CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP team had travelled to Italy with optimism as they looked to make up for their poor luck from the previous year, where Xavi Artigas in particular was robbed of a promising place due to a Long Lap penalty. The weather in Misano played along during the weekend and remained sunny and hot throughout the days of the twelfth round despite the proximity to the long Italian Adriatic coast.
It was a special weekend for CFMOTO and the team, because the enthusiasm for the Chinese motorcycle brand is also growing in Italy. So many fans were on hand when it came to practice on Friday and Saturday, followed by qualifying. #66 Joel Kelso found his place and lines to make it through Q1. #43 Xavi Artigas was not so fortunate: a crazy four hundredths of a second was the difference, but that’s racing! The Spaniard finished Saturday 20th on the grid. Kelso went into Q2 warmed up and was in 11th place at the end of the 15 minutes, putting him in the middle of the fourth row.
On Sunday morning, Moto3™ delivered entertainment and thrills by the bucketload. The 20-laps were run with a group of four chasing for the podium positions. Kelso, who started from 11th position, made a strong move up to P8 in the opening laps but was unable to maintain the fast pace of the race and finished 20th. Artigas was mired towards the second half of the top twenty. The Spaniard persisted and made 17th by the end of the race but was disappointed not to grasp any points.
CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP now embarks on a journey for what will be a new frontier for MotoGP™. The series is set to visit India for the very first time in its 74-year history in two weeks. The former F1 venue, the Buddh International Circuit, is currently preparing for its Grand Prix racing world championship debut and MotoGP™ will land in the paddock southeast of New Delhi.
CFMOTO will be hoping to learn the track quickly and seek classifications to try and rise from 9th in the Teams Championship. Artigas is situated in the top eleven and is 6 points from 10th. Kelso is 21st in the standings although has missed two rounds due to injury.
#43 Xavier Artigas I P17
“That’s the San Marino GP finished and I’m quite happy with the race pace we managed to have but we weren’t in the position that we wanted or hoped for. We know we have to be better with our Saturdays and the qualification; when that happens then we’ll make a step forward. We can only look ahead now and keep focussing on improvements to be further up the leaderboard.”
#66 Joel Kelso I P19
“Frustrating in general. We have the pace when we are alone but then struggle to stay in the slipstream. We need to go back and try to understand this. We need more speed in corner exit and will work as hard as we can to be better in India.”
Moto3™ Results 2023 Gran Premio Red Bull di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini
1. David Alonso (COL) GASGAS 34:04.490
2. Jaume Masia (ESP) Honda +0.036
3. Deniz Öncü (TUR) KTM +0.237
17. Xavier Artigas (ESP), CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP +17.232
19. Joel Kelso (AUS), CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP +17.584
Moto3™ 2023 world championship standings after 12 of 20 rounds
1. Daniel Holgado (ESP) KTM, 161 points
2. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna, 157
3. Jaume Masia (ESP) Honda 149
11. Xavier Artigas (ESP) CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP, 60
21. Joel Kelso (AUS), CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP, 19
Pictures by © RLekl