Miguel Oliveira won his third consecutive Grand Prix in Valencia but Danny Kent finished ninth to clinch the Moto3 world championship. While Oliveira produced another tactical masterclass, Kent stayed out of trouble in a tense finale to become Britain’s first Grand Prix motorcycle world champion since Barry Sheene in 1977.
The pattern of the race was set immediately with Oliveira snatching the lead off the start line from polesitter John McPhee while Kent made steady progress from the sixth row. At the end of lap one, Kent was up to fifteenth, one place short of his target with Oliveira out in front, but the Briton moved himself into position on lap two.
Fabio Quartararo relinquished thirteenth on lap eight while Kent only needed one more lap to grab twelfth from Karel Hanika, the Czech rider highsiding out of contention shortly afterwards. With seven laps to go, Kent climbed to eleventh at the expense of Leopard teammate Hiroki Ono but strange scenes followed as the Japanese rider shadowed the points leader, too closely for his team’s liking, before diving past him on the final lap.
The inter-team squabbling gave Red Bull KTM Ajo hope and although Oliveira took another superbly judged win, overtaking Jorge Navarro at the start of the last lap, a final corner incident made certain of the outcome. With third in the race, and the championship, up for grabs, Niccolo Antonelli made a desperate lunge up the inside of Romano Fenati, sideswiping his compatriot and skittling out Efren Vazquez in the process. With three riders eliminated, Kent was promoted to ninth regardless of his teammate’s actions.
The podium was completed by Navarro and Jakub Kornfeil with Brad Binder inheriting fourth ahead of Enea Bastianini and Isaac Vinales. McPhee fell from pole to seventh with Ono leading his title-winning teammate home in eighth.
MOTO3 GP MOTUL DE LA COMUNITAT VALENCIANA: RACE RESULT (24 LAPS)
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