By Lisa Lewis

Blusens Avintia rider Maverick Vinales took victory in the inaugural Moto3 race in Qatar after being challenged for most of the race by Italian rookie Romano Fenati.

Behind them, a frantic battle for third between seven riders saw pole sitter Sandro Cortese complete the podium.

Grand prix debutante Fenati took an early lead only to be stalked down by Vinales by lap 6 of 18, the Spaniard went on to win the race by 4.301 seconds.

Despite the gap between seasons this makes Vinales the second youngest rider, after Marco Melandri, to take three successive GP wins, having won the final two races of the 125cc class.

Both FTR Honda riders had shown good pace in Saturday night's warm-up session with Vinales topping the times and Team Italia FMI rider Fenati finishing second. They continued this form into the race, often tussling on the way to their podium positions.

Fenati, who in qualifying sixth had set the best result by a rider making their debut in the smallest class since Scott Redding in 2008 in Qatar.

The battle for third place under the spotlights was a race long spectacular, with the lead constantly changing in the pack. Sandro Cortese used his experience to bring the KTM in to finish third, the first time the German Red Bull rider has managed to translate his pole position into a podium place.

He was closely followed by Spain's Luis Salom in fourth, Portuguese racer Miguel Oliveira was next across the line in fifth, followed by Air Asia KTM rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin for sixth.

Completing the top ten were Red Bull KTM team mates Arthur Sissis, the 2011 Red Bull rookie runner up, who was seventh in just his second grand prix and Britain's Danny Kent climbing back to eighth after a poor start.

Frenchman Louis Rossi and Suter Honda's Alex Rins complete the top ten. The final point was taken by Jakub Kornfeil in 15th place on his 19th birthday. Britain's Danny Webb finished 18th on his Mahindra Racing bike.

The split of manufacturers was even over the top ten with both Honda and KTM having five bikes present, despite FTR Honda taking the top two slots.

The new 250cc four-stroke Moto3 class replaces the 125cc championship. Unlike Moto2, Moto3 has open engine competition, both championships use Dunlop as their exclusive tyre provider.

Race Results:

1.Maverick Vi?alesSPA (FTR Honda)38m 40.995s
2.Romano FenatiITA (FTR Honda)38m 45.296s
3.Sandro CorteseGER (KTM)38m 59.008s
4.Luis SalomSPA (Kalex KTM)38m 59.195s
5.Miguel OliveiraPOR (Suter Honda)38m 59.740s
6.Zulfahmi KhairuddinMAL (KTM)39m 0.047s
7.Arthur SissisAUS (KTM)39m 0.461s
8.Danny KentGBR (KTM)39m 2.093s
9.Louis RossiFRA (FTR Honda)39m 2.148s
10.Alex RinsSPA (Suter Honda)39m 9.728s
11.Alan TecherFRA (TSR Honda)39m 10.770s
12.Hector FaubelSPA (Kalex KTM)39m 10.808s
13.Niklas AjoFIN (KTM)39m 16.935s
14.Alberto MoncayoSPA (Kalex KTM)39m 16.978s
15.Jakub KornfeilCZE (FTR Honda)39m 19.636s


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