Red Bull KTM Ajo are Moto2 Team and Riders’ champions for the second year in succession as Augusto Fernandez hoisted aloft the 2022 title with 2nd position in the twentieth and final Grand Prix of the season in Valencia, Spain. Red Bull KTM Tech3’s scored Deniz Öncü place in the Moto3™ outing with the KTM RC4.
Late autumnal sunshine and decent temperatures graced the flat and winding Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia and the traditional ‘curtain-closing’ stage for the MotoGP season. The Moto3 world championship had been decided but that did not stop the field from providing more close and riveting entertainment for the twentieth occasion this year.
One of the two protagonists for victory was Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Deniz Öncü. The Turk closely shadowed Izan Guevara for almost the entire race distance as the pair broke free of the pack. A pivotal move through Turn 7 on the final lap gave him the lead but then he was outfoxed by Guevara out of the last corner and beaten to the line by just six hundredths of a second. Öncü’s runner-up achievement still represented the third podium appearance of his best season to-date and ensures 5th in the championship.
Daniel Holgado and Adrian Fernandez were part of a ten-rider dispute and the latter reached a decent 6th (his second-best classification of the year) while Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Holgado was 10th. Jaume Masia had to start from pitlane and negotiate a Long Lap penalty. The Spaniard finished the race in 22nd and with 6th for the year in Moto3.
Brazilian youngster Diogo Moreira used his KTM RC4 to confirm Rookie of the Year and 8th in 2022.
Deniz Öncü: “First of all, these three years have been amazing with the Tech3 family; they have done the best they could for me and I really want to thank them. I grew with them. I wanted to give them a victory because we’ve had Pole Positions and podiums and I fought as hard as I could with Izan on the last lap and the world champion has good pace! I tried my best but I went a bit wide on the last corner. It makes me happy to see the smiles on the faces and I go into the winter with more motivation to come back better next year.
Augusto Fernandez entered his home Grand Prix with a 9.5 point lead over main title rival Ai Ogura, and the pressure of being close to his first world title in his first with Aki Ajo’s decorated Red Bull KTM Ajo crew.
The 25-year-old qualified in 3rd place with teammate Pedro Acosta also on the front row in 2nd position. Acosta was a protagonist for victory and pulled Fernandez with him as the pair passed Tony Arbolino and rode to a dominant 1-2 result. When Ogura crashed out in the first phase of the 25-laps Fernandez was able to breathe and follow his countryman to the record books as the thirteenth Moto2 champ.
Fernandez picked up nine trophies - four of those victories – on his way to the gold FIM medal while Acosta completed a very decent maiden Moto2 campaign with five podium appearances and three wins for the 2021 Moto3 #1; an accomplished Rookie of the Year effort. Thanks to the riders’ feats, Red Bull KTM Ajo have aced their second consecutive Teams’ championship.
Augusto Fernandez: “Wow, amazing. I don’t know what to say…just thanks to all the team, all my crew, my family and all those who supported me in my career. I really need to think about this! I really enjoyed the race today and I wanted the win but Pedro was awesome out there. I’m super-happy.”
Pedro Acosta: “What a race. It’s hard to talk about. I had a great feeling here. This season hasn’t been easy. It’s difficult when a rider comes in with expectation and then crashes and the results don’t come; this is when the team and all their support and experience really help. They are the key for this win.”
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “A sensational result today. The teamwork worked. It was another exciting race but to stay calm under pressure and bring home the title that's a great achievement by Augusto. Of course to also have both riders 1-2 on the podium is something special by the whole team. A huge thank you to Aki Ajo for the way he always sets us up for success and also for the way he shapes brilliant riders for our Academy structure. We are really proud of Augusto and congratulate him from the bottom of our hearts.”
Results Moto3 Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana
1. Izan Guevara (ESP), GASGAS 38:10.406
2. Deniz Öncü (TUR) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +0.062
3. Sergio Garcia (ESP), GASGAS +6.557
4. Dennis Foggia (ITA) Honda +14.133
5. Ayumu Sasaki, (JPN), Husqvarna +14.574
6. Adrian Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Tech3 +14.676
10. Daniel Holgado (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +15.440
22. Jaume Masia (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +36.482
Results Moto2 Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana
1. Pedro Acosta (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo 39:52.413
2. Augusto Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +1.232 (2022 Moto2 World Champion)
3. Tony Arbolino (ITA) 38:25.233 +10.163