‘Great pleasure and relief’ – Masbou on first win

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Having debuted in the World Championship as a 125cc rider in 2003, Alexis Masbou was a popular first-time Grand Prix winner at Brno in the Czech Republic on Sunday.

Having qualified seventh quickest and following on from his first podium finish of the season in Germany five weeks earlier, Masbou survived what was a 16-rider battle for victory at the historic Brno venue. The critical move came when the Frenchman overhauled championship leader Jack Miller for the lead at the penultimate corner.

The victory arrived following an arguably even more impressive performance at Indianapolis just one week earlier, when Masbou had charged through to the front of the race from running at the back of the field following a first-lap incident.

“I was very disappointed to have finished fourth in a race like that,” he told motogp.com of Indianapolis, having now contested his 133rd career Grand Prix at Brno. “But that is part of the difficulties of Moto3™. There are always many riders in contention and it is very difficult to win. So to finally win now is a great pleasure. I’ve been chasing it for long enough! Especially since Moto3™ started (in 2012).

“I’ve been close to victory on several occasions over recent weeks, very close to finally achieving it. It was also a great relief to get up onto the top step of the podium and to listen to the French national anthem playing out.”

This time, the Ongetta-Rivacold rider was recovering from a mistake two laps before the chequered flag came out.

“I was running up at the front for the whole race and really hoped to finish on the podium,” he continued. “I made a small error on the penultimate lap which dropped me to tenth position. It was then that I realised just how many people were behind us!”

In fact, the pack was so tightly bunched that it became the closest ever top 15 to finish a race in World Championship history, with just 1.838 seconds covering Masbou and 15th place finisher Karel Hanika, who collected the final point in his home Grand Prix.

Masbou’s win made him the first World Championship Grand Prix winner from France since Louis Rossi won the 2012 Moto3™ French Grand Prix at Le Mans. On top of this, Masbou now achieves a new record of number of race starts prior to winning for the first time in the lightweight class: winning for the first time in his 133rd race start takes that particular record away from Sandro Cortese, whose first win came in his 109th Grand Prix start – ironically, also at the Brno circuit, in 2011.

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