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MotoGP Jerez #2: Suzuki beats McPhee for Moto3 win

Moto3 polesitter Tatsuki Suzuki held on to beat Britain’s John McPhee to victory by 0.064s at Jerez this morning with Celestino Vietti in third place.

Suzuki is the first winner from pole in the lightweight class since Marco Simoncelli, taking a well-deserved 25 points after battling for top spot for the whole 22 laps.

Championship leader Albert Arenas crashed out with eight laps to go, launched 20 metres into the gravel trap at turn 11 by his Aspar KTM but walked into the medical centre. His lead over Suzuki is now only six points.


McPhee, on the Petronas Sprinta Honda, was in contention for the entire race but as the scrap again moved into the final corner, the Scotsman wasn’t about to make the same mistake as last weekend - which ended in the gravel - and took 20 points.

Suzuki got the launch he would have been looking for from pole position as the Japanese rider grabbed the holeshot into Turn 1, with Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) and Ogura exchanging P2 and P3 at Turn 1 and Turn 2 as the riders safely negotiated Lap 1 in Andalucia.

A rider who was negotiating the pack efficiently was Darryn Binder on the CIP Green Power KTM. Starting P25 the South African was up to the point-scoring positions on Lap 2, and Binder set two fastest laps in a row to penetrate the top 10 and get himself with the leaders.

Suzuki was hungry to stay at the forefront of the fight. Rodrigo and Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) nibbled at the Japanese rider on a few occasions and despite getting by, Suzuki bit straight back at the first opportunity.

Meanwhile, Arenas was right in the hunt as was second in the Championship Ogura, but disaster then struck for the latter. On Lap 8, Jauma Masia (Leopard Racing) took out Ogura at Turn 9 after tucking the front on the inside line.

At the front, there was a lead group of 10 with 10 laps left. Suzuki still led and was looking good, but there were nine riders all looking good right on his tailpipes.

Rodrigo then had another pop at Suzuki and made a Turn 6 move stick – but Suzuki again was back a at the front a few corners later.

McPhee had slowly picked off his rivals and was up to third – make that second at Turn 5 with nine laps to go. This was another classic scrap for the win and podium places between the top 10.

Drama for the Championship – again – then followed. With eight laps to go, Arenas had been looking comfortable in the lead group but the Spaniard was down at the fast Turn 11 right-hander.


The double 2020 winner took a heavy tumble and headed to the medical centre for a check-up. All this meant the leading two riders in the title race were out, a big opportunity for the likes of McPhee and Suzuki to capitalise.

With six laps to go, Rodrigo was almost down at Turn 9 which gave Suzuki a half-second lead. But within a lap that was diminished as Binder then grabbed P2 from Rodrigo at Turn 5, with Suzuki still leading.

It ended up being a six-way scrap for victory in the latter laps as Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) dropped off the pace, as did Fernandez, with birthday boy Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) crashing at Turn 5.

McPhee was briefly up to second but ran slightly wide at Turn 6 as Binder got back past the Scotsman, before the Petronas rider was up to second at Turn 8.


McPhee was looking to make amends for his final corner crash and on the last lap, the leading quintet were line astern. Binder saw an opportunity to pass McPhee for P2 at Turn 5, but the South African ran wide and slipped to fifth. McPhee was sniffing P1 but there was no way past Suzuki – Turn 13 awaited.

Surely a lunge was coming but with last week’s disaster imprinted on McPhee’s mind, the 26-year-old didn’t make a lunge. Neither did third place Vietti as Suzuki won the race to the line to pick up his second Moto3 win. Vietti tried to emulate Lando Norris on the podium but ended up in the medical centre after smashing his cava bottle and slicing his hand

Binder’s sublime comeback saw him take P4, the KTM rider being promoted after Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) was handed a three-second penalty for ignoring his long-lap penalty in the final stages.

Rodrigo settled for P5 after acting as Suzuki’s closest rival throughout, Fernandez picked up P6. Reigning Moto3 Junior World Champion Alcoba was demoted to P7, with Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and his teammate Ryusei Yamanaka getting the better of Arbolino to round out the top 10.

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