2016 Qatar Moto3 Race Result: Classic Drafting Battle Decides Victory

Results and summary of the Moto3 race at Qatar:

Niccolo Antonelli has won the first race of the 2016 season, just pulling out of the slipstream of Brad Binder to steal victory by just seven thousandths of a second.

The race quickly turned into a typical Moto3 shootout, a small group of riders getting away in the early laps. That group included Antonelli, Binder, Romano Fenati, Jorge Navarro and Pecco Bagnaia. Livio Loi had been with the group at the start, but overshot the first corner and lost ground, forced to regroup and start chasing the leaders. He was helped by Sky Racing's Nicolo Bulega, the 16-year-old making up ground and catching the leading group to make it six, Loi hanging off the back of the leaders to hold seventh place for most of the race. He was later joined by Enea Bastianini, the Italian making a strong charge in the second half of the race to catch the leaders.

For the first three quarters of the race, it looked like being a contest between Brad Binder and Romano Fenati. Though there was nothing to separate the group, and much swapping of the lead as they all pounced out of the slipstream down Qatar's eternal front straight, it was Binder and Fenati who seemed to have control. As they entered the last few laps, Binder started testing his strategy out of the last corner, first trying to attack out of the slipstream, then trying to lead from the front. The latter approach was working best for him, so he settled on that plan for the final lap.

That final lap was as hectic as you would expect, with riders battling for position. Romano Fenati got bumped out of position, then got tangled up with is teammate Bulega, both losing ground to the front trio. It came down to the final corner, and the drive onto the front straight. Binder held the lead almost all the way to the line, losing out by just seven thousandths of a second to Antonelli, who pulled out of the draft at exactly the right moment. Pecco Bagnaia held on to take third, putting the Mahindra on the podium, making it three different manufacturers.

The win caps off a tough week for Antonelli. He arrived in Qatar suffering from a heavy fever, then crashed during practice and cracked a collarbone. He recovered just enough to be able to focus for the entire race, rewarded for his persistence with victory.

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 23 Niccolò ANTONELLI Honda 38'12.161
2 41 Brad BINDER KTM 0.007
3 21 Francesco BAGNAIA Mahindra 0.148
4 5 Romano FENATI KTM 0.435
5 33 Enea BASTIANINI Honda 0.606
6 8 Nicolo BULEGA KTM 0.625
7 9 Jorge NAVARRO Honda 0.674
8 11 Livio LOI Honda 1.71
9 65 Philipp OETTL KTM 8.611
10 84 Jakub KORNFEIL Honda 10.947
11 95 Jules DANILO Honda 12.379
12 36 Joan MIR KTM 12.38
13 20 Fabio QUARTARARO KTM 12.401
14 64 Bo BENDSNEYDER KTM 12.726
15 44 Aron CANET Honda 12.784
16 6 Maria HERRERA KTM 12.939
17 16 Andrea MIGNO KTM 17.152
18 76 Hiroki ONO Honda 17.367
19 19 Gabriel RODRIGO KTM 17.451
20 7 Adam NORRODIN Honda 17.519
21 55 Andrea LOCATELLI KTM 17.566
22 89 Khairul Idham PAWI Honda 17.608
23 40 Darryn BINDER Mahindra 31.939
24 10 Alexis MASBOU Peugeot 31.949
25 58 Juanfran GUEVARA KTM 32.12
26 4 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO Honda 32.333
27 17 John MCPHEE Peugeot 32.547
28 24 Tatsuki SUZUKI Mahindra 32.812
29 43 Stefano VALTULINI Mahindra 34.584
30 98 Karel HANIKA Mahindra 59.105
31 77 Lorenzo PETRARCA Mahindra 59.109
32 3 Fabio SPIRANELLI Mahindra +1'34.948
Not Classified
  88 Jorge MARTIN Mahindra 1 Lap


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i must say that the performance of Peco Bagnaia is beying very much underappreciated. For those who may be unaware of it, the kid is riding a Mahindra.