A place in Grand Prix history has been etched at the Red Bull Spanish Grand Prix, and it comes in the form of MotoGP™’s newest superstar: Pedro Acosta. The Red Bull KTM Ajo teenager produced yet another stunning ride to become the youngest rider ever to claim a hat-trick of victories and the only rider in the 72-year history of Grand Prix motorcycle racing to take four podiums in his first four races. At just 16-years-old, the Spaniard showed a skillset way beyond his years to battle back from a handful of close calls and take a thrilling last lap win ahead of Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) and Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3).
Off the start line, it was the poleman Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) who took the holeshot, with Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) slotting into second. The first major moment of an incident-filled race came as John McPhee’s nightmare start to the 2021 World Championship continued. The Petronas Sprinta Racing man highsided out on the opening lap in a frightening crash at the exit of Turn 7, to make it four straight pointless finishes for the veteran Scot.
Meanwhile, Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3’s Gabriel Rodrigo had managed to squeeze his way to the front as a leading group of seven began to edge clear. Half a second had grown between Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) in seventh and Carlos Tatay (Avintia Esponsorama Moto) in eighth. Acosta muscled his way through to the front of said chasing group and normal service was quickly resumed in Moto3™ with most of the grid fighting it out in the leading group.
Another slice of drama hit on the fifth lap when Rodrigo, who was sitting comfortably at the front of the race, suffered a monster highside through Turn 7. The Argentinian was viciously whipped over his Gresini Moto3 machine, allowing Öncü to suddenly pop up out of nowhere and lead. Nine laps completed and the World Championship leader Acosta was in control once again. The history-making rookie was leading a race for the fourth time this season, continuing his sensational start to life in the Grand Prix paddock. However, it nearly ended in tears shortly after he hit the front with a big moment.
Halfway stage of Round 4 of the lightweight class World Championship and there were Red Bull KTMs sat first, second and third after Öncü had fought his way through to the front once more. The young Turk was being closely followed by the Red Bull KTM Ajo duo of Acosta and Jaume Masia, after the latter had moved up the field from the fifth row of the grid. Tatsuki Suzuki’s misery then continued as the poleman crashed out at Turn 2, making it a disappointing sixth DNF in his last eight races.
Eight laps remaining now and Öncü’s pace at the front was simply too hot for some to handle. A leading group of seven had now well and truly detached themselves, with victory appearing to come from one of Öncü, Acosta, Masia, Fenati, Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Migno. That was until the gloves then came off in Jerez through Turns 5 and 6. Acosta conjured up a divebomb that Darryn Binder would’ve been proud of into the fast Turn 5 to steal the lead away from Öncü. That compromised both of their drives down the back straight and the lightweight class riders were five abreast on the brakes into Pedrosa corner, with Fenati being the latest of the late brakers to hit the front.
Contact between both Migno and Sasaki at the back of the leading group saw them fall into the clutches of the chasing pack, who with seven laps left were starting to make some gains on the leaders. Corner after corner Öncü, Acosta and Fenati would swap places and paint, which worked perfectly for the riders behind because suddenly we were back to 11 riders at the front nose to tail. The following five laps were nothing short of box office as the leading trio of Öncü, Acosta and Fenati continued a three-way fight that could’ve easily headlined a show at Madison Square Garden.
Only two laps were left in a breathtaking Jerez scrap as a huge moment for Acosta out of Turn 6 nearly ended the 16-year-old’s chase for history. But the World Championship leader shook it off to start the final lap in third, behind Masia and Öncü. They plummeted down the hill towards Turn 6 for the final time and Acosta somehow managed to get the bike stopped and get the job done: a block pass saw him move through on both Masia and Öncü.
They were queuing up behind Acosta heading into the final corner, with lunges most definitely coming up. Öncü and Masia were so, so late on the brakes with the Turk tucking the front and wiping out Masia and Binder in the process. Acosta emerged unscathed and the teenager had done it again. History for the Spaniard at the Spanish Grand Prix. Fenati avoided the Turn 13 chaos to take second across the line, just ahead of the brilliant Jeremy Alcoba. Despite two long lap penalties, the Gresini man pounced on the late drama to bag just a second career podium.
