Kelso makes strong front row start to ‘Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya’ but Artigas takes the points

After a difficult weekend in Austria, the CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP riders wanted to attack again in Barcelona, Spain. The weather conditions were difficult to assess in advance, as the Catalan Grand Prix was usually held in June. In the end it was a rather stormy climate with pleasant temperatures and the constant threat of rain showers.

What started sluggishly in terms of lap times for Xavier Artigas and Joel Kelso in practice on Friday, improved from session to session on Saturday. But only Kelso made the hard-fought leap into Q2. With his bike warmed up, the Australian was able to brilliantly use the slipstream of the other riders in his last fast lap and set the third fastest time. This earned him a spot on the front row of the grid for the fourth time this season.

As usual, Moto3™ opened race day and 18 laps under grey but warm skies. Kelso made a promising start and stayed in the top 3 for many laps. After a hard contact with another rider, Kelso lost positions. It took him a few laps to get back into his fast riding rhythm. Meanwhile, the two CFMOTO factory riders were on level terms as Artigas fought his way further and further up the field from 24th on the grid. With less than 7 seconds from the winner, Artigas made it to P13, while Kelso ended up frustrated outside the points in P18.

CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP are now 9th in the Teams Championship. Artigas is 10th and Kelso is 21st in the Riders contest. The ‘Gran Premio Red Bull di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini’ will take MotoGP™ to the east coast of Italy and to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli next week.

#43 Xavier Artigas I P13

“Not the result we wanted at my home Grand Prix but I’m still quite happy with how things went; it was a shame the way the group broke but, being realistic, we made a forward step because I felt good and comfortable on the bike. In Misano I hope we can be fighting further forward and with the confidence we need.”

#66 Joel Kelso I P18

“I need to improve. I lost eight positions by being hit out on the last corner but struggled to recover from that. I need to figure out how to race better at this level and the results will instantly change. People can see that I have the pace and the speed and I just need to make that breakthrough. Yes, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time but I had only seven laps to show what I can do. I should have stayed right at the front. I want to thank the people that believe in me because our time will come.”

Florian Prüstel I Team Manager

“After a satisfactory start to the season, we are currently struggling with our performance. The team is trying hard to provide fast bikes for Xavi and Joel. We seem to be lacking the necessary confidence at the moment to be placed at the front. This is another reason why we have put an experienced man in the pit with Efrén Vázquez. He will act as riding coach and analyse how we can move forward.”

Moto3 Results 2023 Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya

1. David Alonso (COL) GASGAS 33:00.945

2. Jaume Masia (ESP) Honda +0.076

3. Jose Rueda (ESP) KTM +0.234

13. Xavier Artigas (ESP), CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP +6.458

18. Joel Kelso (AUS), CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP +7.098

Moto3 2023 world championship standings after 11 of 20 rounds

1. Daniel Holgado (ESP) KTM, 161 points

2. Ayumu Sasaki (JPN) Husqvarna, 148

3. Jaume Masia (ESP) Honda, 129

10. Xavier Artigas (ESP) CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP, 60

21. Joel Kelso (AUS), CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP, 19


Pictures by © RLekl

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