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Masia pulls the pin to take over on top

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Masia pulls the pin to take over on top

Masia pulls the pin to take over on top

Masia pulls the pin to take over on topJaume Masia (Leopard Racing) is now the Moto3™ Championship leader! The Spaniard put in another masterclass performance, this time at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, to take back-to-back wins and take over on top. Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) moves up into second after taking second by pipping Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) to the line, with Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crashing out and seeing his Championship challenge take a dent.

Öncü just held onto the holeshot ahead of Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) and Holgado as Masia lost out off the line, and the Turk immediately got the hammer down at the front. But he didn’t manage a breakaway as those on the chase regrouped, with most of the key players in the Championship locked together: Öncü, Sasaki, Masia and Holgado.

With seven laps to go, the fight at the front was getting decisive. The Husqvarna and two KTMs were going toe-to-toe and Masia’s gap in the lead grew by a tenth, then a few more, and by the time the big drama hit the Spaniard was over a second clear. That drama? A sudden crash for Öncü as the Turk slid off into the gravel, rider raging but ok. That left Holgado vs Sasaki in the podium fight, with both also looking over their shoulders as Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) and Nepa gained ground.

1.2 seconds, six laps to go… could Sasaki reel Masia in? The Japanese rider was certainly giving it a good go as that duo gained a chunk of time on those behind, and it got to under a second, then down to eight tenths… but it was just too big an ask. Masia kept it clean to the line to take victory by over a second, taking back-to-back wins and the Championship lead too.

Behind, Holgado was still with Sasaki and the Spaniard made a brutal but clean lunge to take over in second. But that wasn’t all she wrote as the number 96 then had a big wobble out the final corner and Sasaki was able to just slipstream past, taking those valuable 20 points to move into second in the Championship. Holgado, still, with less experience at Motegi and after a tougher couple of rounds, takes a valuable podium as we begin the final stretch.

The duel for fourth saw Nepa just hold off Ortola at the line, the two split by thousadnths, with a big, close group behind them led by David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports). David Alonso (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team), Kaito Toba (SIC58 Squadra Corse), Ryusei Yamanaka (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team), Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) and Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia) completed the group down to P12, with Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse), Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) and Joel Kelso (CFMoto Racing PrüstelGP) completing the points.

That’s a wrap on Motegi, with a weekend off before we head for Lombok and Pertamina Mandalika International Circuit. What twists and turns await? Tune in to find out!

For more Moto3 info checkout our dedicated Moto3 News page

Or visit the official MotoGP website motogp.com

Masia Pulls The Pin To Take Over On Top

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