In the Moto3 class, where rival manufacturers battle it out using 250cc four-stroke engines, Honda claimed two out of three podium places. The company’s revised RS250FW missed victory in the first race of the evening by a mere 0.233 of a second, in a last-lap brawl that put the first five riders over the line within 0.369 seconds, the last podium slot decided by a photo-finish.
Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda rider Alex Marquez led over the line for 17 of the 18 laps, though changing places out on the track now and then with Australian Jack Miller (KTM). Second Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda rider Alex Rins, who started from pole position, had led a small group up to catch the leaders by the end.
Results were in doubt until the final yards after a hectic final lap. Miller was first, Marquez
almost alongside in second, with a photo-finish giving third to SaxoPrint-RTG Honda rider Efren Vazquez, by five-hundredths from Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra). Rins was dropped to fifth, a tenth adrift, in the final scramble.
The rest of the group was still close, with Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda) a strong seventh in the thick of it.
New Honda rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia Honda) finished 18th.
The next race, the GP of the Americas, is at Austin, Texas in the USA, on April 13. There are 18 rounds in the World Championship, which concludes in Valencia in Spain in November.
Honda Moto3 Rider Quotes
Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0.0, 2nd
“I made a rookie mistake tonight; I hit a false
neutral when cornering on the final lap. Despite
that, I am pleased to have taken second place and
claimed 20 points, because it is a very good
result with which to start the World Championship
season. I think that throughout the race I had a
good pace when on my own at the front. When Jack
[Miller] took the lead, however, we went slower
and the chasing pack managed to close in on us.
That is why I tried to push as hard as I could on
every lap. We have to continue as we have been
doing and I am very happy with this first race with Honda.”
Efren Vazquez, Saxoprint RTG, 3rd
“I'm very happy with this – it is my first podium
in the Moto3 class. I started 15th on the grid,
which is not great, so didn’t really expected to
get on podium. But the new Honda is great, and
the team found a perfect set for the sixth gear
for a good top speed ... so, pushing lap by lap, I got the result.”
Alex Rins, Estrella Galicia 0,0, 5th
“At the start I made a small mistake, because I
released the clutch prematurely. Then I tried to
push hard during the race to reach the front,
waiting to see if the others made any errors. In
the end it wasn’t to be, but we go to Austin
happy with all the work we’ve done with Honda and
even more eager to do well. Most of all, I have
to thank the whole team and Honda, because the
bike was working very well. Throughout the
weekend we had a very good pace and that’s what
we will draw upon when thinking ahead to Austin and the coming races.”