The Moto3™ class saw its 2023 World Champion being crowned on Sunday at the Lusail International Circuit as Jaume Masia took the win of the Qatar Airways Grand Prix of Qatar. His victory in the penultimate round of the season was enough for him to put an end to the title fight, with contender Ayumu Sasaki taking sixth today, leaving the Japanese twenty-eight points away from Masia. Daniel Holgado had his chances to delay the coronation, but some chaos in the final laps saw the unlucky pole man retrograde from the lead to P9, leaving the Red Bull KTM Tech3 with a bittersweet feeling. Despite his penalty which forced him to start from the back of the grid and complete one long lap, Filippo Farioli took a strong start as he caught back positions, but a crash early into the race saw his remontada take an early end.
Starting from the pole for the first time this season, Daniel Holgado was eager to try reuniting with the victory (last win was in Mugello) and at the same time bring the title fight to Valencia. When lights went out at 17:00 (GMT+3) as the night had already fallen on the Lusail International Circuit, Dani came out third of turn 1 with fellow front row riders Diogo Moreira and Deniz Oncu in front, but it was Holgado who eventually sat in first after the first lap. Soon they were joined by Ayumu Sasaki, David Alonso and Jaume Masia who had all made strong starts, while Oncu was out of the battle for a moment after taking a double long lap penalty following a jump start. That was more or less the start of the fight for the lead between Holgado, Sasaki and Masia, after Moreira’s crash and Alonso staying safe behind them. With five laps to go, Holgado was at the lead, which Masia took for the first time the next lap. Second with three laps to go, uninvited guest Riccardo Rossi somehow came back from the mid-group to trouble the front with some not needed chaos at such a crucial time of the season, which bothered Holgado and saw him retrograde to P5. More chaos the next lap pushed him back to P9. Daniel Holgado leaves Qatar with seven points scored, and sits fourth in the standings, thirteen points away from David Alonso who sits in third.
Young rookie Filippo Farioli had a great weekend in Qatar as he seemed to continue surfing on his eighth position from the Malaysian Grand Prix. Fifteenth on Friday and originally qualified in eleventh behind Jaume Masia, Farioli’s chances of doing even better than Malaysia were cut short as he took a penalty following an incident in FP2. Forced to start from the back of the grid and to complete a long lap penalty, the Italian lined up in twenty-seventh today. When lights went out, he took a solid start to find himself in P24 after one lap, P21 the following, and at the doors of the top 15 after three laps. His lap times were fast and identical to the riders at the front. Unfortunately, he was forced to crash in lap 4 after a contact with another rider, a great shame after what had been a really positive weekend for the rookie.
There is one more round to go for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 crew who will now head back to Europe for the season finale in Spain for the Valencia Grand Prix, on November 24-25-26.
“We did an incredible race today, our pace was really fast and I was very competitive, so for all of this I am happy. The last laps were difficult, typical Moto3 races, and I was one of the victims. We need to stay positive because we did nothing wrong, so let’s enjoy our two days at home before we head to the final round in Valencia, which will be my home GP.”
“I am a bit angry because I took a good start with fast laps, and the feeling was good on the bike, but unfortunately I crashed after another rider hit me, and I could not do anything. The positive thing is that we have been feeling well both in Malaysia and Qatar, so we will try to finish the season on a high in Valencia.”
“Twenty-four hours make a big difference! Last night we were really pleased with Daniel Holgado’s first pole position of the season, and a strong qualifying from Filippo Farioli, although he had a penalty. Both had a good pace, so we were expecting strong results. Although Dani showed incredible pace today and was very aggressive on the brakes, especially in turn 1, there was a bit of a chaos in the last laps, and from P1 we went down to P9, which is the story of the Moto3 class, and it is difficult to swallow. We dreamt of the number 1 plate all season, it got tougher in the last couple of rounds, so today we were hoping for a strong result. Everything was going really well, until the last laps. This is racing, and I know that Dani will learn from this. I feel sorry for Filippo who got a very harsh penalty, but he did a really good start, came back from the back of the grid with fast laps. He was having a great weekend, but unfortunately he crashed, which is not the reward he deserved. We have one more round to go, so let’s hope that both Dani and Filippo will get the results they deserve next week in Valencia for the final round of the 2023 Moto3 World Championship.”