Canet conquers COTA in classic Moto3™ encounter

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Spaniard takes his first win since 2017 as Texas serves up a classic tussle
Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) took victory in the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in style, emerging victorious from a last lap scrap to take his first win since Silverstone 2017 ahead of Bester Capital Dubai duo Jaume Masia and Andrea Migno. The rostrum sees Masia take the lead in the Championship despite being equal on points with Canet, and for Migno it saw him return to the podium for the first time since Le Mans last year.

Under bright and sunny skies in Texas, rookie Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) took the holeshot from the middle of the front row, but it didn’t take long for Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) to strike back and take over. Then began the classic freight train shuffle – with a few moments thrown in for good measure – before Tatsuki Suzuki was able to emerge free of the crowd and break away.

The contest for who would try and chase him down was won by Aron Canet, as the Spaniard was able to break away from the big group and set off after the Japanese rider. It seemed he was pulling the distance back, but it remained sizeable as Andrea Migno, Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) tried to get in the mix.

A lap later Migno was on the tail of Canet, Rodrigo and Lopez got caught up in a fight, and Suzuki was still clear at the head of the race. Antonelli was leading a group of five fighting to complete the top five, but drama then struck twice in fairly swift succession.

First, two-time COTA winner Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) slid out and Jakub Kornfeil (Redox Prüstel GP) got caught up in it, sadly breaking his collarbone, before a couple of laps later there was heartbreak for Suzuki. At Turn 7 and still with a sizeable lead, the Japanese rider suddenly slid out of contention – leaving Migno just ahead of Canet as the duel for the win. There would  be more than one twist left in the tale, however.

As the laps ticked on they began to all bunch together again and it became a five-rider fight to decide the win and podium with Canet in the lead. Despite his advantage coming on to the final lap though, it all came down to the end of the back straight, with the Spaniard initially swamped as the slipstream effect enabled those behind to chase him down – before he hit straight back on the brakes. Emerging from there in the lead, Canet never looked back as the squabble behind saw the Sterilgarda Max Racing Team machine able to pull clear of the chaos.

Migno and Rodrigo were joined by Masia and Antonelli in that fight for the podium, with the two Bester Capital Dubai machines certainly not giving each other any quarter. Coming in to the final corner though it was Masia who had managed to muscle his way through to second, and that stayed secure as a wobble for Migno just behind made his mission one of hanging on to the podium and defending it. The Italian ultimately gathered it together, just able to stay ahead of Rodrigo, and took completed his impressive ride through from P13 on the grid.

Rodrigo was forced to settle for fourth, ahead of a solid top five for polesitter Antonelli. Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) took P6 ahead of an impressive result for top rookie Fernandez, who was P7 at the flag. Eighth went to Alonso Lopez as the Spaniard faded slightly towards the end, with second rookie Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) just beating teammate Dennis Foggia at COTA and the duo completing the top ten.

Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia), Leopard Racing duo Marcos Ramirez and Lorenzo Dalla Porta, John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and early frontrunner Darryn Binder (CIP – Green Power) completed the points scorers.

Masia now leads the Championship but he’s equal on points with Canet after COTA. Next time out we race on home turf for both at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto. Who will emerge victorious? Moto3™ race again on the 5th May.

Race results
1 – Aron Canet (SPA) 39’06.761
2 – Jaume Masia (SPA) +0.909
3 – Andrea Migno (ITA) +1.077
The Moto3™ podium L-R: Masia, Canet and Migno

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