Moto3: Toba takes debut victory in first race of 2019

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Honda Team Asia rider Kaito Toba has taken his first ever Grand Prix victory in the opening Moto3 race of 2019, managing the race perfectly at the Losail circuit to win the Qatar Grand Prix. Setting himself up for a slipstream win over Lorenzo Dalla Porta, he took the win by a mere 0.053. Pole sitter Aron Canet was third, ahead of Marcos Ramirez, Celestino Vietti and Albert Arenas.

John McPhee came home happy in 13th, pleased to have taken some points after struggling with technical issues. He said afterwards: "It is nice to be back racing again, having a scrap and doing what we love. My bike felt great in the race, the team have done a great job on finding my race pace and I knew it was going to be good. Unfortunately, we had a small technical problem with the top speed, which cost us particularly on the straight, but the bike was good around the rest of the track. I made a couple of mistakes on the first lap, ran wide in one corner, and when you do that at the beginning it costs you for the whole race.

“After that I focused on setting my pace, which was good, and tried to catch the lead group, which I managed even though I was stuck at the back. The good thing about the weekend is I felt strong, my pace and feeling were good and the speed is there. We have limited the damage by picking up some points and now we can turn our focus to the next GP in Argentina."

However, it was a less fortunate race for rookie Tom Booth Amos, taking down Ayumu Sasaki, Makar Yurchenko and Jaume Masia on the opening lap before remounting to finish 24th.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer