Results and summary of the Moto3 race:
Alexis Masbou has converted his pole position into victory at the first race of the year. The season opener turned into a typical Moto3 slugfest, with a group of 18 riders battling for the lead for most of the race, from which the Frenchman snatched victory in the final meters of the race.
The combination of a closely matched field and Qatar's long straight meant that the field stuck together, the slipstreaming down the straight allowing groups to catch the front runners whenever they formed. At the front of the leading group, the same names kept cropping up: Danny Kent and Efren Vazquez from the Leopard Racing team, Alexis Masbou from Saxoprint RTG, the two Italian riders, Enea Bastianini and Pecco Bagnaia, while the two Estrella Galicia youngsters, Fabio Quartararo and Jorge Navarro were in the mix as well.
Kent tried to break the group a number of times, by taking the lead and pushing into the 2'06s, but each time he would be caught along the straight. Whenever Bagnaia or Bastianini took over, they would get involved in individual dogfights, holding up the group and allowing its numbers to swell again.
On the penultimate lap, Quartararo took over at the front, the French rookie showing astonishing speed on his debut, but he was caught and passed by Efren Vazquez over the line. Vazquez collected a small group behind him, consisting of Kent, Masbou, Bastianini, Bagnaia, Quartararo and Navarro, but a mistake by Quartararo took him and Bagnaia out of the equation.
Bastianini took over the lead, and looked like holding on to it to the line, but Masbou got the run out of the final corner and used the Italian's draft to just slip past him at the line. Bastianini had to settle for second, while Danny Kent ended the race in third.
|5||Romano FENATI||KTM||1 Lap|
|11||Livio LOI||Honda||8 Laps|
|76||Hiroki ONO||Honda||10 Laps|
|2||Remy GARDNER||Mahindra||10 Laps|
|31||Niklas AJO||KTM||17 Laps|