Moto3 Qatar: Aspar KTM rider Arenas wins thrilling season-opener

Albert Arenas clinched the first Moto3 win of the new decade and KTM's 100th after beating John McPhee by 0.053 seconds in a thrilling Qatar Grand Prix

Arenas spent several stints at the head of the field, and made a break with McPhee in tow on the final lap, repelling the Petronas Sprinta rider's advances to secure his fourth grand prix victory.

Poleman Tatsuki Suzuki led off the line on the SIC58 Squadra Corse machine, though would lose out to Ajo KTM's Raul Fernandez on the drag along the 1km main straight into Turn 1 on the second tour.

After Tony Arbolino got the Snipers Honda into the lead at Turn 6 on lap two, Arenas capitalised on a mistake for the Italian to put the Aspar Team KTM at the head of the pack at the end of the third tour.

Arenas was able to get his bike out of the last corner better than the rest and hold the lead despite the pack swarming behind him in the slipstream for a handful of laps.

As the lead group grew to 19 by lap nine, Fernandez finally deposed Arenas, before Leopard's Jaume Masia used the power of his Honda to blast past into Turn 1 on the following circulation.

Arenas worked his way back into the lead when he scythed through on Darryn Binder (CIP KTM) at Turn 2, where he remained for three more laps.

Arbolino, Suzuki and McPhee all took turns at the head of the pack as the laps counted down, before Gabriel Rodrigo moved his Gresini Honda to the front at the start of the penultimate tour.

As the last lap started, Arbolino made slight contact with Binder as he drifted over to the outside of the track under braking for Turn 1 and sent the CIP rider down in a frightening accident.

Through the chaos, Arenas found himself back in the lead having been forced wide at Turn 1 and down a handful of spots a few laps previous.

McPhee went with him as Arenas tried to break away on the last lap, but could do nothing on the run to the chequered flag to deny the Aspar rider.

Masia did cross the line in third on his debut ride for Leopard, but was hit with a post-race penalty for exceeding track limits and was demoted to fourth.

This promoted an initially dejected Ai Ogura on the Honda Team Asia bike to the final podium place, with Suzuki completing the top five behind Masia.

Rodrigo was also hit with a one-place drop and was sixth in the end, with Gresini team-mate Jeremy Alcoba seventh and lucky to avoid a penalty after taking Sky VR46's Celestino Vietti out at Turn 6 late on.

Filip Salac (Snipers Team) recovered from 20th on the grid to finish eighth, with Dennis Foggia (Leopard) coming from 19th to finish ninth and Fernandez rounding out the top 10.

Result - 18 laps

Pos Rider Team Bike Gap
1 Albert Arenas Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3 KTM 38m08.941s
2 John McPhee Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda 0.053s
3 Ai Ogura Honda Team Asia Honda 0.344s
4 Jaume Masia Leopard Racing Honda 0.247s
5 Tatsuki Suzuki SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda 0.789s
6 Gabriel Rodrigo Kommerling Gresini Moto3 Honda 0.426s
7 Jeremy Alcoba Kommerling Gresini Moto3 Honda 0.559s
8 Filip Salac Rivacold Snipers Team Honda 0.823s
9 Dennis Foggia Leopard Racing Honda 0.964s
10 Raul Fernandez Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM 0.834s
11 Sergio Garcia Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda 1.261s
12 Deniz Oncu Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 1.485s
13 Alonso Lopez Sterilgarda Max Racing Team Husqvarna 1.602s
14 Kaito Toba Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM 2.790s
15 Tony Arbolino Rivacold Snipers Team Honda 2.575s
16 Andrea Migno SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM 3.180s
17 Romano Fenati Sterilgarda Max Racing Team Husqvarna 5.802s
18 Yuki Kunii Honda Team Asia Honda 5.829s
19 Ayumu Sasaki Red Bull KTM Tech 3 KTM 6.109s
20 Ryusei Yamanaka Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda 8.457s
21 Carlos Tatay Reale Avintia Racing KTM 8.480s
22 Stefano Nepa Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3 KTM 16.240s
23 Davide Pizzoli BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy KTM 21.450s
24 Riccardo Rossi BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy KTM 26.209s
25 Jason Dupasquier CarXpert PruestelGP KTM 26.412s
26 Khairul Idham Pawi Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda 28.189s
27 Maximilian Kofler CIP - Green Power KTM 28.517s
28 Celestino Vietti SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM 32.106s
29 Dirk Geiger CarXpert PruestelGP KTM 41.931s
- Darryn Binder CIP - Green Power KTM Retirement
- Jose Garcia SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda Retirement

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