KTM celebrated their 100th win after a fantastic performance by Aspar Team Gaviota’s Albert Arenas at the QNB Grand Prix of Qatar. The Spaniard claimed the checkered flag by just 0.053 of a second on his KTM RC4.
The eighteen-lap Moto3™ race opened the 2020 FIM World Championship season and produced an unpredictable spectacle. Almost fifteen riders disputed podium positions in the late afternoon sun at the Losail International Circuit.
Arenas was one of the main protagonists in the pack that also saw Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Raul Fernandez again showing his speed and Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Deniz Oncu gaining experience running with the leading group. Arenas seized control of the race on the final lap and pushed hard to make a small break with John McPhee in tow. The Spaniard kept the Briton at his rear wheel and gained good drive out of the final right-handed turn to gun his RC4 to the finish line.
The triumph marked KTM’s milestone, sixteen years after Casey Stoner opened the company’s account in Malaysia in 2004. The feat meant Arenas’ fourth winners garland of his career. Fernandez came home in 10th and Oncu was a creditable 12th.
In the Moto2™ class Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Tetsuta Nagashima took victory in what was his first visit to a Grand Prix podium. The KTM GP Academy set-up excelled as the 27-year old Japanese became another rider to reach a professional landmark under the tutelage of Team Principal Aki Ajo. Jorge Martin was circulating with the leaders but was involved in a collision and lost a lot of ground. He eventually classified 20th and 20 seconds from his teammate.
MotoGP™ should move on to the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas on April 5th at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Albert Arenas: “I have no words. It was an incredible race, the best of my life and my career. I enjoyed every lap and had to manage the race from the beginning and gave everything I had.”
Tetsuta Nagashima: “I cannot believe it, my first time on the podium! Thanks to family and team for helping me to be at this level. I’m really happy.”
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “This Moto3™ victory means a lot to us because the Losail Circuit was always a difficult place for our RC4. We left no stone unturned in recent months to move our Moto3™ motorcycle one step forward and we seem to have succeeded in doing this with a completely revised chassis and many, many new small engine parts. That’s why we’re really happy. I would like to thank my team for the great work, on the basis of which we were now able to achieve 100 GP wins on the asphalt and, of course, to Albert for what he produced out there today and all the Aspar Team Gaviota guys. We have to keep going to be a strong opponent for the competition in the Moto3 World Championship as it is an important category for us and with some special history. Congratulations also to Tetsuta, Aki and all the guys for the success in Moto2™. It was a great first Grand Prix for us.”
Results Race Moto3™ Losail International Circuit 2020
1. Albert Arenas (ESP) KTM 38:08.941
2. John McPhee (GBR) Honda +0.053
3. Ai Ogura (JPN) Honda +0.344
10. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.834
12. Deniz Oncu (TUR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +1.485