2018 Valencia Moto3 Race Result: Age Is Just A Number Indeed

Rain was back on the menu for Sunday and the lightweight class lined up on a wet grid with light drizzle. While the first few laps predictably brought busy gravel traps, the final lap was nothing short of unpredictable, the final trophy of the year going to wildcard Can Oncu, the current Red Bull Rookies champion and future full time Moto3 rider taking a fantastic win on his very first try. The youngster crossed the finish line four seconds ahead of world champion Jorge Martin and also shared the podium with John McPhee.

Tony Arbolino and Marco Bezzecchi were the stars of the start, the poleman showing the way to the championship runner up, while Nakarin Atiratphuvapat lost some ground from the front row towards the end of the top ten, allowing Oncu to mingle with the leaders. Meanwhile, Martin was making his way through the pack, having started 13th. Many warriors had literally fallen in the slippery conditions early on and Oncu himself just about managed to keep aboard although he lost touch by over a second to the two leaders by lap four. His recovery mission was soon aided by Bezzecchi, who crashed out at turn four that same lap, leaving Oncu and McPhee in provisional podium positions, with Fabio Di Giannatonio, Martin and Albert Arenas attempting to hunt them down and change that. The rest of the pack was not too far either, circling about three seconds back.

With Arbolino settled at the front and with a two and a half seconds’ gap to Oncu, all the focus for the next few laps was on all the various riders picking up their bikes from gravel traps. Amongst the chasing pack, Arenas was the first victim on lap seven, while the Gresini tag team of Di Giannantonio and Martin found their way past McPhee. The battle for third position was hotting up between the trio, while Oncu, who was five seconds up the road, was starting to slowly reel in leader Arbolino.

By lap ten, the gap to the leader had settled, Arbolino nearly three seconds ahead of Oncu, while Martin was biding his time for an eventual attack on his teammate, the duo slowly dropping McPhee. It proved to be the calm before the storm, Arbolino crashing from the lead at infamous turn four at the halfway mark of the race. With 12 laps left, Oncu inherited the lead and looked to seriously threaten Scott Redding’s record for youngest GP winner.

The Turkish youngster had to manage the lead with an eight second advantage from the Gresini duo, Martin still not having a go at Di Giannantonio and allowing McPhee to make a comeback to their little group. Enea Bastianini was over ten seconds down the road, fending off Jaume Masia for fifth. A mistake from Di Giannantonio with seven laps to go allowed Martin past, McPhee taking his turn soon after in turn seven as the Italian was suddenly fading.

Another twist was added to the tale when rain started to fall once again for the final six laps. Oncu did not seem too intimidated by the changing conditions and continued to post red coloured sectors despite constantly having to see the world champion’s name on his pitboard. The Red Bull Rookies champ kept his cool – with the exception of a pretty big moment halfway through the final lap – and took the checkered flag with an excellent wheelie.

While Oncu somewhat ruined Redding’s final race in the world championship by snatching the record for youngest GP winner at 15 years and 115 days, Martin also got another title celebration on the parade lap, having finished second. McPhee got a well deserved but a bit under the radar third. Di Giannantonio held on to fourth position and it was enough to demote Bezzecchi, who crashed twice, from second position in the championship. Bastianini, Masia, Niccolo Antonelli, Nakarin Atiratphuvapat, Marcos Ramirez and Celestino Vietti completed the top ten for the final race of the season.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 61 Can ONCU KTM 43'06.370
2 88 Jorge MARTIN Honda +4.071
3 17 John MCPHEE KTM +6.130
4 21 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO Honda +12.897
5 33 Enea BASTIANINI Honda +14.735
6 5 Jaume MASIA KTM +21.984
7 23 Niccolò ANTONELLI Honda +26.641
8 41 Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAPAT Honda +30.758
9 42 Marcos RAMIREZ KTM +33.411
10 31 Celestino VIETTI KTM +39.008
11 71 Ayumu SASAKI Honda +42.332
12 81 Stefano NEPA KTM +48.931
13 25 Raul FERNANDEZ KTM +54.434
14 16 Andrea MIGNO KTM +54.585
15 84 Jakub KORNFEIL KTM +56.424
16 22 Kazuki MASAKI KTM +57.222
17 19 Gabriel RODRIGO KTM +1'00.541
18 48 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA Honda +1'35.093
19 40 Darryn BINDER KTM 1 Lap
20 12 Marco BEZZECCHI KTM 1 Lap
    Not Classified    
  77 Vicente PEREZ KTM 2 Laps
  65 Philipp OETTL KTM 8 Laps
  14 Tony ARBOLINO Honda 12 Laps
  26 Izam IKMAL Honda 16 Laps
  75 Albert ARENAS KTM 17 Laps
  27 Kaito TOBA Honda 19 Laps
  10 Dennis FOGGIA KTM 22 Laps
    Not Finished 1st Lap    
  44 Aron CANET Honda 0 Lap
  72 Alonso LOPEZ Honda 0 Lap
  24 Tatsuki SUZUKI Honda 0 Lap
Round Number: 
19
2018
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Comments

Felt like a historic race. Wishing all the best for CanO! Hope we just witnessed the born of an another alien. Kudos to the kid!