Daniel Holgado defends title lead with P4 finish in the #IndianGP
The lightweight class raced for the first time ever on Sunday in India at the Buddh International Circuit for the first edition of the Indian Grand Prix. After a weekend with highs and lows, crashes, track limits, yellow flag, hopes and disillusionments, both Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Daniel Holgado and Filippo Farioli scored points in India, something which had not happened since the fourth round in Jerez early Spring. From P18 on the grid to a hard-fought P4 in the race, Holgado managed to defend his championship lead, while Farioli finished 11th, his best result of 2023.
Daniel Holgado was not having quite the ideal weekend so far, with two crashes and a yellow flag which left him out of Q2 on Saturday. He was starting this thirteenth round with a narrow four point-lead on Ayumu Sasaki, and twelve on Jaume Masia. But they were starting today’s race from the front row, and Dani was in eighteenth. Conditions were hot and humid, as usual, but no sign of rain, so lights went out on schedule at 12:30 local time (GMT+5:30). The number 96 did not mess around and took a rocket start, overtaking riders one after one, and in one lap, he was already in ninth behind Scott Ogden. Very quickly, he set a fast race pace, managed to overtake two more riders, and rounded up his fastest lap of today in 1’59.628 on lap 4. He was in seventh, but was riding at a similar pace to the leading group, behind recent race winner David Alonso. With eleven laps to go, there was a 2.60 seconds from the front group to catch, but Holgado was going to give everything.
Soon after, Ortola lost a bit of rhythm allowing Dani and Alonso to pass him, but he wanted more. He eventually managed to get the best of his contenders with seven laps to go to progress in P5, and was 5.6 seconds away from the race leader. Maybe the win was too hard, but catching Kaito Toba who was 2.882 seconds away was realistic. He continued to push while the battle for the podium was hard between Sasaki, Veijer and Toba, but a late crash from the latest meant that Dani could pass the checkered flag in fourth, and score thirteen points. That means that he retains the Moto3™ championship lead (equals with today’s winner Masia) with 174 points, with Sasaki just one point behind them. The fight for the crown is definitively ON!
Fillipo Farioli was starting the Indian Grand Prix from nineteenth today, and took a decent start as he managed to overtake a few riders to make it to P17 after one lap, and P16 the next lap. Just like his teammate, his fourth race lap was his fastest of the day, in 2’00.465 (+0.993 from today’s fastest lap), and that allowed him to make a first entry to the top 15, in P14 behind Stefan Nepa. From there he rode with a decent pace, the feeling with the bike appeared well, and the rookie did not make mistakes. He lost a bit of rhythm in the seven laps, which saw him lose two positions to sixteenth, but he quickly regained them. With three laps to go, the rookie was in fourteenth, but a decent last lap saw him get the best of two more riders, meaning that he finished eleventh today. This is Filippo’s best result of 2023, a great reward for the rookie who will look to continue scoring points next week, as the team will now travel to Motegi in Japan for round fourteen, the Japanese Grand Prix, on Sep. 29 – Oct. 1.
“Fantastic day for us! The weekend had been difficult so far, but I was able to pull a great performance from P18 on the grid. We finished 4th today, a great reward for the team and myself, especially on the day we announced my contract extension with Red Bull KTM Tech3. I just want to thank everyone for their support this weekend. On to Motegi!”
“We just did our best race of the season today, finishing 11th, and I am really happy. We worked well all weekend, mainly alone to prepare in the best way possible, and I think that it paid off because the race pace was good today and feelings on the bike were amazing. We are going to Japan with a very positive mindset after this great result for us, see you in Motegi!”