First points in MotoGP
After an unsuccessful stay in Qatar, the two Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing riders both scored their first points in Portugal.
Danilo Petrucci crossed the finish line in thirteenth position while Iker Lecuona was fifteenth. Although they are still a way off from the goals set by the French team at the beginning of the year, these results are the foundations of a season the KTM riders will have to build patiently. Commented Hervé Poncharal, the boss of the Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing team: “Danilo is still getting used to our bike. He doesn’t yet have the reflexes and hasn’t found how to get the best out of the technical package. Because of that he started far down the starting grid and was held up in the race by Luca Marini.” Iker Lecuona, for his part, wasn’t in Portugal last year and only discovered the Portimao circuit a few days after having been operated on his forearms to combat his problems with arm-pump.
Qualifying in pole position, as he did on the first two races of the season, Sam Lowes was clearly aiming to make it a hattrick. Unfortunately, the Elf Marc VDS Racing rider fell at the first corner after getting off the line badly. “I braked a little too hard with the rear to avoid hitting Remy Gardner, who was just ahead of me,” commented the British rider. “It was a bit messy coming into the first corner. I was on a dirty part of the track and the bike threw me off.” His first DNF of the season sees Lowes slip down to third place overall. For his part, Augusto Fernandez confirmed his improving form and feeling on the bike with a promising fifth place. A result that allows him to move up to eighth place overall.
The first European Grand Prix of the season allowed the two Red Bull KTM Tech 3 team riders to show their worth right from qualifying, with Deniz Öncü fifth fastest and Ayumu Sasaki eighth. Unfortunately, the young Turkish rider was penalised by the race direction for having slowed down too much during one of the sessions. Forced to start from the pits, five seconds after the start, he fought bravely to take a point by finishing fifteenth. Fighting in the lead group from start to finish, Sasaki crossed the line in fourth place, just 0.03 seconds off the podium.
|MOTOGP||Danilo Petrucci||13rd||21st (3 points)|
|Iker Lecuona||15th||22nd (1 point)|
|MOTO2||Sam Lowes||DNF||3rd (50 points)|
|Augusto Fernandez||5th||8th (23 points)|
|MOTO3||Ayumu Sasaki||4th||7th (22 points)|
|Deniz Öncü||15th||22nd (1 point)|