Qatar Moto3: Arenas takes KTM’s 100th win by 0.053s

Albert Arenas clinched the first Moto3 win of the new decade and KTM’s 100th after beating John McPhee by 0.053 seconds in a thrilling Qatar Grand Prix.

Arenas spent several stints at the head of the field, and made a break with McPhee in tow on the final lap, repelling the Petronas Sprinta rider’s advances to secure his fourth grand prix victory.

Poleman Tatsuki Suzuki led off the line on the SIC58 Squadra Corse machine, though would lose out to Ajo KTM’s Raul Fernandez on the drag along the 1km main straight into Turn 1 on the second tour.

After Tony Arbolino got the Snipers Honda into the lead at Turn 6 on lap two, Arenas capitalized on a mistake for the Italian to put the Aspar Team KTM at the head of the pack at the end of the third tour. 

Arenas was able to get his bike out of the last corner better than the rest and hold the lead despite the pack swarming behind him in the slipstream for a handful of laps.

As the lead group grew to 19 by lap nine, Fernandez finally deposed Arenas, before Leopard’s Jaume Masia used the power of his Honda to blast past into Turn 1 on the following circulation. 

Arenas worked his way back into the lead when he scythed through on Darryn Binder (CIP KTM) at Turn 2, and remained in first place for three laps.

Arbolino, Suzuki and McPhee then all took turns at the head of the pack as the laps counted down, before Gabriel Rodrigo moved his Gresini Honda to the front at the start of the penultimate tour.

As the last lap started, Arbolino made slight contact with Binder as he drifted over to the outside of the track under braking for Turn 1 and sent the CIP rider down in a frightening accident.

Through the chaos, Arenas found himself back in the lead having been forced wide at Turn 1 and down a handful of spots a few laps previous.

McPhee went with him as Arenas tried to break away on the last lap, but could do nothing on the run to the chequered flag to deny the Aspar rider.

Masia did cross the line in third on his debut ride for Leopard, but was hit with a post-race penalty for exceeding track limits and was demoted to fourth.

This promoted an initially dejected Ai Ogura on the Honda Team Asia bike to the final podium place, with Suzuki completing the top five behind Masia. 

Rodrigo was also hit with a one-place drop and was sixth in the end, with Gresini teammate Jeremy Alcoba seventh and lucky to avoid a penalty after taking Sky VR46’s Celestino Vietti out at Turn 6 late on.

Filip Salac (Snipers Team) recovered from 20th on the grid to finish eighth, with Dennis Foggia (Leopard) coming from 19th to finish ninth and Fernandez rounding out the top 10.

Race results

175 Albert ArenasKTM18 38’08.941  
217 John McPheeHonda18 38’08.994 0.053
379 Ai OguraHonda18 38’09.285 0.344
45 Jaume MasiaHonda18 38’09.188 0.247
524 Tatsuki SuzukiHonda18 38’09.730 0.789
62 Gabriel RodrigoHonda18 38’09.367 0.426
752 Jeremy AlcobaHonda18 38’09.500 0.559
812 Filip SalačHonda18 38’09.764 0.823
97 Dennis FoggiaHonda18 38’09.905 0.964
1025 Raúl FernándezKTM18 38’09.775 0.834
1111 Sergio GarcíaHonda18 38’10.202 1.261
1253 Deniz ÖncüKTM18 38’10.426 1.485
1321 Alonso LópezHusqvarna18 38’10.543 1.602
1427 Kaito TobaKTM18 38’11.731 2.790
1514 Tony ArbolinoHonda18 38’11.516 2.575
1616 Andrea MignoKTM18 38’12.121 3.180
1755 Romano FenatiHusqvarna18 38’14.743 5.802
1892 Yuki KuniiHonda18 38’14.770 5.829
1971 Ayumu SasakiKTM18 38’15.050 6.109
206 Ryusei YamanakaHonda18 38’17.398 8.457
2199Carlos TatayKTM18 38’17.421 8.480
2282 Stefano NepaKTM18 38’25.181 16.240
239 Davide PizzoliKTM18 38’30.391 21.450
2454 Riccardo RossiKTM18 38’35.150 26.209
2550Jason DupasquierKTM18 38’35.353 26.412
2689 Khairul Idham PawiHonda18 38’37.130 28.189
2773 Maximilian KoflerKTM18 38’37.458 28.517
2813 Celestino Vietti RamusKTM18 38’41.047 32.106
2960Dirk GeigerKTM18 38’50.872 41.931
 40 Darryn BinderKTM17 36’02.360 1 Lap
 20 Jose GarciaHonda13 27’55.707 5 Laps

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