#SPANISHGP – MOTO3: Ortola takes two from two in intense last-lap scrap
Moto3™ returned to Europe in spectacular fashion as the lights went out on the Gran Premio MotoGP™ Guru by Gryfyn de España, opening Sunday’s billing with incredible last-lap action. Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) meant business as the Spaniard put on an impressive display with incredible racecraft seeing him come out on top of a nine-rider battle for glory at the Circuito de Jerez Angel Nieto, putting the MTA man right into Championship contention as he jumps to 3rd in the standings just nine points off Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo) who regained the top spot. Ortola wasn’t the only one making headlines as David Alonso (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar M3) held his own against the big guns to take his first Grand Prix podium in his rookie season. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) led the way at the end of the race and after being bullied down out of a podium spot, salvaged 3rd place in the final sector.
Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took the holeshot off the line and fended off attacks from an eager-starting from Ivan Ortola. It was a good start to the Grand Prix for Ryusei Yamanaka (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar M3) who pushed his way into 3rd place just behind Holgado in 2nd. Ortola then took full advantage of a door left open by Yamanaka, and soon after muscled his way past Öncü to slot in behind Holgado who had taken the lead.
The front two began to break away at the front as Holgado put the hammer down with Ortola glued to his rear wheel as the Spaniard had over half a second to Öncü behind. Conscious of the leading duo running away from the pack, Jaume Masia had fought his way to fourth and was desperate to get past the Öncü, pulling a spectacular move at the incredibly fast turn 11.
Determined to take victory on home soil it only took the Leopard Racing man one lap to reel in his compatriots out front, pulling Yamanaka with him to make it a four-bike battle for the win. Wasting no time on his arrival to the leading group, Yamanaka picked off Masia and Ortola ahead to slot himself into P2 before being forced to retire from the Grand Prix with technical issues just half a lap later.
The group out the front had become a six-bike battle for victory as Xavier Artigas (CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP) had brought the two rookies of David Alonso and Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) into the mix. With 12 laps to go, the race began to settle out the front as the calm before the storm creeped in giving the riders the perfect opportunity to strategise their plan ahead of the fight set to explode in the closing stages of the race. Masia decided it was his turn to lead his home Grand Prix with six laps of the race remaining as the Spaniard demoted his compatriot Holgado to 2nd place, with the rest of the group banging bars behind.
Just as fans thought the leading group had been decided Deniz Öncü, who was leading the battle for 7th, began to put down a scintillating pace in an attempt to bring the two Japanese riders of Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) and Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) with him to the podium fight. It wasn’t long before Sasaki decided he wanted to lead the charge to the battle for victory and took his turn at the front of the second group.
Sasaki got the job done and all of a sudden there was a nine-rider battle for Spanish Grand Prix victory. The race was on with three and a half laps remaining of the race. Ortola hit the front briefly but Masia snatched the lead back as it was Leopard man who led from Ortola and Holgado, with Sasaki carving his way through the group. The order continued to change from corner to corner with Masia leading over the line as the last lap got underway with Alonso in 2nd, Ortola 3rd, Sasaki 4th, and Holgado 5th.
It was crunch time in Moto3™ and fans knew it was going to be last-lap drama, with Masia dropping from the lead to 4th place in the course of two corners as the group barrelled into the final sector. Ortola led Alonso into the final corner after an incredible move on the last lap, and it was the very same Ortola who took back-to-back wins for the MTA Team.
Alonso brought home his first Grand Prix podium as Masia snapped back at Sasaki to take the final podium spot with the Japanese rider consolidating precious points in P4. Rueda rounded out the top 5 after an impressive display on home soil with Holgado dropping down to 6th place on the final lap.
1. Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team)
2. David Alonso (GASGAS Aspar Team) +0.034
3. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) +0.215
4. Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) +0.422
5. Jose Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +0.549
6. Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) +0.640
7. Xavier Artigas (CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP) +0.738
8. Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) +1.991
9. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +3.862
10. Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) + 4.397
“It could have been a victory, but I’m super happy with this third position. I had Jerez marked on the calendar as one of the tracks where we were going to struggle, and look how it went! I want to dedicate this podium to my team, for every moment, every little detail and their hard work. It wouldn’t be possible without them”
Jaum Masia P3
“The result is different from what I expected. I couldn’t ride the bike as I had wanted since the beginning, but we will solve the problem. I apologize to the team; I couldn’t make a good race like in the Americas. We will maintain the motivation to recover from this situation at Le Mans.”
Mario Suryo Aji P19
“The race was amazing. I was comfortable with the bike, with the pace and I felt ready to fight for the podium. I had everything to do it, but unfortunately, I had to go into the pit box to repair the bike. I’m sad about it, but these are things that can happen in this sport. Nevertheless, I’m happy because we were fast. We will come back stronger at Le Mans.”
Ryusei Yamanaka P25
“This time too the problem was qualifying. When you start 20th you struggle to recover. Too bad because the rhythm was there.”
Riccardo Rossi NC
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