Andrea Migno Wins Moto3 Thriller In Qatar
For the first time since the 2017 Italian Grand Prix, Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) will stand on the top step of the podium after winning the Moto3™ race at the Grand Prix of Qatar. The Italian beat Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) by just 0.037s after runaway race leader Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) suffered an issue with his fairing on Lap 11, with Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) fending off Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) for the final rostrum spot.
Heartache for Sasaki sees victory fight go to the wire
Polesitter Sasaki got a wonderful getaway as the lights went out for 2022. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Migno were inside the top three early on, as Garcia collided with Carlos Tatay (CFMoto Racing PrüstelGP) – the latter crashing at Turn 7.
With 15 laps to go, Sasaki had stretched out a lead worth 1.1s. The Japanese rider was inch-perfect in the opening exchanges, as Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team), Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) and teammate Foggia completed their Long Lap penalties. Guevara was up to P12, Foggia was P23, as Suzuki then crashed at Turn 16 in an incident involving Lorenzo Fellon (SIC58 Squadra Corse) – Suzuki taking the Frenchman out.
Garcia was handed a Long Lap Penalty for his incident with Tatay, which shoved him down to P11, as Sasaki extended his lead to 1.4s. 10 riders were chasing, but the squabbling wasn’t helping anyone but race leader Sasaki. Toba, Migno, Öncü, and Masia were the quartet battling away at the front of the chasing pack, and as the clock ticked down to 10 to go, Sasaki held a 2.7s lead.
With nine to go, Guevara was P12 and Foggia P13. That was soon P11 and P12 as Masia crashed out unhurt at Turn 12 when Toba came flying up the inside – was there contact? Difficult to tell, but Masia’s race was over. Then, suddenly, Sasaki’s lead was diminishing. Rapidly. On Lap 11, Sasaki lost over two seconds as we then saw why. Sasaki’s fairing was loose after a near highside at Turn 6. From total control to losing the lead in a matter of minutes, Migno soon swept through.
It was game on then, for victory, with six laps to go. Foggia and Guevara were 10th and 11th and now had the lead group just up the road, but they were running out of laps. With three to go, Migno was still leading from Garcia, Toba, Öncü and John McPhee (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), with rookie Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) 0.5s away in P6.
None of the riders could get past Migno’s rapid Honda using the slipstream, so a different tactic was needed. Garcia showed a wheel at Turn 6 on the penultimate lap, but there was no way through. Last lap time. It was Migno leading Garcia, Toba and Öncü, McPhee had dropped 0.6s back. Garcia block passes Toba at Turn 6 for P2, but that allowed Migno to have a bit of breathing space.
It all came down to the last corner. Migno vs Garcia. The latter threatened with a move up the inside, but Migno closed the door. Then it was a run to the line. Garcia tried, but Migno held on to claim victory in Qatar. Garcia will be happy with P2 after his Long Lap Penalty, as Toba held off Öncü for the final podium spot. 0.5s covered the top four. Welcome back Moto3™.
Qatar’s point scorers – Foggia and Guevara earn top 10s
McPhee was only a second away from victory in P5 as he gets his season off to a good start with his new team. Moreira produced a superb ride to claim P6 in his first Moto3™ race, the Brazilian finished 0.4s ahead of the hard-charging Foggia. The Italian did all he could after a back of the grid start and two Long Laps, as did Guevera after his back of the grid start and one Long Lap. The Saturday hero ended the Qatar GP in P8.
Ryusei Yamanaka (MT Helmets – MSI) and Xavier Artigas (CFMoto Racing PrüstelGP) rounded out the top 10, just ahead of rookie Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team). Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse), Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team), Adrian Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and rookie Joel Kelso (CIP Green Power) were the final point scorers.
British rookie Scott Ogden (VisionTrack Racing Team) crashed out unhurt in the early stages.
Migno is crowned the first winner of 2022 in the lightweight class, five years after his Mugello triumph. Next up is a trip to Indonesia!
2022 Qatar Moto3 Top 10
1. Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team)
2. Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) + 0.037
3. Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) + 0.573
4. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) + 0.594
5. John McPhee (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 1.064
6. Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) + 1.481
7. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) + 1.951
8. Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) + 2.545
9. Ryusei Yamanaka (MT Helmets – MSI) + 2.742
10. Xavier Artigas (CFMoto Racing PrüstelGP) + 6.055