Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira picked up his second career Moto3 victory, and his second win in three races at the traditional Dutch TT on Saturday in what was one of the most tightly fought races of the season. Assen was Round 8 of the Moto3 World Championship.
Oliveira, a Red Bull athlete came out on top of a group of seven riders who broke away from the following pack and won the race by a mere 00.066 from French teenager Fabio Quartararo. Britain’s Danny Kent took the third podium spot.
The top seven, which included Oliveira’s teammate Brad Binder in seventh, all crossed the line within half a second of each other. The third team member Czech rider Karel Hanika led in the next group in eighth position.
Oliveira: “I tried for many laps to lead and I was always overtaken. So I thought maybe to come second was the ideal plan. Finally I positioned myself to overtake him (Quartararo) although I was lucky not to crash trying to defend my line in the last chicane. This was an awesome win and I am super happy for me and my team.”
Oliveira started from the second row of the grid and led going into the first corner of the race. He stayed in podium contention throughout the race and held the lead in many laps. He had some brief minutes at fourth position going into lap nine (of 22) but it was clear from the outset that any of the seven riders at the front could take the victory. Going into the final laps it was still anyone’s race as the leaders jockeyed for position and rehearsed overtaking moves, but Oliveira held his nerve, and his line and emerged the winner.
The Assen race weekend, being held for the last time on Friday – Saturday, was also good for Hanika. The Czech rider has had his share of bad luck this season but this weekend he qualified on the front row for the first time in his career and his eighth place finish was his second best result for 2015. Earlier in the season Hanika finished seventh in Argentina.
Teammate Brad Binder started from the third row of the grid and did well to maintain contact with the front breakaway group. He stuck with them throughout the race, which was at breakneck speed and an unbelievably tight contest.
Oliveira’s win brings him within six points of second placed Italian Enea Bastianini in the title fight. Danny Kent of Britain continues to lead the standings.
Assen was also a good race for KTM rider Romano Fenati of Italy, who was often a race leader in the second half of the action and only lost out in the final stages. KTM riderNiklas Ajodelivered one of the most remarkable recoveries from a highside just short of the finish line and managed to hold the bike upright while kneeling beside it as he skidded over the finish line in eventual seventeenth place.
Red Bull KTM Ajoriders compete on the KTM RC 250 GP racing bike.
The next round is at Germany’s Sachsenring on July 12
MotoGP of Assen at the Assen Circuit in The Netherlands – Round 8
1, Miguel Oliveira, POR, KTM, 37:54.427
2, Fabio Quartararo, FRA, Honda, 37:54.493
3, Danny Kent, GBR, Honda, 37:54.544
4, Jorge Navarro, ESP, Honda, 37:54.606
5, Romano Fenati, ITA, KTM, 37:54. 679
6, Enea Bastianini, ITA, Honda, 37:54.953
7, Brad Binder, RSA, KTM, 37:54.967
8, Karel Hanika, CZE, KTM, 38:15.83
9, Niccolo Antonelli, ITA, Honda, 38:15.899
10, John McPhee, GBR, Honda, 38:16.090
12, Andrea Migno ITA, KTM, 38:16.150
15, Philipp Oettl, GER, KTM, 38:17.023
17, Niklas Ajo, FIN, KTM, 38:19.921
20, Jakub Kornfeil, CZE, KTM, 38:28.390
23, Ana Carrasco, ESP, KTM, 38:46.230
25, Gabriel Rodrigo, ARG, KTM, 38:48.043
DNF, Zulfahmi Khairuddin, MAL, KTM, 8:54.726
Moto3 Standings after Round 8
1, Kent, 165
2, Bastianini, 108
3, Oliveira, 102
4, Fenati, 86
5, Efren Vazquez, ESP, Honda, 76
6, Quartararo, 74
7, B. Binder, 66
8, Isaac Viñales, ESP, 64
9, Francesco Bagnaia, ITA, Honda, 5
10, Antonelli, 49
14, Hanika, 26
16, Oettl, 18
17, Kornfeil, 17
18, Migno, 16
19, Ajo, 15
25, Khairuddin, 2
Moto3 Manufacturers Standings after Round 8
1, Honda, 185
2, KTM, 136
3, Husqvarna, 64
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