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In the early stages of the season the Honda bikes were dominant, but in the hands of Oliveira and a few others KTM have fought back.
Moto3™ was yet another tooth and claw battle at the Motul TT Assen as a mix of both Honda and KTM machines fought for victory. It was Miguel Oliveira (KTM Red Bull Ajo) who eventually came out on top as elbows were raised into the last chicane. This is the second victory for the KTM rider this season and the Austrian make’s third win this year. The first three races saw eight out of nine podium spots filled with Honda machines, with Isaac Viñales (Husqvarna Factory Laglisse) denying them 9 out of 9 by placing third in Argentina. This had many worried Honda would continue to dominate all season.
Off season tests for the Moto3™ were ruined by rain, this initially caused more issues for KTM than Honda. The KTM riders struggled to find a base setting for their machines which were heavily modified compared to their 2014 counterparts. The Honda on the other hand seemed to provide a better base that a wider variety of riders are able to use. The Honda bike seem to remain a more rookie friendly machine with both Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders Jorge Navarro and Fabio Quartararo securing multiple front rows and the latter taking his second podium today: “The last lap was really difficult but the race was really slow because I was thinking I’d be fourth with 1’42 lows and 1’41 highs but I’m happy to make the podium. I wanted the win here but it will happen in the next races. Thanks to my team.”
The six podium finishes that KTM have earned so far this season have come at the hands of three riders; Oliveira, Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Brad Binder (KTM Red Bull Ajo) with Fenati and Oliveira the only two riders to claim victory. It is also these same three riders that are the ones usually fighting for the podium in the races.
Meanwhile, Honda have claimed a total of 16 podium finishes with five different riders taking to the rostrum at various points. However, after the initial races the mix of riders fighting for podiums on Hondas has decreased, the likes of Alexis Masbou (SAXOPRINT0RTG) and Efren Vazquez (Leopard Racing) struggling in recent rounds. This suggests that the gap between Honda and KTM, especially amongst the top riders, has closed and the two makes are on even footing with the riders now making the most difference.
It is not easy for riders on either make of bike in Moto3™ due to hectic and highly tactical nature of the class. With bikes so even strategy is key as Oliveira demonstrated during the Assen race: “Well the strategy was not to come in first, I tried to lead for many laps but I was always overtaken near the end. I thought I’d only get second, but I managed to position myself well on the last lap to overtake and I was lucky not to crash in the final chicane while defending my line!”
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