Australian Jack Miller took line honors in the opening Moto3 World Championship race at the Losail Circuit in Qatar, the first of 18 rounds of the competition. It was the 19-year-old Australian’s first Moto3 win and was a great debut with the Red Bull KTM Ajo Factory team.
Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) came in second with Efren Vazquez (SAXOPRINT RTG) third. Vazquez crossed the finishing line just 0.047s off second place to complete the podium and step onto the rostrum for the first time since 2011.
Miller who had a front row start swooped to the front at the start of the race shadowed by Spaniard Alex Marquez. The two riders then settled down to swap the lead back and forth and at one point had a 3.5 second lead on the rest of the pack.
Behind the leaders a battle raged for the minor podium place with engagement by no less than five or six riders. The group narrowed the gap to the two leaders to less than a second in the closing laps setting up what was to be a thrilling final dash to the line.
Miller who before then race had pledged to be patient and go for the maximum points, played his hand well. Going into the final corners the Australian was perfectly placed to capitalise on a small mistake by rival Marquez. Marquez went wide in the corner, Miller quickly grabbed the advantage and went on to take line honours and pick up maximum points in the opening round.
Immediately after the race, an excited Miller said he had gone all out in the final lap…
“It was pretty scary going into the final lap because the tires were more worn than I expected them to be. But I just gave it my all. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. It was a really good first race. its a great way to start the season, but its that. Its the start. We still have a long way to go and I still have a lot to learn.”
Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) was the best of the seven Mahindra equipped riders in the race, missing the podium by just 0.015s in fourth. Rins incredibly got back up towards the top three having been stranded way down the field on the first lap and he too was just a fraction behind Oliveira in fifth.
Jakub Kornfeil (Calvo Team) was also close to the front running group, eventually placing sixth, whilst a 1.5s gap behind him the experienced Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold) came home seventh.
Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team), Niccolo Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN) and Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) completed the top ten.
Moto3 GP Results
1. Jack Miller, AUS Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM
2. Alex Marquez SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda
3. Efren Vazquez SPA SaxoPrint-RTG Honda
4. Miguel Oliveira POR Mahindra Racing Mahindra
5. Alex Rins SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda
6. Jakub Kornfeil CZE Calvo Team KTM
7. Alexis Masbou FRA Ongetta-Rivacold Honda
8. Isaac Vinales SPA Calvo Team KTM
9. Niccolo Antonelli Go&Fun Moto3 KTM
10. Francesco Bagnaia ITA SKY KTM
11. John McPhee GBR SaxoPrint-RTG Honda
12. Romano Fenati ITA SKY Racing Team KTM…etc.
Moto3 Standings after Round 1
1. J. Miller, 25
2. J.Marquez, 20
3. E. Vazquez, 16
4. M. Oliveira, 13
5. A. Rins, 11
6. J.Kornfeil, 10
7. A. Masbou, 9
8. I. Viñales, 8
9. N. Antonelli, 7
10. F. Bagnaia, 6