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Sterilgarda Max Racing Team’s Aron Canet conquered COTA after breaking clear on the final lap in Austin to take his first victory of the Moto3™ World Championship at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas and as a result, move into the joint lead of the World Championship.
The eventual race winner had to come through from the second row of the grid but it was the reigning Junior World Champion Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) who took the holeshot to lead a Grand Prix for the first time in his career.
The young Spaniard’s lead didn’t last long though, with Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and then Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) sneaking through on the opening lap. CIP Green Power’s Darryn Binder was also in the podium hunt but two huge moments, the second at Turn 6, saw him drop backwards.
The South African’s near misses on lap 6 held up the pack behind and it allowed SIC58 Squarda Corse’s Tatsuki Suzuki, who hit the front a lap prior, to escape at the front. The Japanese rider, chasing a debut win, had three quarters of a second advantage over Canet, who himself had quietly moved through to second.
Eventually, with six laps now remaining and Suzuki still out front, Canet’s comfort buffer over third place was reduced to nothing thanks to Bester Capital Dubai’s Andrea Migno helping Rodrigo to catch the KTM rider in second.
Migno wasted no time in making a move, diving under the inside of Canet at Turn 19 to take second and then setting his sights on Suzuki at the front of the race. As they crossed the line, with five laps left, he was 0.772 seconds behind Suzuki and applying some serious pressure. Then, Suzuki asked too much from the front end of his Honda as he flicked it right into Turn 7 and crashed out of the lead.
Migno had the lead but his teammate Jaume Masia, who had come through from 17th in the early laps, set his best lap of the race to get onto the rear of Rodrigo in third place and get in the hunt for a podium. Two to go and Canet made his move for the win, taking the lead into Turn 1 before Rodrigo then followed suit, taking third at the same corner. The Argentine hit second moments later at Turn 11 as Migno slipped backwards.
As we entered the last lap, Canet pulled the pin at the front by setting the fastest first sector of the race to buy himself some breathing space. The duel for second and third kicked into life down the back straight with Rodrigo, Migno, Masia and Antonelli all scrapping it out before the Argentina race winner Masia emerged at the front and held on to take second, behind Canet who took the chequered flag 0.9 seconds clear of anyone else.
The Spanish duo now share a lead at the top of the Moto3™ World Championship on 45 points after Honda Team Asia’s Kaito Toba, who sat at the top of the standings before the race, crashed out, unhurt, at Turn 18.
It was double success for the Bester Capital Dubai squad after Migno held off a late lunge from Rodrigo to clinch the final podium spot, with pole man Niccolo Antonelli having to settle for fifth despite being a tenth behind second.
VNE Snipers’ Tony Arbolino came across the line in sixth to salvage some points for his team after teammate Romano Fenati crashed out at Turn 18 mid-race, taking Redox PruestelGP’s Jakub Kornfeil with him. Early race leader Fernandez finished seventh after getting the better of Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) on the last lap.
Rounding out the top ten were the Sky Racing Team VR46 duo of Celestino Vietti and Dennis Foggia. Compatriot Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) had a frustrating afternoon finishing 13th, but the three points he collected were enough to see him hold third place in the standings as we head to Europe and Jerez in three weeks’ time.
Moto3™ top ten:
1. Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)
2. Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) + 0.909
3. Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai) + 1.077
4. Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) + 1.104
5. Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 1.187
6. Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) + 1.322
7. Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) + 1.418
8. Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) + 1.596
9. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 1.735
10. Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 7.876
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