Acosta vs Garcia: is Austria set for a replay in Moto3™?

Sunday was a stunner. But the two were well matched before race day rolled round…

The Moto3™ race at the Styrian GP was an all-time great. Tricky conditions, a little tyre intrigue, and the top two in the Championship leaving the field in the dust for their own duel made for an electrifying contest – and a final lap and corner that will become legendary in the lightweight class. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Sergio Garcia (Santander Consumer Bank GASGAS Aspar) were in a league of their own on Sunday, and now we’re going to do it all again. Can they?

The first thing we learned from the Styrian GP is that Acosta only continues to deserve his hype. He didn’t need to win, but he put it on the line to do just that – and pulled it off. A few points would have been fine for the rider now 53 points clear at the top of the standings, but Pedro Acosta doesn’t really race for a few points. He also showed he’s still a master of the Red Bull Ring as the stakes rose from five Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup wins in a row to his first Moto3™ appearance at the track. So heading into the Austrian GP, there’s a clear favourite at the top – and that gap is even bigger.

The second thing we learned, however, is that Garcia will also put it on the line… and the stakes for the Aspar rider were arguably even higher than those for Acosta. His lunge down the inside, squarely underlining a belief in rubbing sometimes very much being racing, was a statement in itself – even if it didn’t ultimately secure him the win. If he hadn’t remounted and managed to hold onto second, he could have ended up taking himself out of real contention for the crown, and he was still willing to go for it. Looking ahead to the Austrian GP, there’s no reason to expect him to turn down the chance on take two. And he and Acosta were already firm favourites in Free Practice in the dry…

A few more fast faces made a good mark in der Steiermark too though. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) was back on the box, already has winning form there and went for a late move, also completing the PR dream to make it a KTM, GASGAS, Husqvarna podium. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was back in a frontrunning postcode after a tougher rollercoaster so far, and Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) returned from injury to get straight back into the top five, as ever aiming for more next time out.

Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing), meanwhile, somehow outpaced everyone else on slicks by the kind of margin that would normally contain the entirety of the points scorers… and took a top six. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) deserves a shoutout too for his pole position – the first for Turkey – and then taking the gamble, which on another day may have proven a masterstroke. But that’s racing, and that’s what we’re returning to the Red Bull Ring to do this weekend.

Acosta remains the man to beat, but Garcia already showed he’s willing to put a lot on the line to try and do just that. What awaits in the Bitci Motorrand Grand Prix von Österreich? If it’s anything like last weekend, we’re in for a treat! The lights go out for Moto3™ at 11:00 (GMT +2).

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