In Qatar the 20 year old Tuscan Leopard Racing Team won the tussle for third place and conquered the first podium of his career. It proved an unfortunate race for teammate Enea Bastianini, slipped while he was fighting for the victory.
The day began with the sun of Qatar (33°C) welcoming the young protagonists of the Moto3 class for the 20 minutes of Warm Up. The session finished with both the Leopard Racing team riders in 1st and 4th with Dalla Porta leading Bastianini. Eye brows were raised and the anticipation for the first race of the year began to build. Not even two hours later, the young riders were already positioned on the starting grid of the Losail International Circuit ready to fight each other. The time had come to get serious and award the first championship points.
At 16:00 o’clock (local time) the traffic lights went out and the inaugural race of the 2018 season was underway! A great start by Enea Bastianini, who at the start rushed passed his rivals and finished the first lap in 6th position, while the teammate Lorenzo Dalla Porta maintained his initial position. The Tuscan did not give up and was soon in 8th position, also recording the best lap. ‘The Beast’ pushed his rivals at every turn and on the second lap he moved in to second overall.
At the beginning of the fourth lap, Enea began to push his Spanish rivals harder and jumped to the head of the race. Meanwhile, Lorenzo fought with a knife between his teeth and kept his cards hidden in a fierce game of poker with the other riders. Unfortunately at Turn 6, the talent of Rimini lost the front and slipped into the gravel without being able to restart: a great pity, because Bastianini and his bike were showing well and had the pace to keep fighting for a great result.
The only representative on the track for Leopard Racing, Lorenzo Dalla Porta, rolled up his sleeves as he continued fighting at the head of the second group of pursuers, Kornfeil and Rodrigo, as well as compatriots Di Giannantonio and Bezzecchi, all tried to surprise Dalla Porta but the Leopard Racing’s lone rider was good at maintaining his pace and remaining calm under pressure, thanks above all to a good strategy, he took the lead on the last lap and in doing so kept third position firm until the finish line.
For Lorenzo Dalla Porta it is the first podium in his career, 16 important points for the world ranking and for his morale. Tonight Leopard Racing start again and think of Argentina already: it is sure ‘The Beast’ will be present at Termas de Rio Hondo with a great desire for redemption!
#48 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA – 3rd:
“I’m really happy, it’s my first podium! I wanted to be in the leading group and fight until the end. It’s a good start, we have to keep growing like this, this team and this bike are a great pair (as we saw last year) and I want to win! This winter I started from scratch, I started to train more and improve myself in various aspects to get ready for this event. Unfortunately I did not have a great start, otherwise I could have joined the trio [including Enea] who were in command of the race. Two laps from the end I came out third at the last corner and with the right strategy I passed in front of the end of the straight, keeping the position until the finish line!”
#33 Enea BASTIANINI – N.C.
“Too bad because the day had started well. This morning I was more comfortable on the bike than yesterday: I was fast enough and I knew I could have a good race. I had a good start, immediately trying to push hard to get to the leading group; but at Turn 6 I lost the front: I also tried to start again but the bike had already turned off. But I think the potential is high and we have a good pace, the team has done a good job, I hope I can do it right away. Unfortunately I threw away a good opportunity, today there were all the ingredients to make a nice podium.”
Moto3™ Race – Qatar Grand Prix 2018:
1 – Jorge Martin / SPA / Del Conca Gresini / Honda / 18 laps
2 – Aron Canet / SPA / Estrella Galicia / Honda / +0.023
3 – Lorenzo Dalla Porta / ITA / Leopard Racing / Honda / +6.746
NC – Enea Bastianini / ITA / Leopard Racing / Honda /
Moto3™ Riders World Standing 2018:
1 – Jorge Martin 25
2 – Aron Canet 20
3 – Lorenzo DALLA PORTA 16
16 – Enea BASTIANINI 0
Moto3™ Teams World Standing 2018:
1 – Del Conca Gresini 35
2 – Estrella Galicia 20
3 – LEOPARD RACING 16