PODIUM FOR MARTIN IN QATAR AS DIGGIA IS 8TH AFTER GREAT RECOVERY

Jorge Martin has taken third in his debut race with Team Del Conca Gresini Moto3 after an exciting performance at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. The 18-lap encounter that opened up the 2017 Moto3 title chase also saw a great display of riding by Fabio Di Giannantonio, who made his way up to the front from fifteenth on the grid, eventually crossing the line in eighth place.

Starting from pole, Martin was able to maintain his position for the first two laps; even when he dropped the lead, the young Spaniard never lost touch with the front of the field as he found himself in the usual heavily-populated group of riders battling for honours. Despite losing a little bit of ground in the final stages, he managed to bridge the gap with the top-4 and get back in contention for a podium finish, which he sealed at the chequered flag.

Di Giannantonio put together a great recovery from row five: with some competitive lap-times – one of which turned out to be the fastest one of the whole race – and a great race craft, the Italian rider went past several opponents up to the sharp-end of the field, as he briefly took the lead of the encounter as well. In the last-lap slipstream lottery, Di Giannantonio ended up with an eighth-place finish and some great confidence heading into the next race of the year.

It was a masterful performance for both riders, as team manager Fausto Gresini points out: “It was not an easy race but surely one to remember, as things could have gone wrong at any moment. Martin did a remarkable job especially when the grip dropped down: we knew it could have happened but he was ready for it. Fabio was also great in recovering so many positions; he did not have enough track-time here so we had to take a bit of a gamble in terms of bike set-up, but it paid off. We leave Qatar in a really happy mood.”

3º – JORGE MARTIN #88

“I was really quick in the early part of the race and I felt I had something more than my opponents; I tried to pull away with Joan (Mir), but that wasn’t possible. In the second part of the race things started to become less predictable: I started to lose some grip and dropped down to 6th/7th place, but then I was able to bridge the gap to the lead again. I push as hard as I could to stay in touch with Joan but McPhee made a couple of mistakes and that allowed him to pull away that bit. We leave Qatar with a pole position, a lot of points and a podium, so I’m happy!”

8º – FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO #21

“I’m really happy. Given how things went this winter, today we did an incredible race. Last year I was 32 seconds away from the winner, today only 0.8s. We did the fastest lap, which is a great sign considering our performance in free practice. We will aim for more next time!”