Jorge Martin continued where he left off last season by winning the opening Moto3 race of the season in Qatar.
He narrowly beat compatriot Aron Canet by 0.023s into second place. Italian Lorenzo Dalla Porta finished a further 6.723s behind Canet in third.
Jorge Martin had qualified in second place on the grid, and trailed pole sitter Niccolo Antonelli going into turn one. He would not be held back and soon opened up a gap of over half a second ahead of the field. It looked like he would ride off into the distance at this point, however he was soon caught by Canet and Enea Bastianini.
Bastianini’s challenge would end on lap six as he crashed out of second place. This left Canet and Martin to pull ahead of the field and open up a commanding lead rarely seen in Moto3.
The two spaniards showed great race craft to open a lead over the rest of the field over the remaining laps. The lead swapped several times between the two however it was Martin who won the drag race to the line to claim his second victory in a row.
Debut podium for Dalla Porta
Behind the front two, a huge battle for third place ensued throughout the race. Nine riders were in a group fighting for the final podium place with the usual Moto3 swapping taking place.
Involved in the battle were Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Niccolo Antonelli, Gabriel Rodrigo, John McPhee amongst others. McPhee would crash out on the final lap and it was Dalla Porta who crossed the line ahead of Antonelli and Rodrigo to claim his debut podium finish.
Speaking after the race, Martin said:
It’s been a difficult day, which started this morning with a crash. I got a good start to the race and I pushed hard in the first ten laps, but when it was only between Canet and I, I chose to save the tyres for the end of the race. I realised I was a little faster than him at the penultimate corner, so I made the most of it in the final lap. It was very important to win the first race, because it’s a confidence boost; now I hope to be battling for the win in the next races as well.