Qatar Moto3: Martin outduels Canet to win by 0.023s

Jorge Martin was victorious in the first Moto3 race of the season in Qatar, narrowly beating fellow title contender Aron Canet.

Qatar Moto3: Martin outduels Canet to win by 0.023s

From second on the grid, Martin took the lead on the opening lap and quickly pulled away to run on his own.

Canet and Enea Bastianini, starting seventh and 10th respectively, soon also separated themselves from the rest of the field and the pair made quick work of catching up to Martin.

The trio only raced together for two laps before Bastianini crashed out at Turn 6.

"[It was] so difficult today because I pushed a lot, Martin was so fast in this track," said the Leopard Racing rider after his incident.

"I pushed over the limit and at the sixth turn the rear tyre slid a little. It was a stupid error."

The incident left Martin and Canet fighting for the win, as they consistently showed superior pace compared to the others.

For the majority of the race, Martin was leading, with Canet repeatedly ducking out of making a move on the main straight and allowing the Gresini rider to stay first.

On the final lap, Canet was unable to slipstream past Martin and the latter managed to hold on to the lead to win by 0.023s.

The battle for the final spot in the top three, which was fought among several riders in typical Moto3 fashion, was won by Bastianini's teammate Lorenzo Dalla Porta, who took his maiden podium.

Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58) and Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE), the only KTM in the top eight, took fourth and fifth respectively from the first row on the grid.

Martin's Gresini teammate Fabio di Giannantonio was sixth despite spending the first half of the race outside of the top 10 and not in the group which was fighting for third.

Japanese duo Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) and Ayumu Sasaki (Sprinta) completed the top eight, followed by Jakub Kornfeil (Prustel GP) and Andrea Migno (Angel Nieto).

Marco Bezzecchi and John McPhee were also in contention for a top-three finish but both suffered dramatic last-lap crashes.

Other riders to retire were Niccolo Bulega, Phillip Oettl, Darryn Binder, Livio Loi and rookie Alonso Lopez.

Race results:

1 88 spain Jorge Martin  Honda 38'18.207
2 44 spain Aron Canet  Honda 0.023
3 48 italy Lorenzo Dalla Porta  Honda 6.746
4 23 italy Niccolo Antonelli  Honda 6.791
5 19 argentina Gabriel Rodrigo  KTM 6.850
6 21 italy Fabio Di Giannantonio  Honda 6.916
7 27 japan Kaito Toba  Honda 6.946
8 71 japan Ayumu Sasaki  Honda 6.998
9 84 czech_republic Jakub Kornfeil  KTM 7.156
10 16 italy Andrea Migno  KTM 7.699
11 7 malaysia Adam Norrodin  Honda 7.753
12 5 spain Jaume Masia  KTM 8.026
13 22 japan  Kazuki Mazaki  KTM 8.829
14 12 italy Marco Bezzecchi  KTM 21.838
15 42 spain Marcos Ramirez  KTM 26.912
16 10 italy Dennis Foggia  KTM 26.981
17 14 italy Tony Arbolino  Honda 33.401
18 41 thailand Nakarin Atiratphuvapat  Honda 33.446
19 76 kazakhstan  Makar Yurchenko  KTM 33.622
Ret 17 united_kingdom John McPhee  KTM 1 lap
Ret  72 spain  Alonso Lopez  Honda 7 laps
Ret  11 belgium Livio Loi  KTM 7 laps
Ret  8 italy Nicolo Bulega  KTM 8 laps
Ret  33 italy Enea Bastianini  Honda 13 laps
Ret  65 germany Philipp Ottl  KTM 15 laps
Ret  40 south_africa Darryn Binder  KTM 15 laps
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