Valencia Moto3: Last lap drama sees Artigas pick up maiden win

Xavier Artigas picked up his first win after contact between Dennis Foggia and Pedro Acosta saw the champion end his season in the gravel in the Moto3 Valencian Grand Prix.
Xavier Artigas, Moto3 race, Valencia MotoGP, 14 November 2021
Xavier Artigas, Moto3 race, Valencia MotoGP, 14 November 2021
© Gold and Goose

Xavier Artigas took the first win of his world championship career as the Moto3 Valencian Grand Prix unravelled on the final lap, with the lightweight class signing off for the season in signature chaotic style.

The final round of the championship was decided in the final corners, with championship leader and polesitter Pedro Acosta and runner-up Dennis Foggia deep in battle. The Leopard rider made a move inside the Spaniard, while passing he clipped the handlebars of the Red Bull KTM Ajo machine, sending the new champion into the gravel.

Foggia’s team-mate took advantage of the situation to sweep into the lead which he held over the line as Sergio Garcia looked to slipstream past. Artigas’s determined run from 17th on the grid saw him pick up his first world championship win and sign off from his time with the Leopard team in style.

The win could not pull back enough points to see Honda to the win in the constructors championship, with KTM taking the title by nine points.

Sergio Garcia has also needed to make progress after qualifying down in tenth and was one of many riders to leave briefly in an ever evolving, exciting race.

Choosing to stay on the racing line allowed Artigas the chance to sail past and hold on for a home win. Finishing second by just 0.043s for Valresa GasGas secures him third in the championship despite missing several rounds to recover from kidney damage. 

The all Spanish podium in Valencia was completed by local rider Jaume Masia, being reminded to breathe by his Red Bull KTM Ajo pit board paid dividends as he kept his cool on the frantic final lap after surviving an early shunt from Ryusei Yamanaka as he fell, to take third.

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Both Filip Salac and Deniz Oncu were handed a track limits long lap penalty in the race for exceeding track limits. They took the penalty together with the CarXpert PruestelGP rider fighting back to be in the mix for the podium, finishing an eventual fourth.

Oncu, returning from suspension for his actions in Texas, did the same crossing the the line right behind the Czech rider for fifth on the Red Bull KTM Tech 3 entry.

Dennis Foggia’s move was instantly put up for review. As the Italian took the time to congratulate his team-mate and apologise to his season long title rival he was awarded a three second penalty. Crossing the line in sixth after the contact saw him drop through the pack,the penalty saw him pushed down to 13th.

That elevated Stefano Nepa to sixth, just short of matching his best finish of the season for BOE Owlride.

Early race leader Izan Guevara ran wide to lose the slot and never fully recovered but also benefited from the penalty to move up to seventh on the second GasGas entry.

Carlos Tatay was out of the top fifteen in the early stages but fought back to finish eighth for Avintia Esponsorama.

Niccolo Antonelli was the best of the riders with special Rossi retirement themed helmets, moved up to ninth on the Avintia VR46 Academy bike. 

Ayumu Sasaki bounced back for two Saturday crashes to complete the top ten on the second Red Bull KTM Tech 3 entry.

John McPhee took the chequered flag in 13th but was moved up to eleventh on his final outing with Petronas Sprinta racing.

Twelfth went to Romano Fenati, who survived a late track limits warning for Sterilgarda Max Racing Team.

Adrian Fernandez saw hopes of a strong final rookie race dashed after he was handed a double long lap penalty for his actions in Q1. He recovered for 14th with Gresini’s Jeremy Alcoba 15th.

A series of three seperate crashes on the first lap saw Lorenzo Fellon, Darryn Binder and Yamanaka all out of the race.

Joel Kelso (replacing Maximillian Kofler at CIP Green Power) highsided in front of Jose Antonio Rueda who was sitting in for the still recovering Gabriel Rodrigo. 

Andrea Migno was a late faller, he remounted for 18th. Yuki Kunii, Tatsuki Suzuki ans Alberto Surra all failed to go the distance.

Andi Farid Izdihar was absent after fracturing his right hand in FP3.

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