Portimao Moto3: Top tactics bring first victory to Holgado

Daniel Holgado got his season off to the best possible start with a win at the Portuguese Moto3 Grand Prix at Portimao.

From fourth on the grid the Red Bull KTM Tech3 rider was comfortable in the pack for much of the 19 laps as the lead changed hands, with a spell at the front himself in the seson opener for Moto3 in Portugal.

The Spaniard learned his rivals lines and when he found himself back at the head of the pack he held firm, dropping the lead group from a swollen twelve down to six by the final coners.

Those turns were run to perfection, pulling out a slim advantage over his nearest rivals to lead over the line by 0.160s in his first Moto3 victory.

There was drama after the chequered flag - Holgado slowed to celebrate and remove a tear-off from his visor and Joel Kelso was still carrying speed - the Australian colliding with the back of the winning KTM after the race. The CFMoto rider was taken to the medical centre for checks.

David Munoz was closest behind after the shakedown, unable to pull in the gap in the run to the line for BOE Motorsports, the youngest rider in the class taking a third podium finish at just sixteen.

Diogo Moreira has been under the weather all weekend with a bug going around the paddock but rallied on race day to become the first Brazilian to claim a podium finish in the lightweight class for MT Helmets- MSI - completing a KTM rostrum clean sweep.

The best of the rookies crossed the line fourth - Jose Antonio Rueda.

Slipping back from his front row start, the race being slowed saw the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider suddenly back in the lead and he took his second chance near the front to keep in contention for the podium places, only just missing out in the run to the line for a superb fourth in the first race of his first full championship season - his previous best from a one off rider was 21st.

The experienced Jaume Masia was in close attendance in fifth for Leopard - the top Honda finisher.

Polesitter Ayumu Sasaki had been in contention for much of the race but got beaten up and forced backwards in the final lap, leading the next group over the line in sixth for Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP.



Stefano Nepa was seventh for the Angeluss MTA Team, just ahead of eight placed Xavier Artigas (CF Moto Racing PruestelGP) with Joel Kelso registering ninth before his crash.

Heroics from pitlane take Oncu to tenth.


Deniz Oncu’s race had looked to over before it had begun, wheeled off the grid for a pit lane start after he appeared to stall on the warm-up lap. 

With the lead group sitting at twelve and repeatedly slowed by the leaders, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider was able to slice his way through the riders ahead to arrive on the back of the lead group by the time the penultimate lap got underway.

Setting several fastest laps, with the speediest of all coming on the last run around the track, the Turkish rider had a slim shout at the podium if the bunching up continued, but as the leaders stretched away he finished an impressive tenth.

He passed Kaito Toba (SIC58 Squadra Corse) who was left in eleventh, while Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna IntactGP) was a solid twelfth on his debut.

The remaining points went to David Salvador (CIP Green Power) in 13th , Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing), who was off the pace all weekend down in 14th and Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse)  15th, who was also surprisingly low given he topped testing at the same track just a week ago.

Romano Fenati and Joshua Whatley enjoyed a race long battle further down the field, the Italian placed 19th for Rivacold Snipers, with VisionTrack’s Whatley in 21st, the pair eventually split by Taiyo Furusato.


Crashes and penalties


Lorenzo Fellon did not start and was shown walking away from the grid. Scott Ogden trudged away in the gravel after a fall at turn four on the first lap.

David Alonso went down under contact from Ivan Ortola, the turn one fall on lap four earned the latter a double long lap penalty, which dropped the Angeluss MTA rider out of the top ten. Ortola crashed later in the race after completing his sanction.

Alonso returned to the track and later retired. Filippo Farioli also failed to go the distance.

Read More