Turkish wildcard rider Can Öncü wins in Valencia to become youngest ever Grand prix winner

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Can Oncu, wildcard at Valencia 2018

KTM wildcard rider and 2018 Red Bull Rookies’ Cup champion Can Öncü made his world championship debut at Valencia this weekend, and has today made history by winning the Moto3 race. At just 15 years old he breaks Scott Redding’s record and becomes the youngest ever grand prix winner and is the first Turkish rider to ever win a world championship race. Jorge Martin and John McPhee complete the podium.

The race ran in tricky conditions, with the track wet and slippy despite rain not falling during the race. Tony Arbolino started from pole position and made a good start, leading the race for some time. He opened a comfortable gap to Marco Bezzecchi in second, and when Bezzecchi crashed out Arbolino’s lead was even bigger ahead of Öncü. The conditions got the better of Arbolino though and he crashed out whilst still comfortably ahead, promoting Öncü to lead the race.

The race saw a high number of crashes due to the difficult conditions, including a lap 1 pile up caused by Tatsuki Suzuki sliding off and taking out Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Aron Canet in the process. Bezzecchi and Fabio Di Giannantonio were both able to take second place in the championship today, so when Bezzecchi crashed he remounted and continued. He didn’t make enough progress though and crashed a second time, leaving Di Giannantonio to take second place in the championship after finishing 4th.

Scotsman McPhee mastered the conditions to take 3rd, finishing on the podium in the final race of the season. He was in 5th for some time behind teammates Martin and Di Giannantonio but managed to pass the latter in the closing stages of the race. Crashes ahead meant this move was for 3rd position.

Öncü’s fantastic performance was perhaps not unexpected – there has been a lot of talk about him and his twin brother and the talent they’ve shown in other series as they made their way up to the world championship. Öncü will ride full time in the Moto3 category next year, and if this race is any indication of his future in the sport, we will see some great things from him.

2018 Moto3 Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana – Race result:

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Covering MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 for The Checkered Flag and studying Digital Media at the University of Sheffield. Contact: [email protected]
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