Valencia Moto3: Arbolino win sets up three-rider title battle

Snipers Honda’s Tony Arbolino won the Valencia Grand Prix to set up a three-rider Moto3 title finale in Portugal, with Albert Arenas’ championship lead now seven points after finishing fourth.

Valencia Moto3: Arbolino win sets up three-rider title battle
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Despite missing the first Aragon round due to a COVID-19-enforced quarantine, Arbolino is just 11 points adrift of Arenas now after claiming his first win of the season, while Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura was eighth. 

KTM Ajo’s Kaito Toba grabbed the holeshot from second on the grid, though teammate Fernandez found his way into the lead at Turn 8 and immediately pulled the pin.

Just as he did on his way to victory last weekend, Fernandez immediately opened up a gap of a second, with his lead standing at 1.5s by the fourth tour. 

Consistent pace would allow Fernandez’s lead to open up to two seconds at one stage, with it generally hovering around 1.6s to 1.8s.

However, the second-placed battle headed by Arbolino and EG 0,0 Honda’s Sergio Garcia started to reel Fernandez in come lap 16, with the KTM rider’s advantage down to a second. 

Arbolino and Garcia gapped the group behind of championship leader Arenas, Deniz Oncu on the Tech3 KTM and CIP poleman Darryn Binder and had wiped out Fernadez’s lead by lap 18. 

Fernandez continued to hold his lead, while last year’s Valencia GP winner Garcia found a way through into second on Arbolino for second. 

Arbolino carved up the inside of Garcia at the final corner with four tours to go to reclaim second, while behind Arenas was holding firm in an important fourth.

The Snipers rider used the power of his Honda to blast past Fernandez into the first corner with two laps to go.

Fernandez and Garcia engaged over second place across the final lap, giving Arbolino a buffer of 1.1s to get to the chequered flag in front. 

Garcia got the better of Fernandez for his second podium of the season, while Arenas fended off Binder in fourth on the final lap to open his championship lead over Ogura to seven. 

Oncu completed the top six ahead of VR46’s Andrea Migno, while Ogura beat Leopard’s Jaume Masia by 0.012s for eighth.

Jeremy Alcoba completed the top 10 on the sole Gresini Honda at the chequered flag, after teammate Gabriel Rodrigo crashed out with Max Racing’s Alonso Lopez on lap nine.

Masia’s ninth ended his title hopes for 2020, while an early fall for VR46’s Celestino Vietti also ruled him out of title contention. 

Arenas, Ogura and Arbolino will battle for the championship next weekend at the Portugal finale covered by just 11 points.   

Race results:

Cla # Rider Bike Time
1 14 Italy Tony Arbolino Honda  
2 11 Spain Sergio García Honda 1.142
3 25 Spain Raúl Fernández KTM 1.297
4 75 Spain Albert Arenas KTM 2.825
5 40 South Africa Darryn Binder KTM 2.999
6 53 Turkey Deniz Öncü KTM 3.208
7 16 Italy Andrea Migno KTM 9.836
8 79 Japan Ai Ogura Honda 9.852
9 5 Spain Jaume Masia Honda 9.864
10 52 Spain Jeremy Alcoba Honda 12.802
11 17 United Kingdom John McPhee Honda 12.879
12 55 Italy Romano Fenati Husqvarna 14.513
13 23 Italy Niccolo Antonelli Honda 15.619
14 82 Italy Stefano Nepa KTM 15.340
15 6 Japan Ryusei Yamanaka Honda 24.297
16 7 Italy Dennis Foggia Honda 24.320
17 70 Belgium Barry Baltus KTM 24.666
18 92 Japan Yuki Kunii Honda 24.690
19 71 Japan Ayumu Sasaki KTM 27.484
20 9 Italy Davide Pizzoli KTM 27.754
21 99 Spain Carlos Tatay KTM 28.093
22 50 Switzerland Jason Dupasquier KTM 28.138
23 54 Italy Riccardo Rossi KTM 30.718
24 13 Italy Celestino Vietti Ramus KTM 48.093
25 89 Malaysia Khairul Idham Pawi Honda  
26 2 Argentina Gabriel Rodrigo Honda  
27 21 Spain Alonso López Husqvarna  
28 27 Japan Kaito Toba KTM  
29 24 Japan Tatsuki Suzuki Honda  
30 73 Austria Maximilian Kofler KTM  
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