Rueda places 4th in #PortugueseGP, Öncü 10th
The first Moto3 race of the season took place at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve on Sunday, and the Red Bull KTM Ajo riders faced a demanding contest at the Portuguese circuit. Jose Antonio Rueda finished in fourth position after fighting for the podium in the final metres, while Deniz Öncü made a great comeback to place tenth and score some good points for the Championship.
Öncü had made steady progress throughout the weekend, but an unexpected problem on the sighting lap meant he was forced to start from Pit Lane. The Turkish rider faced this new situation and set a high pace from the first lap, climbing up through the order and breaking into the points. The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rider was one of the most consistent riders in the race, he set the fastest lap and also broke the circuit record, on route to tenth place and score some good points.
Rueda started the first race in the Moto3 World Championship from the front row of the grid and, whilst he lost several positions on the opening corners, remained in the front group. The fast pace of the Portuguese Grand Prix meant that Rueda had to push to the limit, and halfway through the race he dropped places, although the rookie managed to recover and complete a great final stretch that included him leading the field. Rueda fought for the podium until the closing metres, crossing the finish line fourth and just +0.033 off the rider ahead of him.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 duo travel to Termas de Rio Hondo this coming week to contest the Argentina Grand Prix, from March 31st to April 2nd.
JOSE ANTONIO RUEDA
I felt very comfortable with the bike. I am adapting very quickly to the KTM and I have to thank the team for all the work they are doing for this. To be able to enjoy a race like this is something incredible; it is only the first one of the year but I am very happy that we started in this way. I was left with a bittersweet taste in my mouth because the podium slipped away in the final stretch, but that’s racing and even so I am very satisfied. We knew it was going to be a tough race with many overtaking moves, but we were able to handle it well. Now we have to continue working in the same way and go all-out in Argentina.
The bike stopped on the grid, so we had to start from pit lane. It was a pity because we were strong, but we will make sure that this will not happen again in future races. In the race I started to push from the beginning and I found my own pace. I felt very good and I finished just 1.4 seconds behind the winner. I’m sure that we could have fought for the podium. I’m know that I can be really strong and I can be fast riding alone. We will keep working hard and give our best in Argentina.