Doha Moto3: KTM's Acosta charges from pitlane to win

Moto3 rookie Pedro Acosta claimed his maiden victory in a chaotic Doha Grand Prix having started from pitlane, the Ajo KTM rider fending off Darryn Binder by 0.039 seconds.

Doha Moto3: KTM's Acosta charges from pitlane to win

Acosta, along with six other riders, were slapped with pitlane starts for irresponsible riding in FP2 on Friday – but the Ajo KTM rookie carved through from nine seconds off the rest of the pack on lap one to score one of the most sensational wins in grand prix history.

Binder grabbed the holeshot off the line from sixth on the grid, the Petronas Sprinta Honda rider one of only a handful to gamble on the soft rear tyre.

In typical Moto3 fashion, the slipstream effect down the Losail circuit’s main straight meant the lead changed hands constantly as Binder shared first with the likes of Tatsuki Suzuki, Andrea Migno, Filip Salac, Gabriel Rodrigo, Jeremy Alcoba and Kaito Toba.

The lead group didn’t shrink as the race entered its later stages, where chaos ensued.

Binder was squeezed out wide by his teammate John McPhee at Turn 1 on lap 11, dropping the South Africa to 14th, while Alcoba engaged with Tech 3’s Ayumu Sasaki for the lead.

Andrea Migno blasted his Snipers Honda to the head of the pack at the start of the following tour, while teammate Salac’s race came to an end following contact with with Sasaki at Turn 2 on the next lap.

Drama struck at Turn 1 at the start of lap 15 when Gresini’s Alcoba clattered into the rear of Binder and was thrown off his Honda, the bike smacking a helpless McPhee and taking him out of the race.

The incident and McPhee’s violent outburst in the gravel afterwards is currently under investigation.

Qatar GP winner Jaume Masia emerged from the chaos of lap 15 to lead on the following tour, while teammate Acosta worked his way through the top 10 having started from the pitlane.

Acosta led over the line to start the final lap and tried to pull away from Binder behind, though the Petronas Sprinta rider reeled him back in come the end of the tour.

The 16-year-old rookie nailed his run out of the final corner and claimed his first grand prix victory by just 0.039s from Binder.

Niccolo Antonelli completed the top three on the Avintia KTM, pipping Migno and Toba, while Aspar GasGas rookie Izan Guevara recovered from a heavy fall in warm-up to finish sixth.

Sasaki slipped to seventh at the chequered flag, with Ryusei Yamanaka (Prustel GP) heading Masia after the Ajo rider had contact with Rodrigo on the last lap.

Max Racing’s Romano Fenati also came from pitlane to complete the top 10, while Rodrigo came away with 13th for Gresini after his clash with Masia.

Having served a double long lap penalty for a collision in the Qatar GP, Leopard rookie Xavi Artiga was taken down by Avintia’s Carlos Tatay late on. 

Acosta now leads the championship by nine points over Binder heading to the Portuguese GP in two weeks’ time.

Race results:

Cla # Rider Bike Time
1 37 Spain Pedro Acosta
2 40 South Africa Darryn Binder
Honda 0.039
3 23 Italy Niccolo Antonelli
KTM 0.482
4 16 Italy Andrea Migno
Honda 0.514
5 27 Japan Kaito Toba
KTM 0.651
6 28 Spain Izan Guevara
GASGAS 0.708
7 71 Japan Ayumu Sasaki
KTM 1.805
8 6 Japan Ryusei Yamanaka
KTM 1.857
9 5 Spain Jaume Masia
KTM 1.875
10 55 Italy Romano Fenati
Husqvarna 1.967
11 50 Switzerland Jason Dupasquier
KTM 1.994
12 24 Japan Tatsuki Suzuki
Honda 2.234
13 2 Argentina Gabriel Rodrigo
Honda 2.235
14 73 Austria Maximilian Kofler
KTM 2.249
15 92 Japan Yuki Kunii
Honda 2.260
16 82 Italy Stefano Nepa
KTM 5.359
17 7 Italy Dennis Foggia
Honda 11.052
18 53 Turkey Deniz Öncü
KTM 11.085
19 54 Italy Riccardo Rossi
KTM 15.996
20 20 France Lorenzo Fellon
Honda 17.130
21 99 Spain Carlos Tatay
KTM 18.480
22 19 Indonesia Andi Gilang
Honda 25.872
23 11 Spain Sergio García
GASGAS 41.914
17 United Kingdom John McPhee
52 Spain Jeremy Alcoba
31 Mexico Adrian Fernandez
12 Czech Republic Filip Salač
43 Spain Xavier Artigas
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