Hard-fought 3rd place for Fernandez at Valencia Grand Prix, crash for Toba
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s strong record at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit continued this Sunday with Raul Fernandez achieving third place in the Valencia Grand Prix. The Spaniard took his second consecutive podium – his third of the 2020 season – after being one of the pacesetters practically from start to finish. Teammate Kaito Toba was running second when, at the start of Lap 2, he suffered a crash that forced him to abandon the race.
Fernandez got off the line well from third on the grid and would make some solid early overtaking manoeuvres to take the lead. At the start of Lap 2, a crash by two riders close behind him allowed the 20-year-old talent to open a gap over the rest of the field. The Spaniard began to impose a fast pace, increasing his advantage to almost two seconds at the midway mark. However, with 6 laps remaining, the chasing group hunted him down, and finally the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 star took the chequered flag third.
Kaito Toba got his best start of the year, setting off from the front row and taking the holeshot. The Japanese would drop behind his teammate into second and fend off rivals in the leading group, until he crashed on Lap 5 and was forced to retire from the Valencia Grand Prix contest.
With 14 of the 15 rounds of the Moto3 World Championship completed, Fernandez occupies 6th position in the overall standings with 134 points. Toba is 18th with 40. Next week, Red Bull KTM Ajo will return to action for the 2020 season finale, held at the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal from November 20-22nd.
“I am happy, although at the same time I leave here with a bittersweet taste in my mouth, since we controlled the race, dominating almost from start to finish. We have to learn from what happened today. It was a shame that, on the last lap, I was prepared to attack the leader, but we lost a lot of time when the man in third place overtook me. What I will take away is that we showed that we are mentally and physically strong. Finally, thank you to my team and my family once again.”
“We had a great start and we were pushing very hard from the beginning. I tried to follow Raul [Fernandez] but I made a mistake at Turn 5 which resulted in a big crash. It wasn’t a good Sunday for us, but luckily next week we have another opportunity in Portugal. We will try to take all of the positive points from this Grand Prix and finish the year with a great result.”