Migno and Sasaki completed the top five, with a late long lap penalty for Tatay surely costing him the chance of a top three finish after coming across the line a second adrift in sixth. CarXpert PruestelGP’s Jason Dupasquier put in by far and away the performance of his young career to take seventh place ahead of Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3). The final places inside a top ten split by only 1.5 seconds were Leopard Racing’s Xavi Artigas and CarXpert PruestelGP’s Ryusei Yamanaka.
1. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.417
3. Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) + 0.527
4. Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 0.548
5. Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) + 0.971
6. Carlos Tatay (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) + 0.997
7. Jason Dupasquier (CarXpert PruestelGP) + 1.043
8. Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) + 1.144
9. Xavier Artigas (Leopard Racing) + 1.383
10. Ryusei Yamanaka (Car Xpert PruestelGP) + 1.596.
GRAN PREMIO RED BULL DE ESPAÑA
Moto3 Race Classification 2021.
|1||25||37||Pedro ACOSTA||SPA||Red Bull KTM Ajo||KTM||148.2||39’22.266|
|2||20||55||Romano FENATI||ITA||Sterilgarda Max Racing Team||Husqvarna||148.2||+0.417|
|3||16||52||Jeremy ALCOBA||SPA||Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3||Honda||148.2||+0.527|
|4||13||16||Andrea MIGNO||ITA||Rivacold Snipers Team||Honda||148.2||+0.548|
|5||11||71||Ayumu SASAKI||JPN||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||148.2||+0.971|
|6||10||99||Carlos TATAY||SPA||Avintia Esponsorama Moto3||KTM||148.2||+0.997|
|7||9||50||Jason DUPASQUIER||SWI||CarXpert PruestelGP||KTM||148.2||+1.043|
|8||8||23||Niccolò ANTONELLI||ITA||Avintia Esponsorama Moto3||KTM||148.2||+1.144|
|9||7||43||Xavier ARTIGAS||SPA||Leopard Racing||Honda||148.2||+1.383|
|10||6||6||Ryusei YAMANAKA||JPN||CarXpert PruestelGP||KTM||148.1||+1.596|
|11||5||28||Izan GUEVARA||SPA||Solunion GASGAS Aspar Team||GASGAS||148.0||+3.986|
|12||4||12||Filip SALAC||CZE||Rivacold Snipers Team||Honda||148.0||+4.389|
|13||3||11||Sergio GARCIA||SPA||Solunion GASGAS Aspar Team||GASGAS||147.9||+5.191|
|14||2||92||Yuki KUNII||JPN||Honda Team Asia||Honda||148.0||+7.204|
|15||1||82||Stefano NEPA||ITA||BOE Owlride||KTM||147.7||+8.194|
|16||27||Kaito TOBA||JPN||CIP Green Power||KTM||147.4||+12.822|
|17||54||Riccardo ROSSI||ITA||BOE Owlride||KTM||147.4||+12.869|
|18||19||Andi Farid IZDIHAR||INA||Honda Team Asia||Honda||147.4||+12.990|
|19||73||Maximilian KOFLER||AUT||CIP Green Power||KTM||147.2||+17.318|
|20||53||Deniz ÖNCÜ||TUR||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||147.1||+18.162|
|21||5||Jaume MASIA||SPA||Red Bull KTM Ajo||KTM||147.0||+19.439|
|22||40||Darryn BINDER||RSA||Petronas Sprinta Racing||Honda||146.7||+25.337|
|23||20||Lorenzo FELLON||FRA||SIC58 Squadra Corse||Honda||146.2||+32.323|
|24||31||Adrian FERNANDEZ||SPA||Sterilgarda Max Racing Team||Husqvarna||145.4||+46.228|
|7||Dennis FOGGIA||ITA||Leopard Racing||Honda||147.6||3 Laps|
|24||Tatsuki SUZUKI||JPN||SIC58 Squadra Corse||Honda||147.9||10 Laps|
|2||Gabriel RODRIGO||ARG||Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3||Honda||146.9||18 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|17||John MCPHEE||GBR||Petronas Sprinta Racing||Honda||0 Lap|
Moto3 World Standing 2021.
|26||Andi Farid IZDIHAR||Honda||INA|
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of motogp.com