The tenth of 20 rounds of the Motorcycle World Championship took the CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP team to Austria. At the CryptoDATA Motorcycle Grand Prix of Austria at the Red Bull Ring, CFMOTO factory riders Joel Kelso and Xavi Artigas attempted to attack the Moto3™ grid and rode their race bikes to 16th and 19th place.
Once again, it was the mix of racing tradition and highspeed that characterized the latest guest appearance of the MotoGP™ World Championship: with mainly dry summer weather throughout the race weekend, the track welcomed the field of riders in the smallest racing class. CFMOTO rider #66 Joel Kelso showed a strong performance in the Friday and Saturday sessions and, after a a fast lap, the Australian reached the ninth place in the grid .
With only a little more than a second of distance between him an the pole setter Spaniard #43 Xavier Artigas had to settle for 22nd place.
On Sunday morning, the race of the Grand Prix of Austria was held over 20 hard laps. Initially starting together, the starting field split into three groups. While Kelso positioned himself at the head of the second group, Artigas was not able to catch up with the leading group. In the final gripping laps of the young wilds, Kelso tried his hardest to stay in the points, but narrowly missed out also due to a harshly imposed Long Lap Penalty. Artigas crossed the finish line in 19th.
CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP thus retains eighth place out of 14 in the team standings. In the rider standings, Xavi is in ninth place, his teammate Kelso is in 20th place.
With the Swiss #12 Noah Dettwiler, a Wildcord rider also competed on behalf of our team this weekend. In his debut in the motorcycle world championship he showed a strong first performance and finally reached a respectable 20th place.
With the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, the eleventh round will be held in two weeks’ time, most likely also in summer heat. With a good mix of high-speed and slower sections, it promises to be another highlight of the racing calendar at the gates of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. See you in Barcelona!
#66 Joel Kelso I P16
“A tricky one. We got off to a good start and then I was happy with my pace but I was missing just a little bit extra. At one point I had a track limits warning and then when I was passed by someone I was pushed onto the green zone. I wasn’t expecting a penalty because of the circumstances but for some reason they gave me a Long Lap. That was disappointing because I could have stayed in the group ahead for the top ten. I felt strong on the bike but lost four seconds for that lap. I didn’t deserve it…but we’ll keep working.”
#43 Xavier Artigas I P19
“Another weekend done and it was a hard one. We didn’t have the best feeling on the track but we found a technical combination that helped. We need to keep confident and to keep pushing. For sure in Barcelona and my home GP we’ll make an important jump forwards. It’s what we need at the moment.”
#12 Noah Dettwiler I P20
“It was a very positive weekend. I was really looking forward to my first world championship race and tried to be as relaxed as possible. We were able to improve from the first practice to qualifying and narrow the gap to the front. We did a great job with the team, tyre choice and setting were just right. In the race I could have been more aggressive from the beginning, I felt that myself. But I was able to make up for the places I lost and even move up. To finish 20th on my debut makes me very happy. And the most important thing for me: I had fun riding.”
Results 2023 CryptoDATA Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich
1. Deniz Öncü (TUR) KTM 34:04.291
2. Daniel Holgado (ESP) KTM +0.005
3. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna +0.119
16. Joel Kelso (AUS), CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP +19.415
19. Xavier Artigas (ESP), CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP +21.524
Moto3™ 2023 world championship standings after 10 of 20 rounds
1. Daniel Holgado (ESP) KTM, 161 points
2. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna, 135
3. Deniz Öncü (TUR) KTM, 124
9. Xavier Artigas (ESP) CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP, 57
20. Joel Kelso (AUS), CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP, 19
Pictures by © RLekl