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Moto3 Losail

MotoGP Qatar GP: Jaume Masia wins Moto3 world title in thriller

Leopard Honda rider Jaume Masia has been crowned 2023 Moto3 world champion in a thrilling lightweight class race at the MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix.

Jaume Masia, Leopard Racing

Spaniard Masia came to Qatar leading the championship by 13 points and needed to outscore his rival Ayumu Sasaki by 12 points to wrap up the title with a round to spare.

Coming from 10th on the grid in Qatar, Masia found himself involved in a chaotic 16-lap grand prix.

On several occasions, Masia and Sasaki locked horns on track. Twice did Masia come through aggressively, sitting up the Intact GP Husqvarna-mounted Sasaki. Masia was given a conduct warning for this.

Jaume Masia, Leopard Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Jaume Masia, Leopard Racing

It all started to go wrong for Sasaki at the start of lap 13. Leading into Turn 1, Masia launched his Leopard Honda up the inside of the Japanese rider to regain first.

Sasaki then lost three more spots into Turn 2 to drop to fifth, before Masia’s team-mate Adrian Fernandez forced Sasaki wide at Turn 6 to dump him down to eighth.

Fernandez would do the same thing to Sasaki again at the last corner to drop him to 10th as Masia led over the line.

Masia faced stiff opposition for the win from the chasing David Alonso (Aspar), Ajo KTM’s Deniz Oncu – who served two long lap penalties for jumping the start – and SIC58’s Riccardo Rossi.

Sasaki was able to get back into the top six on the final lap, but a massive moment going through Turn 13 almost led to him crashing out.

With Masia snatching a fourth win of the season on the run to the line by 0.068s, it would be enough for the Spaniard to wrap up the championship.

Masia’s championship marks the first for Honda in Moto3 since Lorenzo Dalla Porta in 2019, when he secured the title for Leopard Racing.

Masia has been something of a journeyman in the Moto3 class since making his debut in 2017.

It wouldn’t be until 2019 that Masia won his first grand prix, taking victory from pole at the Argentina GP on his way to ninth in the points.

Moving to Leopard Honda for 2020, Masia won twice to finish sixth in the standings and was fourth in the championship with a single victory the following year having moved to Moto3 class kingmaker Aki Ajo’s KTM squad.

Despite winning twice in 2022, Masia could only manage sixth in the championship and would return to Leopard Honda for 2023.

For the 2024 season, Masia will step up to the Moto2 class with the SAG Racing team.

Aldeguer wins third-straight Moto2 race as MotoGP rumours persist

Speed up rider Fermin Aldeguer scored his third-successive Moto2 victory in dominant fashion in Qatar.

The Spaniard took the lead from Aron Canet with 10 laps to go in the grand prix and eased off into the distance towards the chequered flag.

Aldeguer remains in the frame for a MotoGP step in 2024 with VR46 Ducati, should Luca Marini sign for Honda to replace Marc Marquez.

The podium was completed by Manuel Gonzalez, who snatched second from Pons rider Canet on his Yamaha VR46 Master Camp-run bike by 0.009s.

Recently-crowned Moto2 world champion Pedro Acosta was eighth.

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