MILLER FIGHTS BACK FOR FOURTH TO RETAIN MOTO3 CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jack Miller of Australia fought back hard in the final corners to claim a fourth place in the Moto3 Grand Prix of Catalunya. He finished just ahead of rival KTM rider Romano Fenati to still lead the championship after seven rounds at the sixty-fifth anniversary edition of the World Championship.
Winner Alex Marquez of Spain delivered a decisive pole to finish win. Second place went to Italian teenager and KTM rider Enea Bastianini to claim his first career podium. The former Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup competitor was competing in his only his seventh Grand Prix and has looked impressive throughout the weekend. Veteran Efren Vazquez of Spain was third.
Red Bull athlete Jack Miller, who started the race from the third row, the first time this season that he has not started on the front row, shuttled back and forth between places six and eight during most of the race. He managed to stay in contact with the group fighting it out for the minor podium places and in the last lap made a bid to gain some more points.
Miller had to finish in front of KTM rider Romano Fenati to hang onto the championship points lead and his late charge in the final corners saw him edge out the highly competitive Italian. Before Sunday’s race, Miller and Fenati had split the victories in all previous races with three wins each. Miller now leads the championship by seven points from Fenati. He was also handed another advantage when Spain’s Alex Rins, also a championship contender had a DNF after technical issues.
Miller said later he had experienced some chattering problems but was nevertheless happy to finish fourth and not concede too may points. “Until the last lap I was confident that I could pass, but I didn’t think I could get up to fourth place, so I'm happy about that. We did a good job today, we continue to lead the champion ship and we have to think about Assen now, where I think we can do a better job."
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s rookie Karel Hanika rode a solid race to finish fourteenth. Five of the top 10 riders were on KTM machines, registering another strong result for the RC 250 GP bike and the Austrian manufacturer.
Hanika said he had made a good start but got pushed off in the first lap and lost touch with the lead group. “I had to fight in the second group, where there was a lot of overtaking, and I learned a lot from that. I had to work hard. I think I could have been first in that group, but on the last lap the tire was completely spent and I couldn’t overtake. Fourteenth is not the result I had been hoping for, but I learned a lot in this race."
Aki Ajo (Red Bull KTM Ajo team boss): “We have to be happy because Jack (Miller) managed to score some very important points that allow him to continue leading the standings – even extending the advantage slightly. However, obviously you always have to consider the things that didn’t go so well and that prevented fighting for the win, which is ultimately our goal. Since yesterday afternoon he had had some chattering problems on some corners and we have to see how far we can go towards solving this with this riding style.”
Next Round: June 26, 2014 – Assen, NED
Results Moto3 Catalunya
1. Alex Marquez (ESP), Honda, 41:11.656 min
2. Enea Bastianini (ITA), KTM, +3,236 sec
3. Efren Vasquez (ESP), Honda, +3,512
4. Jack Miller (AUS), KTM, +3,764
5. Romano Fenati (ITA), KTM, +3,862
6. Brad Binder (RSA), Mahindra, +4,048
7. Isaac Viñales (ESP), KTM, +4,131
8. Niklas Ajo (FIN), Husqvarna, +9,781
9. John McPhee (GBR), Honda, +18,578
10. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), KTM, +18,597
14. Karel Hanika (CZE), KTM, +19,623
15. Jakub Kornfeil (CZE), KTM, +19,983
22. Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG), KTM, +36,232
23. Eric Granado (BRA), KTM, +36,300
DNF, Hafiq Azmi (MAL), KTM, +21 laps
DNF, Niccolo Antonelli (ITA), 0 laps
Standings Moto3 after 7 of 18 rounds
1. Miller, 117 points
2. Fenati, 110
3. Vazquez, 92
4. Rins, 87
5. Marquez, 85
6. Viñales, 73
7. Masbou, 50
8. Bastianini, 45
9. Bagnaia, 42
10. Kornfeil, 38
18. Hanika, 16
21. Antonelli, 7
Manufacturers Standings Moto3 after 7 of 18 rounds
1. KTM, 170 points
2. Honda, 137
3. Husqvarna, 47