall back from tenth to 21st. Having already crash the previous day in qualifying, this added to Acosta’s weekend woes.

Sam Lowes also faced a challenging start, dropping back from second to eighth. He quickly overtook Joe Roberts for seventh and was then gifted sixth place when Filip Salac crashed on lap three.

Having enjoyed a hugely impressive qualifying performance and starting the race as the top rookie in fourth, Salac was clearly disappointed to end have his race prematurely. He had a big highside at turn five which left him in the gravel looking a little shaken. Thankfully, he walked away unscathed but that corner has taken a number of victims this weekend, including Somkiat Chantra who broke a bone during a qualifying crash there.

Salac in the gravel; Image Credit: Gresini Racing

After this, Lowes now found himself behind his Elf Marc VDS teammate Tony Arbolino as well as Fernandez and Ogura – this quartet spent most of the remaining 18 laps jostling for the final podium position. This fighting helped Vietti and Canet to break away from the pack with such ease.

Two mistakes in the middle of the race saw Arbolino drop outside of the third place battle. Lowes quickly took Fernandez and Ogura within one lap of each other, with Ogura swiftly taking back third place honours. These battles allowed Arbolino to reduce the gap and rejoin the fight.

The battle for third; Image Credit: MotoGP

With only two laps to go, Fernandez made a very late move for fourth, throwing his bike up the inside of Lowes. He was then chasing down Ogura and made yet another late lunge. However, as Ogura fought back, he hit Fernandez, sliding in to him and sending himself wide.

Lowes capitalised on this drama to easily snatch third place from the pair of them. Fernandez managed to keep hold of fourth, narrowly missing out on his first podium with the KTM team. Arbolino crossed the line in fifth as Ogura dropped back to sixth.

Eighth and ninth were taken by the American pairing of Roberts and Cameron Beaubier. Marcel Schrotter, who is still recovering from a broken hand that was inflicted during the pre-season test, rounded out the top ten. He took that position on the line, narrowly beating Dixon who managed to recover from his terrible start to finish in 11th.

Acosta on track; Image Credit: MotoGP

Acosta, who was also recovering from his terrible start, fought back to finish in 12th. The final points scoring positions were filled by Albert Arena in 13th, Jeremy Alcoba in 14th and Romano Fenati in 15th.

Joining Salac in the group of non-finishers were Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Barry Baltus who, before retiring, enjoyed a phenomenal save – he managed to stay on the bike as it slid from under him by pushing himself back up with his hand.

After such a dominant performance, all eyes are firmly on Vietti and the wider VR46 Racing Team, who also enjoyed success in Moto3 just hours earlier. After struggling with injury throughout the official test, Lowes will be pleased to be back on the podium. However, after showing such sensational pace in testing, it’s fair to say that many were expecting more from Acosta this weekend. He will surely be keen to fight back as the grid return to action on the 18th to the 20th of March in Indonesia.

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

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