After an emphatic 2021 season with two titles in the Moto3 and Moto2™ world championships the KTM GP Academy opened their 2022 assault with top five results at the Lusail International Circuit for the Grand Prix of Qatar.
The Grand Prix started with Red Bull KTM Ajo as defending world champions and having celebrated victory at Lusail in Moto3 in 2021. Jaume Masia was the most advanced on the start grid and blasted his KTM RC4 from 2nd spot at the start of the race. The Spaniard was amid the 11-rider contest for podium positions but crashed out with nine laps to go. Öncü slid his Red Bull KTM Tech3 into contention and the Turk was typically determined in his pursuit of a trophy. In the end he was pipped in the charge to the line by just two hundredths of a second as Kaito Toba gunned his RC4 to 3rd. Teammate Adrian Fernandez gathered two points for 14th in his first outing for the squad while rookie Daniel Holgado was relegated to from 15th to 16th after running wide of track limits on the final lap.
KTM were also eying continued dominance in the intermediate class after Red Bull KTM Ajo finished 1st and 2nd in the 2021 campaign and won 13 Grands Prix between their two riders. The team counted on the fresh faces of Augusto Fernandez and Moto3 world champion Pedro Acosta for their 2022 challenge and the pair regularly headed Free Practice sessions, taking 6th and 10th on the grid respectively once Q2 had ended.
Acosta classified 12th after running wide on Turn 1 but completed a solid maiden Moto2 outing. Fernandez was denied a podium finish when he was struck by Ai Ogura on the final corner and was beaten in the run to the line by Sam Lowes, less than a tenth of a second was the difference.
2022 MotoGP continues on March 20th with round two and the inaugural Grand Prix at the Pertamina Mandalika Circuit on the Indonesian island of Lombok.
Results Moto3 Grand Prix of Qatar 2022
1. Andrea Migno (ITA) Honda 37:59.522
2. Sergio Garcia (ESP) GASGAS +0.037
3. Kaito Toba (JPN) KTM +0.573
4. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +0.594
5. John McPhee (GBR) Husqvarna +1.064
14. Adrian Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +12.989
16. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +12.999
DNF. Jaume Masia (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo
Results Moto2 Grand Prix of Qatar 2022
1. Celestino Vietti (ITA) 39:53.637
2. Aron Canet (ESP) +6.154
3. Sam Lowes (GBR) +10.181
4. Augusto Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +10.259
12. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +26.051