Qatar Moto3: Migno ends four-year win drought
Valentino Rossi protege Andrea Migno ended a four-year victory drought when he won the 2022 Moto3 Qatar Grand Prix following late heartbreak for long-time Ayumu Sasaki.
There was drama before the first race of the season even got underway, as poleman Izan Guevara was sent to the back of the grid along with championship favourite Dennis Foggia and his Leopard teammate Tatsuki Suzuki for irresponsible riding in qualifying.
They were all handed long lap penalties too, with Foggia forced to serve two during the race.
Aspar rider Guevara’s penalty promoted Ayumu Sasaki to pole for his first start for the Max Racing Husqvarna squad and the Japanese rider converted that to the holeshot.
Sasaki – formerly with the now defunct Petronas SRT on a Honda alongside current Max Racing teammate John McPhee – immediately built up a lead of almost a second by the second lap.
The Japanese rider, who was one of eight riders on the softer option rear Dunlop tyre, used the clean air in front of him and the squabbling of the group behind to pull away.
By lap eight of 18 Sasaki was 2.4s clear of the field and continued to open that advantage out to over three seconds by lap 10.
But heartbreak would strike on the following tour when Sasaki suffered a highisde. Though he stayed on his bike, the moment broke the left fairing on his bike.
This caused dramatic handling problems and Sasaki’s lead was utterly decimated by lap 12, with the Snipers Honda of Andrea Migno taking the lead from him through the Turn 12 right-hander.
Sasaki would pull out due to the damage to his bike, leaving Migno to lead a battle for victory that featured Aspar’s Garcia on the GasGas, Tech 3 KTM’s Deniz Oncu, Kaito Toba on the CIP KTM and McPhee.
Garcia had to serve a long lap penalty in the early stages after clattering into the side of Prustel GP rider Carlos Tatay at Turn 7 on the opening tour.
But the four-time race winner would brush this off to get into the lead battle come the closing stages.
With two laps to go, Migno repelled constant attacks on his lead using the straightline speed of his Honda and led the pack across the line to start the final tour.
As the final lap unfolded Migno and Garcia broke away from the rest to battle for the win, with the former holding on by 0.037s on the run to the line to secure his first Moto3 victory since Mugello 2017.
Toba completed the podium ahead of Oncu and McPhee, whose podium hopes wilted in the closing stages.
Brazilian rookie Diogo Moreira – who was tipped for Moto3 title success by MotoGP star Maverick Vinales earlier this week – completed the top six on his grand prix debut, the MT Helmets KTM rider beating the recovering Foggia by 0.470s.
Guevara trailed Foggia home in eighth on his Aspar GasGas, with the sister MT Helmets KTM of Ryusei Yamanaka and Prustel GP’s Xavi Artigas on the CF Moto bike (a new manufacturer for 2022, but is essentially a badged KTM) rounding out the top 10.
The 2018 World Supersport 300 champion Ana Carrasco was 20th on her Moto3 return with the BOE SKX KTM squad, with Britain’s Josh Whatley last of the classified runners in 22nd on his and the VisionTrack Racing Honda team’s debut.
His teammate Scott Ogden crashed out in the latter stages, while Ajo KTM’s Jaume Masia also fell in the closing laps while he was battling for the podium.
Moto3 Qatar Grand Prix - race results
|10||43||Xavier Artigas||CF MOTO||6.055|
|99||Carlos Tatay||CF MOTO|
|View full results|
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