Niccolo Antonelli missed out on a points finish in his first grand prix after injuring his back during yesterday's Moto3 race in Qatar. The Italian ran in the top ten at one staged but after rescuing a slide, strained a back muscle and couldn't prevent himself from falling down to 17th.
“The first few laps went well and I made up ten positions from the grid, which could potentially have been even more. I was closing on the group ahead when the tyre performance dropped off and then I almost crashed. I saved it but pulled something in my back. I was in a lot of pain down my left side after that and really struggling to ride. Qualifying was terrible for us but things were looking up today so I am happy to have finished the race and now we’re looking forward to Jerez.”
San Carlo Gresini Moto3 team manager Fausto Gresini believes Antonelli would've had no problems finishing in the points had it not being for the injury and thinks he will be even better now he has experience behind him.
“We have to look on this as a good performance because if it wasn’t for the injury he would have easily finished in the points on his debut. It has been a good experience for him and that is it to the benefit of all of us. I am happy and sure he’ll continue to make progress.”