Having raced in 250cc, 500cc, MotoGP and Moto2, Tech3 began a new chapter in its racing history with a Moto3 World Championship debut in Qatar.

Rookie Deniz Oncu, who made five Moto3 appearances last season, marked the occasion by clinching his first grand prix points courtesy of twelfth on the team's Red Bull KTM machine.

The young Turkish rider, twin brother of 2018 Valencia winner Can Oncu, had qualified in eighth place and ran as high as fourth on the opening lap.

Oncu was later bumped all the way back to 19th, but mounted a fightback in the closing stages to finish just 1.485s from victory and comfortably beat his previous best result of 16th, while riding in place of his brother at the Ajo team last year.

“Finally, we got our first Moto3 race," said Tech3 team manager Herve Poncharal. "I have to say that the whole weekend was great.

"Deniz had a dream start, we were so happy to see him in fourth position for quite a few corners. Like always happens in Moto3, there were some touches and some slight mistakes from the riders, that made him lose positions.

"Even though he had a big contact, making him go back to 19th, he was able to pass some of those in front of him and ended up 12th, which is his first ever World Championship points.

"I’m really glad, he got his best qualifying position yesterday with Tech3 and his best – so far – race finish with us.

"For sure, there is still a lot to learn. We have to remember, that Deniz is a 16 years old boy. I would like to say, that we love him, for his energy, his fun, his humour, his very positive attitude, it’s like a breeze of fresh and positive air, so we will do everything we can to support and help him. But I think, he’s got a great future ahead of him and we are proud to have him with us."

“It’s amazing for me! I’m so happy, because I was fighting very hard," Oncu said. "Thanks to everyone who supports me... Now it’s time to go back home and work even harder for the next race.”

Experienced team-mate Ayumu Sasaki had to be content with just 19th place on his Tech3 debut.

“It was a difficult race," said the Japanese. "We improved a lot during the weekend, but it wasn’t enough. We wanted more, to be honest. This is not a place we want to be, but I learned so many things in this race."

After three seasons on a Honda, Poncharal is sure that Sasaki will eventually adapt to the KTM.

"Ayumu is a very talented rider, a very fast rider and someone who can fight for top positions in Moto3, we know. So far, he is a bit struggling to adapt his riding style to his new machine, but he has a never-give-up-attitude.

"We believe in him, we fully trust him and we know he is going to give us some great joy and achievements this year.

"So, it was a long stay in Qatar, but it was worth it. We got our first points with Deniz. Now, I think we can go back home, enjoying these moments, having a rest and just waiting for the big news, where the next race is going to be…"

Currently, the coronavirus disruption means that round two of the season - and the opening race for MotoGP, where Tech3 also runs KTM machinery - has been delayed until Argentina from April 17-19. However few would be surprised if that changes to Jerez on May 1-3.

 

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