Bike Racing

Moto3: Garcia Takes a Sensational Win in Close Finish Battle

Feature Image Credit: Sergio Garcia

A shocking final lap, last minute crashes and penalties. One of the most action packed and surprising race of 2021- a true Moto3 classic.

The Sunday morning ride in the sun starts off with the Junior class battling it out. Pedro Acosta leads the championship by 52 points followed by Jaume Masia.

Our top three in the grid is Gabriel Rodrigo, Jeremy Alcoba and Niccolo Antonelli.

Riccardo Rossi crashes on the warm up lap, the Italian having an absolutely nightmare to start this Catalunya GP. He will not end up rejoining the team.

Rodrigo gets off the line well, Niccolo Antonelli pushing his bike to try and keep up. Rodrigo has had great race pace all weekend and his plan was executed to perfection: get to the front. Now, all he has to do is stay there.

The slipstream of the start/finish straight makes it difficult as Rodrigo loses four grid positions to Izan Guevara, Darryn Binder, Antonelli and John McPhee. It doesn’t take long for last years race winner, Binder, to take the lead. McPhee follows along, overtaking Guevara as the top positions are stained in Petronas SRT.

Per usual to Moto3, it changes in the start/finish straight.

16 Laps To Go

With McPhee leading the race, it shows excellent skill and forethought from the British rider. For the free practice sessions and qualifying session, he chose to take laps on his own. There was no depending on other riders for speed in the straights. That way, he could have fast race pace on his own. Being the longest race leader in Catalunya so far, it is definitely paying off.

Our championship leader, Pedro Acosta, is down in 13th place. There isn’t too much to worry about with his championship lead of 52 points ahead of teammate Jaume Masia. Masia is in 8th place, which would make the championship lead smaller between the two. Ayuma Sasaki, though, would take 2nd place in the world championship

With 12 laps to go, McPhee highsides right before a turn from the lead. With the placement of the crash, the bike kept going and ended up swiping across the track, taking out Andrea Migno and Tatsuki Suzuki. The Petronas SRT rider, who was having a great race, was now out.

10 Laps To Go

In a surprising turn of events, Romano Fenati and Deniz Oncu take the race lead, trading 1st position until the KTM rider maintains the lead. Oncu is a definite wildcard in the race, always being unpredictable and willing to throw the kitchen sink into the race. We’ve seen it a couple of times this season, but they usual end in crashes. Can he resist the temptation?

Our championship leader Acosta, who started the race from 25th on the grid, now maintains a spot within the top three. It’s almost impossible to understand how he does it. Once again, it’s hard to believe he’s a rookie.

The leading group is changing all the time, the KTM team holding the lead within one lap, followed by the Indonesian Gresini team with the occasional Aspar Team rider taking the lead. It’s a huge group that is leading the grand prix, which isn’t abnormal for Moto3, and makes for some excellent racing.

With 5 laps to go, Rodrigo leads the race with Binder and Acosta battling it out for 2nd. The ultimate goal is to win the race, but they have to get through each other. The top 10 riders are only split by a sixth of a second. At this point, it can be anyone’s race.

Last Lap

Most of the riders are completely packed together into the first corner. Masia leads the race for the first time, followed by the Aspar team riders and our pole man Rodrigp. Guevara goes down while trying to take the lead in a dramatic exit, Garcia taking the lead from Alcoba.

He makes it stick!

Somethings happened in the race.

As the riders crossed the finish line, the red flag came out. Three riders were missing from the finish line, but nothing serious seems to have gone wrong. Sasaki highsided and took out both Leopard Racing riders.

Just to add more drama onto the dramatic ending, Masia gets demoted a position from 3rd for exceeding track limits, so he is no longer on the podium.

Our established podium is Sergio Garcia for the win with Alcoba and Oncu following.

While the entire race was absolutely incredible, it’s important to mention the tactic that Alcoba was using through the race. When he would get to the end of a lap and was in the lead, he would intentionally sit up and lose positions so he did not lead over the straight. We all know that crossing the start/finish line during a Moto3 race always brings everyone together. That means, quite literally anyone can take the lead. The issue is that the leader usually gets swallowed up in the field, so he actually gives himself a better chance of retaking the lead by losing it before the straight.

While this may be something that many riders do, it stood out even more so because Alcoba is aware of how difficult it can be being a taller rider. He is not only showing self-awareness, but also knows how to use the bike and grid to get what he wants. It ended up paying off, as he did end up in 2nd. I’m curious to see if the tactics will continue and if other riders will join in on them.

So- what comes next? Our next stop is Germany, where the left hand turns rule the track and rain usually makes an appearance.

Tune in on the 19th of June.

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