Moto3: Daniel Holgado Wins the Opening Round of the Moto3 Championship.
Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Daniel Holgado Wins an Exciting Season Opener at Portimao.
It was the Grande Premio TISSOT de Portugal for the opening round of the Moto3 championship, Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP’s Ayumu Sasaki was on pole position, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jose Antonio Rueda lined-up in second place with CFMTO Racing PruestelGP’s Joel Kelso in third place. Deniz Oncu stalled his Red Bull KTM Ajo machinery and had to start the race from pit lane.
Lights out for the first time in 2023 as Kelso lead the field into turn one, the Australian made a lightening start. Holgado made his way into second place. Scott Ogden crashed out on the first lap at turn four, disastrous start for the young Brit.
Holgado took the lead from Kelso, Sasaki was holding onto third place, the front group consisted of 14 riders. Kelso was putting the Spaniard under pressure but the KTM rider was holding his own in first place.
David Alonso crashed out at turn one on lap four, as Kelso took the lead at the front. David Munoz was now in third place, Xavier Artigas was in fourth place. Sasaki was in second place as Kelso was pushed back to fourth place, giving the lead back to Holgado.
Leopard Racing’s former Moto3 race winner Tatsuki Suzuki was down in 14th place, whilst his all-new team-mate Jaume Masia was in third place with 13 laps to go. Oncu was battling his way through the pack in 14th place.
The front group consisted of 12 riders from Holgado to rookie Rueda with just eight laps remaining to the race. Sasaki took the lead for the next two laps until he was pushed down the order to tenth. Rueda was making progress and was in fifth place, the Spaniard was getting in the mix; then he took the lead at turn 14!
Four laps to go and any rider in the top ten could take the first victory of the season, Oncu was in 11th place, the Turkish rider was on the move on the cusp of joining the leading group.
Holgado crossed the line to take the victory, Munoz was second, Diogo Moreira was third, Rueda just missed out on a podium finish in fourth place, Masia finished in fifth place. As the riders crossed the finish line Kelso ran into the back of Holgado and the Australian crashed heavily and was taken to the medical center.
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