MotoGP Valencia: Guevara completes Spanish clean sweep in Moto3

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Moto3 Champion Izan Guevara completed a clean sweep of Moto3 victories on home soil with a late move at Valencia on Sunday.

The Valresa GasGas Aspar rider held off a determined Deniz Öncü by 0.062s after a race-long battle between the duo, teammate Sergio Garcia consolidating the successful season with third in the race and one-two in the championship standings.

The final race day of 2022 lined up under perfect conditions as Guevara commanded the grid ahead of his move to the intermediate class. John McPhee prepared for his own world championship swan-song from tenth after over a decade in the paddock while Sterilgarda Husqvarna teammate Ayumu Sasaki, Leopard’s Dennis Foggia and GasGas Aspar’s Sergio Garcia got ready to battle for second in the season standings.

Lights out and Guevara maintained control from Tech3’s Öncü and Aspar teammate Garcia. Angeluss MTA’s Ivan Ortola heading MT Helmets’ Diogo Moreira and Sasaki as CIP Green Power Kaito Toba and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jaume Masia started from pitlane following their trackside altercation - the pair also facing a long lap penalty as the race unfolded.

Guevara’s advantage was almost half a second as the first lap completed. Tatsuki Suzuki bettering teammate Foggia for eighth as KTM’s Daniel Holgado did likewise on McPhee. Moreira rapidly dispatched his long lap penalty - for crashing under yellows in Friday practice - and rejoined the action in seventh. BOE’s David Muñoz attempted to advance as he took a look at Sasaki for fifth before the Japanese rider defended. The top four breaking free and over two seconds ahead after five laps on track.

The mid-pack battle saw McPhee drop back to 15th behind Sic58’s Riccardo Rossi, MTA stand-in David Salvador and an equally fading Suzuki. The latter receiving a track limits warning as he fought with Xavi Artigas on the CFMoto PruestelGP before the Spaniard dispatched Ryusei Yamanaka for tenth.

Öncü reeled in Guevara as lap eight unfolded. The Turkish rider hunting down his maiden victory in the lightweight class before a move from Tech3 to the Ajo KTM team for 2023. Foggia advancing to seventh as his teammate dropped outside of the points. Suzuki collecting a long lap penalty after multiple track limit infringements. Rossi the first crash, at turn six.

Artigas found seventh with ten laps dispatched as he bettered Foggia with a personal best lap. Öncü suffering an issue as he continued to hunt down the leader with the pair now two seconds ahead of Garcia in third with Ortola a further second behind.

McPhee regrouped to 12th at the halfway stage, with fellow Brits Scott Ogden and Josh Whatley circulating in 23rd and 29th respectively on the VisionTrack Hondas. Ogden receiving a track limits warning before leaving the race early with a crash at turn six and rejoining the action from the back of the pack. Honda’s Taiyo Furusato the next to succumb to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo at the same corner.

Sasaki began to reel in Ortola for fourth as he halved the gap to the MTA rider with seven laps to go. The Husqvarna leading a group of six riders into contention for best of the rest with the last of the podium runners, Garcia, over six seconds ahead.

Ortola was quickly dispatched next time around, by both Sasaki and the closely following Muñoz. Artigas crashing out from seventh at the now infamous turn six.

Öncü was on the wheels of the leader with five to go. The pair inseparable as the race counted down with Garcia over four seconds adrift. Further back, Foggia advanced on the second group with a move to fifth. Ortola and Muñoz both dispatched before the rookie immediately hit back. The Italian continuing his charge as he claimed the lead of the group, in fourth, next time around.

Progress from Adrian Fernandez found the Tech3 running eighth with two laps to go having started 24th on the Valencia grid. The ten-strong second group continuing to shuffle as the race neared climax as McPhee continued to circulate in tenth.

Öncü briefly took the lead on the final lap before Guevara struck back with the slipstream to the line, 0.062s denying the Turk and Tech3 their debut win in Moto3 with the Spaniard completing a clean sweep on home soil from the top step.

Garcia consolidated third, and with it the championship runner-up celebrations and a one-two for his dominant Aspar squad. Foggia and Sasaki crossed the line in quick succession to finish fourth and fifth - with the Leopard rider claiming third in the title fight ahead of his move to Moto2 - followed by Fernandez, Muñoz, Rookie of the Year Moreira, Yamanaka and Holgado. McPhee finished his final race with five points, in eleventh, ahead of Ortola, the departing Carlos Tatay and Suzuki with Andrea Migno collecting the final point on his final race in the series.

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