Rodrigo claims Moto3™ Virtual GP honours in Jerez

The Argentinian beat home heroes Arenas and Fernandez to win an eventful Red Bull Virtual Spanish Grand Prix lightweight class contest

It was a memorable day for Kömmerling Gresini Moto3’s Gabriel Rodrigo as the Argentinian rider made history by claiming victory at the Red Bull Virtual Spanish Grand Prix. The Honda man became the first-ever winner of a Moto3™ Virtual Race to head two Spaniards on the rostrum - second place going to Albert Arenas (Aspar Team Gaviota) for his second podium of the season, with Raul Fernandez taking P3 for Red Bull KTM Ajo.

Despite winning from pole position, the start couldn’t have got much worse for Rodrigo as he slipped to almost last off the line. And talking of bad starts, Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and Alonso Lopez (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) were down at Turn 1 as Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) took the baton to lead on Lap 1. However, unprecedented scenes then unfolded at Jorge Lorenzo corner as Foggia’s WIFI said goodbye, and with it, the Italian said addio to the race lead. Fernandez took over at the front, with Rodrigo clawing his way back through the pack to P2.

So, the chase for P1 was on. Fernandez was keeping Rodrigo behind him by just over a second, with Arenas roughly the same distance behind Rodrigo in third. But at the start of Lap 4, Rodrigo had reeled in Fernandez as the battle for the lead began. Would the polesitter pick off his KTM rival straight away? The answer for a couple of laps was no as Fernandez dealt with the increasing pressure well – but there was drama at Dani Pedrosa corner on Lap 6. Rodrigo got the run out of Turn 5 down the back straight and made a lunge for the lead up the inside, but contact was made and the race leader was down – Fernandez tasting the gravel trap as he rejoined just behind Arenas.

From there it was a comfortable last two laps for Rodrigo, the advantage over Arenas and Fernandez sitting at over four seconds. Further back there was an intense battle for fifth between Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team), Lopez and Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Lap 7 saw the latter duo clean each other out at Turn 11, allowing Arbolino to cruise through to P5. In the end though – although a tad controversially – Rodrigo was victorious at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto, with Arenas holding off Fernandez for P3. Öncü wasn’t too far off the podium in P4 as the leading quartet were split by 8.5 seconds, with Arbolino completing the top five in the first-ever Moto3™ Virtual Grand Prix race. 2019 Spanish GP winner Antonelli claimed P6 on his return to Jerez, with Lopez picking up P7 ahead of former teammate Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0). Riccardo Rossi (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy) finished over 40 seconds back to take P9, with the unfortunate Foggia unable to finish the race.

Race result:
1. Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3)
2. Albert Arenas (Aspar Team Gaviota) + 4.347
3. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 5.462
4. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) + 8.527
5. Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 22.723
6. Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 26.042
7. Alonso Lopez (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 29.766
8. Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) + 36.350
9. Riccardo Rossi (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy) - NC
10. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) – DNF

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