2021 Doha Moto3 Race Result: Ain't No Mountain High Enough

Twilight in Doha was a pretty backdrop for a pretty magical Moto3 show and it also went to prove that any penalties race direction throw at the lightweight class, it ultimately means nothing if your name is Pedro Acosta. The brilliant rookie put on a show that will be hard to beat as he made his way from a pitlane start to the top of the podium in only his second race in the world championship. Acosta superbly defended his maiden victory from Darryn Binder, who makes it back to back podiums in Qatar, while Niccolo Antonelli makes a well-deserved and long awaited return to the podium in third place.

18 crazy laps before that, it was Gabriel Rodrigo who stole the show at the start of the race, to lead into turn one from Tatsuki Suzuki, Binder and poleman Jaume Masia. The Argentine rider only held onto the lead for mere meters because Binder flew past, while teammate John McPhee had dropped down to 14th by the end of lap one. The dreaded slipstream along the start-finish straight once again saw all the action at the front, with several riders trading places over the next few laps and seeing the likes of Kaito Toba, Binder, Filip Salac, Suzuki and Rodrigo all holding the lead for short bursts by lap five. In preparation for his upcoming double long lap penalty, rookie Xavier Artigas swiftly joined the top four, having started 16th on the grid and dropped to the back of the leading pack in 21st spot after serving the penalty. Meanwhile, the pitlane start group led by Acosta had over seven seconds to recover on Artigas ahead. Acosta, together with Sergio Garcia, Stefano Nepa and Romano Fenati managed not to push each other’s buttons for long enough to drop that gap to four seconds by lap 6.

Back at the front, the same familiar names were battling for the lead, Andrea Migno adding to the growing list of frontrunners on lap 7 and the frequent exchanges at the front allowed the chasers to get closer to the 19-man lead group. Binder reclaimed the lead at the start of lap 9, ahead of Salac, Rodrigo, Migno, Toba, Masia and McPhee, who finally broke into the top ten.

Salac started the second half of the race at the front of the pack but on every new lap riders magically found room to go seven or eight abreast into turn 1 and that inevitably saw a few of them lose the turn 1 roulette and getting pushed wide to the back of the group, having to work their way back through. All that messiness helped the pursuing pack and it was almost surprising that it took until 7 laps to go for someone to bite the dust, Artigas getting nudged out at turn six. Salac was next to drop off one lap later, while Toba and Migno traded places at the front and the pitlane boys had joined the fun at the back of the group and were claiming minor points already.

McPhee picked up the lead with four laps remaining but did not last long there, as he got wiped out once again by Jeremy Alcoba’s accident. Masia saw an opportunity to claim the lead and try to get away from the risky shenanigans in the group, but the Spaniard only gained about three tenths of a second’s gap before the group arrived at turn 1 and Rodrigo demoted him once more. Meanwhile, Acosta was making quick progress through the group and pushed back Binder to join the top three. The pitlane starter found himself starting the final lap at the front of the pack and being hunted down by Binder, Migno, Masia, Rodrigo and big bunch of other riders.

The rookie pushed even harder and stretched just enough of a gap over the final lap to almost miraculously hold onto victory by three hundredths of a second from a charging Binder. Niccolo Antonelli grabbed the final podium spot from compatriot Migno, while Toba completed the top five. Despite a heavy crash in warm up, rookie Izan Guevara did great to secure sixth place ahead of Ayumu Sasaki and Ryusei Yamanaka. Things got chaotic for Masia on the final lap, when contact with Rodrigo at turn 10 left the Spaniard ninth, with Fenati completing the top ten and Rodrigo dropping to 13th position. Acosta returns to Europe as world championship leader nine points ahead of Binder, while Masia drops to third, 13 points down on his teammate.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 37 Pedro Acosta KTM 38'22.430
2 40 Darryn Binder Honda +0.039
3 23 Niccolò Antonelli KTM +0.482
4 16 Andrea Migno Honda +0.514
5 27 Kaito Toba KTM +0.651
6 28 Izan Guevara GASGAS +0.708
7 71 Ayumu Sasaki KTM +1.805
8 6 Ryusei Yamanaka KTM +1.857
9 5 Jaume Masia KTM +1.875
10 55 Romano Fenati Husqvarna +1.967
11 50 Jason Dupasquier KTM +1.994
12 24 Tatsuki Suzuki Honda +2.234
13 2 Gabriel Rodrigo Honda +2.235
14 73 Maximilian Kofler KTM +2.249
15 92 Yuki Kunii Honda +2.260
16 82 Stefano Nepa KTM +5.359
17 7 Dennis Foggia Honda +11.052
18 53 Deniz Öncü KTM +11.085
19 54 Riccardo Rossi KTM +15.996
20 20 Lorenzo Fellon Honda +17.130
21 99 Carlos Tatay KTM +18.480
22 19 Andi Farid Izdihar Honda +25.872
23 11 Sergio Garcia GASGAS +41.914
Not Classified
  17 John Mcphee Honda 4 Laps
  52 Jeremy Alcoba Honda 4 Laps
  31 Adrian Fernandez Husqvarna 4 Laps
  12 Filip Salac Honda 6 Laps
  43 Xavier Artigas Honda 7 Laps
Round Number: 
2
2021
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Comments

My favorite quote of all time from anyone anywhere: "I said could do it and finally I'm here." - 16 year-old Pedro Acosta after winning his second ever Moto3 race.

I, for one, am happy Pedro FINALLY made it to the top spot. The wait must've been excruciating for him. LOL

I told Suzuki to sign him after I saw him stuff McPhee at the end of his first ever FP1. This kid is special special special

Acosta's performances are going to put huge pressure on Jaume Masia, who I think a lot of people would be expecting to win the championship this year. Not a good look to get beat by a rookie...

This isn't just a rookie, this is someone special. I think someday in the distant future Jaume is going to tell his grandchildren with pride that he got beat by Pedro Acosta when the kid was just beginning his career. He won the race from pit lane! That can't happen

I don't know why (because I normally start climbing the walls about this stuff - I went ballistic when Can Oncu won at Valencia), but I don't quite share the same enthusiasm about Acosta's win.

Last week, Fenati was 2.2s off the win after a double long lap penalty. In Moto3 (and especially at Qatar), if you're quick enough, you'll be in the selection at the end.

Agree that Acosta looks the real deal, though. Hopefully he and Guevara can bring through a new generation in the class because there are a few riders who have been there way too long and don't look like progressing - McPhee, Fenati, Antonelli, Rodrigo, Suzuki, Sasaki, etc.

Seems to cause a lot of grief a lot of the time - didn't he shoulder-charge somebody (possibly McPhee as the pair seem to be magnetically attracted to each other) down the back straight at Misano last year?