Kaito Toba won the opening race of the 2019 Moto3 Championship in Qatar to become the first-ever Japanese winner in the class.
After yet another enthralling Moto3 race, Toba was able to get the better of Lorenzo Dalla Porta down the home straight. The Honda Team Asia rider managed to get on the throttle coming first out of the final corner and this was enough to slipstream past and take victory.
Dalla Porta had a significant speed advantage down the home straight throughout the race, and was able to retake the lead by turn one on multiple occasions.
Aron Canet took the final podium position for the Sterilgarda Max Racing Team. This was the first time Canet had scored points from a pole position start – at the fourth attempt.
Marcos Ramirez just missed out the podium, with the Leopard Racing man fighting through from 20th on the grid. Celestino Vietti was next in sixth, ahead of Albert Arenas and Raul Fernandez. Despite fighting towards the front early in the race, Nicolo Antonelli had to settle for eighth spot.
On his return to motorcycle racing, Romano Fenati could only manage ninth after confusion regarding the new penalty loop section. The Italian received a message on his dash warning him about exceeding track limits, however Fenati must have mis-read the message because he dived down the penalty loop straight away. This cost him over a second and he fell down to 13th.
John McPhee had a terrible start to the race, falling down to 23rd on the opening lap from fourth on the grid. The Scot did fight back through the field and joined the leading pack, eventually crossing the line in 13th.
Fellow Brit, Tom Booth-Amos finished 24th after suffering a crash on the opening lap. Booth-Amos would ride into Jaume Masia going into turn six, with the latter than going into Ayumu Sasaki and Makar Yurchenko.
There was a second crash at turn six later in the race, with Dennis Foggia and Tatsuki Suzuki coming together.
After the first race, Toba leads the championship with 25 points ahead of Dalla Porta and Canet.