Eleventh overall in last year's Moto3 World Championship, Albert Arenas believes he and Aspar have announced their 2020 title intentions with the best race of his career in the Qatar season opener.

The Spaniard led for all but five of the 18 laps at Losail, but also had to fight his way back to the front from seventh place in the closing stages.

The KTM rider then held off a train of eight Hondas at the finish, with John McPhee just 0.053s from Arenas' front wheel.

"I said [it was the best race of my life] because I really enjoyed riding in Losail and leading so many laps. I had never done it, I had never been able to do what I wanted with the bike like I did in Qatar," Arenas explained.

"Because of how we did it, for all the work that has not been seen, for the mentality with which we arrived at the race and the preparation... all that made a difference.

"Also, it was the first race of the season, we all arrived with high expectations after having worked so hard during the pre-season. All this set of factors made it the best race of my life."

The victory was the fourth for Arenas in Moto3.

"The French GP, in 2018, was a surprise victory. Then, in Australia [2018], it was a victory... of bravery. Last year in Thailand, it was a triumph of skill. And Qatar's was a victory of dominance," he declared.

The Aspar team won four world titles in the former 125cc class, with Alvaro Bautista (2006), Gabor Talmacsi (2007), Julian Simon (2009) and Nicolas Terol (2011).

Could Arenas go on to end the team's title drought with its first world championship of the Moto3 era?

"We faced this year’s World Championship with a lot of motivation, with the aim of fighting for the title, but as Moto3 is such a crazy category there were no fixed expectations," he said. "This [victorious] beginning is a sign, it is a declaration of 'we are here, to fight for the title', while being aware that there are very strong rivals.

"For example, for me the top favourite is still Tony Arbolino, who finished fourth last year, or the Leopard team, because last year their riders were really strong... We are now ahead of them; we have demonstrated our potential and we have room to continue improving and fighting for our goals.

"The way to face the races will be the same, without high expectations, but with a little more force thanks to this start. We will go race by race, especially after this situation we are experiencing now."

Indeed, the coronavirus situation means that Arenas and the other grand prix riders won't be back on track until Jerez in May at the earliest.

"Now we will have almost a couple of months to prepare for the next race, it will be like a new pre-season," Arenas said. "The good thing is that this year, in the first tests and after two months without getting on the bike, from the beginning we already had a good pace.

"Now, we don't need to pick up that pace again, nor adapt to a new bike. Yes, it is true that I wanted to feel that racing feeling again, but we will try to get the positive out of this, we will continue working with patience and willing to return as soon as possible.

"We will have to change some routines, because for example on Friday I could go to the gym, but since Saturday it is already closed, so we will have to continue preparing from home."

 

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