Kaito Toba created history in the Moto3 Qatar Grand Prix as he ran a near perfect last lap to become the first Japanese Moto3 winner at the Qatar Grand Prix.

Honda Team Asia saw their rider claim the first win of the season from his best ever qualifying result of third as the sun set on the Losail track, Toba made his presence felt in the lead group, holding firm when necessary.

The lead three puled away in the final corners to battle it out in the run to the line, with the Japanese rider having enough power on the finish straight to hold position for victory.

Toba is also the first Japanese winner in the lightweight class since Tomoyoshi Koyama won the Catalunya 125cc race back in 2007.

He was joined on the podium by Lorenzo Dalla Porta, who had managed a rehersal slipstream to the front on virtually every lap except the one which mattered after leading the start of his final trip around the circuit for Leopard. The Italian was a tiny +0.053s short of the win.

Aron Canet prevented an all Honda podium by claiming third on his KTM. A presence throughout, he did not quite have enough power to compete in a straight line but claims the first points for Max Biaggi’s Sterilgarda Max Racing Team and his first ever points from a pole start, ending a run of bad luck from the front of the grid.

The chasing group were lead over the line by Marcos Ramirez on the second Leopard entry, cementing a great day for the team. The Spaniard’s ride was all the more impressive given his 20th place start on the grid after not getting out of Q1.

COTA MotoGP #2 - Last time in the saddle at COTA

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Celestino Vietti was the best of the rookies in an impressive fifth for Sky Racing Team VR46, remaing in with a shout of the podium until the closing stages of the race on his full-time debut after showing promise when he hit the podium as a wildcard in Austraila last season.

Albert Arenas (Samar Qatar Angel Nieto Team) was next to see the chequered flag in sixth, just ahead of his team-mate, second best rookie Raul Fernandez in seventh.

Eighth went to Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) who also briefly lead, indicating how competitive the race was.

Romano Fenati crossed the line ninth after a strange ending to his race - cautious after previous events, he took the warning over his wide line for breaching track limits as a penalty and headed down the 'penalty lane' at turn six without needing to.

The Snipers Team rider lost 1.4 seconds and returned to track in thirteenth when running in the top three, but said his bike was perfect and with the lesson learned is positive for the rest of the season.

Jakub Kornfeil on a differing soft front and and rear combination of tyres saw his gamble pay off as he claimed the final spot inside the top ten for Redoox PruestelGP.

Ai Oguru (Honda Team Asia) made late gains to climb to eleventh, Alonso Lopez was his final victim, forced to settle for twelfth for Estrella Galicia 0,0.

John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) faded to thirteenth in the final laps, citing a technical problem after the race.

The remaining points on offer went to Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai) in 14th and Gresini’s Gabriel Rodrigo, who only had his broken collarbone plated days ago, in 15th.

The back-to-back race win was not to be on his debut as a permanent Grand Prix rider for Can Oncu, who was a solid 18th for Red Bull KTM Ajo.

The race lost four riders on the first lap - Tom Booth-Amos, Ayumu Sasaki, Makar Yurchenko and the injury carrying Jaume Masia. Booth-Amos clipped Masia and the rest got caught up in the crash. The Brit remounted and finished 24th.

Darryn Binder slipped out of contention at turn thirteen one lap later, with a three rider pile-up later in the race containing Tatsuki Suzuki, Kazuki Masaki and Dennis Foggia leaving them out of action with 14 laps left to run. There were no futher fallers.

 

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