2021 KTM GP Academy, Round 01 of 19, Losail (Qatar) – Race
The Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar was the stage for an emphatic showing by the Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 team as Jaume Masia triumphed around a sweeping, quick but also dirty Losail International Circuit with high winds causing further problems. Sixteen-year-old rookie Moto3 teammate Pedro Acosta grabbed a career defining debut result with 2nd place. Remy Gardner scores 2nd spot in the Moto2™ race.
-Masia wins in his first race with the Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM RC4
-Acosta shines on rookie appearance to finish 2nd
-Gardner earns first silverware on Moto2 Red Bull KTM Ajo debut
The first race day of the season saw the Moto3 pack swapping paint and positions in typical style. For almost twenty laps a chaotic and exciting contest took place that featured the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders Jaume Masia (the highest qualifier on the KTM RC4 after setting off from 5th on the grid) and Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champion Pedro Acosta and Red Bull KTM Tech3 pair Ayumu Sasaki and Deniz Öncü.
At one stage Masia, Acosta and Sasaki all headed the fifteen-strong gaggle for a Red Bull KTM 1-2-3. Masia proved to have the experience and the racecraft to lead the final circulation and secure his first race win for the Ajo squad by just four hundredths of a second ahead of the excellent Acosta. Masia earned the fourth victory of his career and made his eighth podium appearance. Acosta climbed the second step of the rostrum in his maiden world championship appearance. Sasaki was in contention for a trophy but lost control entering Turn2 on the final lap and crashed. Öncü placed 20th after he also fell on the opening lap.
Jaume Masia: “This was incredible, and I feel like we deserve it because we worked so much in tests. It was difficult to control the race and there was a lot of wind but I felt strong and it was easy to keep in the group. At the front it was more difficult! The plan was to do the last lap in the lead and we managed it.”
Pedro Acosta: “A fantastic race for me. Last year I was in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, and also the CEV. I didn’t have many opportunities, so I want to thank every single person that supported me to reach this position where I am now.”
Red Bull KTM Ajo opened the Grand Prix with a brand-new line-up and Moto2 rookie Raul Fernandez caught the eye by qualifying in 2nd position on Saturday. He was three tenths of a second ahead of teammate Remy Gardner who was in the middle of the second row.
Fernandez made the most of his Dunlop tire grip to jostle for a surprise podium place until the last five laps when he drifted back to a creditable 5th. Gardner recovered from an eratic start to move up to the runner-up position and then tried to pressurize the rear wheel of Sam Lowes. The Australian eventually banked a comfortable 20 points in P2.
Remy Gardner: “I had a bit of a dodgy start. I got swallowed! It might have been the full fuel tank. As soon as I got going, I was ‘on it’ I could see Sam getting away and I made a few mistakes passing riders with the wind. I was surprised by the pace at the end and found it difficult to keep concentration with the conditions. I’m happy to start the year this way and these are important points.”
MotoGP will gather again for round two of 2021 in a few days time and repeat the chase around the Losail International Circuit but for the Tissot Grand Prix of Doha on Sunday April 4th.
Results Moto3 Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar 2021
1. Jaume Masia (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo 38:29.620
2. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.042
3. Darryn Binder (RSA) Honda +0.094
20. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +41.283
DNF. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Red Bull KTM Tech3
Results Moto2 Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar 2021
1. Sam Lowes (GBR) 40:03.123
2. Remy Gardner (AUS) Red Bull KTM Ajo +2.260
3. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA) +1.609 +5.228
5. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +6.145