Holgado resists Rueda after a duel in Portugal

The Spaniard wins in style ahead of Rueda and Ortola after a competitive Moto3™ race

Daniel Holgado (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) holds on to win the Portuguese GP after a nail-biting duel on the last lap. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jose Antonio Rueda led convincingly in the early stages but would miss out by 0.044, finishing in second position. Joining them on the podium, was Ivan Ortola (MT Helmets – MSI) who impressed the field after a smart ride to stand on the podium.

As the lights went out Rueda claimed the holeshot after a cracking start from pole position. Rueda pushed in on the opening lap, immediately building a small gap from Holgado and CFMOTO Gaviota Aspar Team’s David Alonso.

Angel Piqueras (Leopard Racing) and Ryusei Yamanaka (MT Helmets – MSI) both crashed on the opening lap of the race, after Yamanaka lost the front at the tricky turn nine – collecting the reigning JuniorGP Champion.

Slipstream was vital, allowing the lead group to catch Rueda and begin a tense battle as 10 riders fought in the lead group. Inside the front group was MT – Helmets – MSI’s Ivan Ortola who had a thrilling run from ninth to fourth place, setting his sights on the victory.

Luca Lunetta (SIC58 Squadra Corse) highsided at turn five, in a similar crash to qualifying. Lunetta was not the last victim of turn five with Riccardo Rossi (CIP Green Power) crashing towards the end of the race.

Alonso (Championship leader) began to carve his way through the field, passing both Ortola and Holgado and lap six of the race. The Columbian was on a mission to win two races on the bounce – setting the fastest lap in the process. However, Holgado responded, fighting back at turn three in a nail-biting move.

Matteo Bertelle (Rivacold Snipers Team) was the top Honda in the early stages, battling with Joel Esteban (CFMOTO Gaviota Aspar Team), just out of touch with the lead group.

Alonso made the first mistake in the front group, saving a crash at turn three and dropping down to fifth place. This led to a remarkable lap as the 17-year-old carved through the group back to second place.

As the race hit the mid-way mark nobody could find a way to match Rueda’s speed in the final sector. This was until lap 10 when Alonso hit the front for the first time this race, creating an explosion in the front group.

Collin Veijer (Liquid Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) and Joel Kelso (BOE Motorsports) now began to get involved in the battle – with the Dutchman attempting to make a magical move around the outside of Rueda.

Holgado was the next rider to hit the front of the race, now leading the train of talent behind. Gloves were off in the final stage of the race with positions shuffling at every corner and the lead battle coming down to a duel. Holgado led Rueda with the two riders able to bridge a gap to Ortola on the final lap of the race.

Rueda did everything he could, showing his front wheel on the entry to the final corner, however, as the chequered flag waited it was Holgado who would cross the line first to win the opening race of the day in Portugal. Rueda was just 0.044 behind in a heartbreaking defeat, as Ortola held onto third after a heroic ride from seventh on the grid.

Alonso was fourth after battling with Kelso on the final lap, losing time in the late stages of the race. Kelso did round out the top five ahead of Veijer (finishing in sixth) who now flies to fourth in the Championship standings. Nepa finished seventh after a race-long battle with Joel Esteban, meanwhile, David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) had a battle with Leopard Racing’s Adrian Fernandez with Muñoz getting the better of Fernandez who rounded out the top 10.

Jacob Roulstone made it points for both Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 machines, finishing in 11th ahead of Bertelle in 12th. Tatsuki Suzuki continued to gain pace on the Liquid Moly Husqvarna Intact GP bike – ending the race in 13th. Vicente Perez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and MLav Racing’s Scott Ogden scored the final points of the race.

Top 10:

1 Daniel Holgado (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3)  
2 Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +0.044
3 Ivan Ortola (MT Helmets - MSI) +0.820
4 David Alonso (CFMOTO Gaviota Aspar Team) +2.218
5 Joel Kelso (BOE Motorsports)  +2.246
6 Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) +2.263
7 Stefano Nepa (LEVELUP – MTA) +4.499
8 Joel Esteban (CFMOTO Gaviota Aspar Team)  +5.430
9 David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) +16.018
10 Adrian Fernandez (Leopard Racing)  +16.143