Acosta amazes with first Grand Prix win after pit-lane start in #DohaGP, Masia 9th
Pedro Acosta dazzled under the spotlights of the Losail International Circuit this Sunday, claiming his first Moto3 race win and doing so having started from pit-lane. In only his second Grand Prix appearance, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rookie overcame a disadvantage of 11 seconds to catch the leading group, then passing 21 other riders en route to victory. Thanks to this result, Acosta tops the World Championship standings following the Doha GP. Teammate Jaume Masia had a solid performance, leading the contest at one point towards the end. After a tricky last lap, he placed ninth.
Acosta had been given a penalty for slow riding in FP2, along with six other riders. That meant a start from pit-lane and a big challenge ahead, with him completing the first lap still more than 11 seconds off the front runners. The Spaniard began to run the same pace he had during practice and was a second faster than the race leader. At the halfway mark, the 16-year-old talent latched onto the group that occupied positions 1-21. His climb continued, and on the final lap Acosta made the definitive pass to earn his maiden Moto3 win.
Masia started the 18-lap contest from pole position but dropped down to seventh by the end of the opening lap. Without losing calm or concentration, the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rider remained in a large leading group in which there were countless overtaking moves. With three laps to go, Masia worked his way to the front, but would eventually come home in ninth place.
Acosta thus heads the overall standings with 45 points. Jaume Masia is third in the standings, with 32. The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 duo now have a week off before the next round, the Portuguese Grand Prix, from April 16th-18th.
“These things happen when you work with geniuses. We are in the World Championship, and it isn’t easy to do what we did. Yesterday we were not entirely clear about things, but today I told my assistant that we had the chance to do well. The riders at the front of the race got in each other’s way, and that helped us to hunt them down. In addition, those in the group that started from pit-lane kept clear of each other. When I caught up, I took a little breath and then went after them. Everything worked out well and I’m very happy.”
“It was a tough race to manage, with many riders close together. At crucial moments, we should have been a little calmer. This is experience that we are gaining, but the important thing is that we are strong and, in two weeks, at the Portuguese Grand Prix, we will try again.”