Acosta carves his way through the field to win the Moto3 Tissot Grand Prix of Doha.
In an incredible race, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider stayed cool, calm and collected to fight his way through to be the first Moto3 competitor ever to win from pitlane.
As the sun set over the Losail International Circuit the grid formed in its normal place with Jaume Masia sat at the front, while seven of the riders trundled down pitlane to receive their penalties. Argentinian Gabriel Rodrigo got the hole shot, with Darryn Binder closely behind – taking the lead into Turn 5. The pitlane starters were held for so long, as the whole field thundered past.
Leopard Racing’s Xavier Artigas took his first long-lap penalty on Lap 2, re-joining mid-pack and taking his second on Lap 3. He ended up a second behind the lead group, a lot better than it could have been. He fell with 7 laps to go, after Carlos Tatay nerfed him off at Turn 6. The Avintia Esponsorama Moto3 rider out-braked himself and had to pick up the bike at the apex, but unfortunately Artigas was caught on the outside and slid off gently into the run-off.
Filip Salac gave Darryn Binder a taste of his own medicine on Lap 4, barging his way through at Turn 15. The tall Czech rider started to show his true racing talent, running at the sharp end on the pack from the start. However, Salac went down with 6 laps to g, losing the front at Turn 2 after being tagged by Red Bull KTM Tech 3 rider Ayumu Sasaki, but today remained a very promising performance from the Rivacold Snipers Team rider.
Pedro Acosta led the chasing pitlane pack. Stefano Nepa set the early fastest lap, so it seemed that the chasing group were working together to bridge the 11 second gap to Lorenzo Fellon at the back of the lead group. Acosta, Fenati, Garcia and Nepa became visible on Lap 6 and caught the back of the leading 19 with 8 laps to go.
Jeremy Alcoba pulled some quite clever moves early-on. He forced his way through on Darryn Binder’s fight with Gabri Rodrigo and moved them both wide with 5 laps to go, creating a gap between the Top 5 and the rest, but that didn’t last long when the draft into Turn 1 brought them all back together.
The front straight was the scene of some sketchy manoeuvres. Gabri Rodrigo collided with the rear of Darryn Binder at the beginning of Lap 5, at full speed on the front straight. His brake guard on his handlebar was sent flying, but everybody got off relatively unscathed. Jaume Masia was out on the astro-turf after using over-speed in the slipstream to ride around the group in front of him. Kaito Toba squeezed Masia right to the white line at the end of Lap 9. It was incredibly congested going down into Turn 1, lap-on-lap – sometimes 6 or 7 bikes wide!
John McPhee had a terrible start, dropping to as low as 20th due to a collision with rookie Izan Guevara, causing him to run on at Turn 6 and lose a good lump of positions. He worked really hard to get back to the front bunch, but was taken out into Turn 1 by Jeremy Alcoba’s stricken bike after he went in too hot and hit the rear of Darryn Binder with 4 laps to go. The Petronas Sprinta Moto3 rider didn’t take it very well, appearing to kick out at Alcoba in the aftermath of the accident. Alcoba went back at him and the hand bags were out in Turn 1’s run-off area. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them both receive penalties for their actions.
Avintia Esponsorama Moto3 rider Carlos Tatay and Sterilgada Max Racing Team rider Adrien Fernandez collided at Turn 6 in the mid-pack on Lap 15. A racing incident caused them both to go down and put them out of the race.
With 2 laps to go, there was a clear lead group of 5, which included pitlane starter Pedro Acosta, last week’s winner Jaume Masia, Andrea Migno, Gabri Rodrigo and Darryn Binder. They were joined by Niccolo Antonelli and Kaito Toba on the last lap.
Acosta tried to gap the rest on the final lap, with Binder in hot pursuit. Last week’s winner Jaume Masia made contact with Andrea Migno into Turn 6. He then made contact with Rodrigo at Turn 10, and basically held himself up on the Indonesian Racing Gresini bike and went wide. He dropped to 9th almost collecting Ayumu Sasaki as he re-joined, a rather messy end to his race.
Acosta led into the final corner and swerved onto the final run to the line, with Darryn Binder on his coat tails. He broke the slipstream brilliantly and held the lead over the line to win his first Moto3 race by 0.039 secs. A truly incredible performance from the young Spaniard.
Niccolo Antonelli beat Andrea Migno to the line for 3rd in another incredible race to the line. It’s really good to see Antonelli back at the front where he belongs after a difficult few years.
As we have come to expect over the years, Moto3 always gives us a good race. This week was special though. An unbelievable race which was impossible to take your eyes off. What a race!
Moto3 heads to Portugal in 2 weeks time, for the Grande Prémio 888 de Portugal.
See you then!
Feature Image: MotoGP.com