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MotoGP Portimao: Garcia wins wild Moto3 rollercoaster

Valresa GasGas Aspar’s Sergio Garcia secured a dramatic Moto3 victory at Portimao after fending off a five-strong battle in Sunday’s race.

Red Bull KTM’s Jaume Masia overcame a difficult qualifying to launch from the fifth row of the grid  to second at the flag with Sterilgarda Husqvarna’s Ayumu Sasaki completing the celebrations.

Tech3 KTM’s Deniz Öncü headed the Moto3 grid ahead of 21 demanding laps around the rollercoaster Algarve Circuit. Rookie Mario Aji continuing his impressive weekend on the Honda Team Asia bike alongside, with Lorenzo Fellon completing the front row despite a handful of crashes across Saturday.


VisionTrack Honda’s Scott Ogden lined up from a career-best eighth with teammate Josh Whatley doing likewise ten places back as the rookie team continued to enjoy a successful weekend in Portugal. John McPhee frustrated to be watching from trackside as his recovery continued, Adrian Fernandez also missing out after fracturing two fingers in a crash on Friday.

Öncü maintained his control as the lights released, Garcia launching to second with Aji third while Carlos Tatay and Izan Guevara claimed fourth and fifth. Leopard’s Dennis Foggia dropping to 16th as the race fired up with his teammate Tatsuki Suzuki running eighth, just behind an advancing Ogden.

Garcia took charge at the end of lap one, with Aspar teammate Guevara and Tatay swapping places as they progressed to third and fourth. Ogden reeling in Aji’s Honda ahead as he set his sights on sixth. The move came as lap three began, Sasaki dispatching Ricardo Rossi further back as Öncü and Guevara battles for second out front.

Garcia held a clear one second lead as lap four began, his pace increasing with his confidence as the duo behind continued to fight. Sasaki making moves as he advanced the Husqvarna from eighth to fifth with Fellon and Ogden now in tow.

Tatay was the next to fall victim to the Sterilgarda rider on his way to fourth, Öncü running wide as Guevara capitalised for second before Sasaki joined the podium fight.

Jaume Masia attempted a move on Ogden for seventh but the Brit hit back. The KTM bettering the group shortly after as he too leapfrogged from eight to fifth to sit on the tail of Öncü.

A rookie battle found Diogo Moreira the next to threaten Ogden as he moved through to seventh, the 18-year-old finding himself in the middle of a SIC58 sandwich with Fellon ahead and Rossi behind.

The Aspar dominance continued out front as the mudpack battle intensified. Moreira bettering Tatay as Ogden looked to challenge. Rossi and Fellon dispatched into the path of Rivacold Snipers’ Andrea Migno before the pair struck back once again.

Guevara set a series of personal best laps as he looked to reel in his teammate ahead, eight-tenths now the gap with Sasaki just two-tenths adrift. Ivan Ortola crashing out with 14 laps to go.


Foggia began to pick up speed as the race counted down, the championship leader up to 12th and through on his teammate as out front Guevara did the same on his. Migno entering the mid-pack battle on his way to seventh as Ogden dropped slightly to ninth.

The leading group held five riders at the halfway stage as Masia swept through for podium contention. Guevara leading by a fraction of a second as Whatley was issued a long lap penalty for repeated track limits infringements, running 26th.

Having initially lost out on third, Sasaki was back and into the lead as lap 12 began due to contact from the Aspar riders. Masia likewise capitalising as the duo’s rhythm suffered briefly before Garcia fought back half a lap later.

Ogden had Foggia to contend with on the edge of the top ten with nine to go, Rossi and Migno just a matter of tenths ahead as the second group circulated together in the battle for sixth.


Masia was in the lead on lap 14 as the quartet behind continued to squabble. Garcia coming through for the briefest moments out of the final corner before Sasaki took his turn out front thanks to the home straight slipstream.

Seven to go and Foggia finally got the better of the Brit. Fellon dropping to the edge of the points with a track limits warning in the process.

Aspar had control once again next time around, Guevara leading Garcia as he upped the pace with Sasaki defending from Masia for third. Suzuki joining his Leopard partner at the expense of Ogden  as the lap wound down.

Having bided his time at the back of the leading group, Öncü took charge overall with five laps to go. Guevara dropped to fifth after another home straight shuffle with Sasaki, then Garcia the winners on the next revolution.

Red bull KTM’s Daniel Holgado crashed out with four to go, initially regrouping before being issued the black and orange flag.

The penultimate lap began with Sasaki back in charge and replacement rider David Salvador hit with a long lap penalty. Tatay pushing the pace as he looked to consolidate his top six position from the pursuing pack.

The final action saw the lead shuffle again with Garcia back in charge from Masia and Sasaki, as Öncü and Guevara clung on. The ultimate challenge awaited at turn 15 but the Spaniard defended hard to claim the victory from the quartet behind.

Tatay met the flag in sixth from Migno and Moreira with Foggia and Suzuki split by Joel Kelos and Rossi on the edge of the top ten. Ogden completed another points scoring race in 13th with Fellon and Nepa denying Aji the same result.

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