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Moto3 Dutch TT Assen - RACE | Jaume Masia prevails in intense Assen Moto3 thriller

Gold and Goose
Jaume Masia, Leopard Racing, Honda, 2023 Moto3, Dutch TT, Assen, action [credit - Gold & Goose]

Jaume Masia has taken a huge chunk out of Daniel Holgado's 2023 Moto3 World Championship lead after shaking out on top of a race-long, ten rider battle for victory in the Moto3 Dutch TT at Assen.

In a pulsating race that didn't let up in intensity from lights-to-flag, it was Masia's steely nerves on the brakes into the final corner that ultimately made the difference as he rebuffed a late charge from Ayumu Sasaki to secure his first victory of the 2023 Moto3 season.

His win comes on a disastrous weekend for series leader Daniel Holgado, the KTM Tech 3 rider - already starting last after fluffing his Q1 laps - compounding his misery by crashing on the opening lap.


Behind Masia, Sasaki held on for his third consecutive podium - again missing out on victory by mere hundredths - with Deniz Oncu surviving a scramble through Ruskenhoek that forced David Munoz and Romano Fenati from top three contention in sight of the finish line.

8 different race leaders, only 1 winner

While Assen has developed a reputation as one of Moto3's most exhilarating arenas for exciting race action, even by its high standards the 2023 edition in the Netherlands will go down in the annuls.

With eight different riders taking turns in the lead of the race at some stage of the 20 laps and ten riders coming into the final lap within one second, the fight for victory was bound to come down to the final metres.

In the end timing was arguably the pivotal factor in Masia's charge to victory, though the Spaniard - who, like the riders around him, yo-yo'd up and down the classification as the momentum ebbed and flows - emerged as the most solidly positioned rider in the critical final few revolutions.

Even so, he was still forced to make the different into the final corner Geert Timmer chicane after Sasaki - having played a comparatively low key role in the fight for victory up to that stage - got a strong run out of Meeuwenmeer to line up a neat pass into Ruskenhoek for the final time, the Japanese rider's experience seemingly coming to the fore.

However, he didn't shut the door aggressively enough, enabling Masia to slip up the inside without running out wide on the exit so as to allow the Husqvarna IntactGP a better run to the finish line. It means Sasaki - who has now finished third, second and second in the last three Moto3 races - would miss out on victory by 0.081s having also missed out in Mugello by 0.056s and in Sachsenring by 0.095s.

Joining them on the podium was Deniz Oncu, who dazzled with a selection of unconventional yet beautifully executed passes again over the course of the race, even if he was often found wanting in some of the quicker sections, his larger frame and weight once more counting against him.

However, he was able to benefit in the increasingly ragged scrap for the leading positions after David Munoz eliminated both himself and Romano Fenati from top three contention coming out of Ruskenhoek for the last time.

Starting from his first pole position, Munoz endured a checkered race with undoubted fast pace around the Dutch venue punctuated by a number of sloppy errors and wide moments - including on the first lap having held his nerve to lead initially - that kept demoting him back.


However, his notoriously aggressive style of riding came to the fore at an inopportune moment at the penultimate corner when his dive for third on Fenati instead levered both wide on the exit. It demoted Munoz back to fifth place at the flag, while his rival had to make do with a frustrated eighth after one of his best performances in years.

>>> 2023 Moto3 World Championship standings <<<

As well as Oncu, Ivan Ortola was also a big beneficiary to rescue a superb fourth place having been forced to fight back from both a 20th place starting position on the grid and a long lap penalty.


A two-time race winner this season, Ortola would have no doubt had his superb victory in Texas - when he scored a spectacular win despite having to take a long lap penalty after a Turn 1 mistake had already dropped him to plum last - in his mind.

Indeed, the Spaniard made rapid progress up the order, surging from 20th to eighth in just three laps. Even once he'd taken his long lap penalty, Ortola maintained the tempo, clawing his way up to second by the mid-way point in the race.

While he'd then get restrained by the frenzied action around him, he was up to second and poised to pounce coming into the final lap, only to then run wide at Turn 1, ending his hopes of glory.

Behind Munoz, Jose Antonio Rueda prevailed in the fight for top rookie honours over seventh place Colin Veijer, the pair always in contention among the front group without getting to the front of it.

Fenati was a disgruntled eighth, the Rivacold rider producing an electric performance that had him right in the thick of the victory battle during the second-half of the race. Though he was ultimately denied a podium by Munoz's forceful move, it was almost identical to one he'd pulled a few laps earlier than forced Sasaki and Stefano Nepa out onto the run-off.

Front row starter Joel Kelso was ninth having briefly led in the early laps, the Australian finishing ahead of Nepa, whose breakthrough performance on the MTA Angeluss bike ended with a disappointing tenth.

The Italian led more laps than any other rider having worked his way to the head of the field on lap six, holding firm for ten laps, before being swamped as the intensity ramped up. He then out-braked himself coming into the Geert Timmer chicane for the final time, leaving him at the back of the front group coming across the line.

Elsewhere, Scott Ogden made an early mistake to demote him out of the points en route to 20th in a race of low attrition, while team-mate Joshua Whatley was one of just two retirements after he rear-ended Adrian Fernandez on lap three.

Moto3 Dutch TT Assen | RACE Results

2023 Moto3 Dutch TT | Assen, Netherlands | RACE Results | Round 8 of 20
1Jaume MasiaESPLeopard RacingHonda20 Laps
2Ayumu SasakiJPNHusqvarna IntactGPHusqvarna+0.081
3Deniz OncuTURRed Bull KTM AjoKTM+0.276
4Ivan OrtolaESPAngeluss MTA TeamKTM+0.324
5David MunozESPBOE MotorsportsKTM+0.401
6Jose Antonio RuedaESPRed Bull KTM AjoKTM+0.507
7Colin VeijerNEDHusqvarna IntactGPHusqvarna+0.819
8Romano FenatiITARivacold Snipers TeamHonda+1.058
9Joel KelsoAUSCFMoto PruestelGPCFMoto+1.341
10Stefano NepaITAAngeluss MTA TeamKTM+2.024
11Kaito TobaJPNSIC58 Squadra CorseHonda+11.736
12Diogo MoreiraBRZMT Helmets - MSIKTM+12.254
13Ryusei YamanakaJPNGASGAS Aspar M3GasGas+12.317
14David AlonsoCOLGASGAS Aspar M3GasGas+12.592
15Xavier ArtigasESPCFMoto PruestelGPCFMoto+12.594
16Matteo BertelleITARivacold Snipers TeamHonda+12.646
17Taiyo FurusatoJPNHonda Team AsiaHonda+12.898
18Riccardo RossiITASIC58 Squadra CorseHonda+13.041
19Andrea MignoITACIP Green PowerKTM+13.100
20David SalvadorESPCIP Green PowerKTM+14.651
21Filippo FarioliITARed Bull KTM Tech3KTM+22.458
22Scott OgdenGBRVisionTrack RacingHonda+26.301
23Mario Suryo AjiINAHonda Team AsiaHonda+26.374
24Ana CarrascoESPBOE MotorsportsKTM+31.379
25Daniel HolgadoESPRed Bull KTM Tech3KTM+1m 14.519
DNFAdrian FernandezESPLeopard RacingHonda
DNFJoshua WhatleyGBRVisionTrack RacingHonda

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