It was an opening battle how only Moto3 can do it. Up to 15 riders fought for a podium finish in the leading group of the first race of the 2019 season at the Losail International Circuit. In the middle of it all: the Redox PrüstelGP pilot, Jakub Kornfeil. Moto3 rookie, Filip Salac, gritted his teeth after his highsider on Saturday and finished the famous floodlight race in Qatar.
In the warm-up, the 25-year-old Czech, Jakub Kornfeil, had another important tyre decision to make. He had to find a tyre which he could best compete with the top group in the 18-lap long race in Qatar. Kornfeil started the race from position 14. He quickly managed to close uo with the top group and even rode to sixth position inbetween. It was an incredibly close and difficult race, from the first to the last lap. Numerous overtaking maneuvers mixed the field so that it was unclear who would win one of the three highly contested podium places. On the 1068 meter long straight, however, the veteran lacked sufficient top speed. With a gap of 0.903 seconds to the race winner, Kaito Toba, it was enough for the tenth place, which was not satisfying for the highly motivated Kornfeil. Nevertheless, Kornfeil takes home six championship points.
On race Sunday Filip Salac was faced with the aftermath of his highsider from the FP3 on Saturday morning. Thanks to painkillers he got his pain under control and was able to do both the warm-up and his first race for the Redox PrüstelGP team. The youngster started from position 28 and had a good start, but already in the first corner, the 17-year-old Salac had to avoid another pilot and went wide. As a result, he lost the connection to the group in front of him. From then on, the former Red Bull Rookies Cup rider fought in a group of five riders. At times, Salac rode up to position 19. In the end, Filip Salac crossed the finish line in twenty-one. The young pilot is not satisfied with his performance, but knows that he can be happy to have got the start clearance at all. With much motivation, he now looks to Argentina, another new track for the Moto3 rookie. But before that, he will do everything in his power to get on his KTM again top fit for round two of the Moto3 world championship.
The first race of the season is history, the first points have been collected and the team around the two Czech riders also take a lot of new information to Termas de Rio Hondo. The second stop will take the Redox PrüstelGP Team to Argentina, where from 29.-31.03. the cards are shuffled again.
It was a strong race and I was I a big group fighting with everyone. Unfortunately my tyres dropped in the middle of the race so I couldn’t push aas hard anymore. But we knew it would be like this but I was still happy about the tyre choice because the Medium wasn’t working for me at all. I was hoping to finish further to the front but this is the world championship and so every little mistake costs you positions. It was a difficult race, sometimes even a bit crazy but I enjoyed it and thats important. My bike was working very well so thanks to my team for putting the bike together like this after all the testing. I still have mixed feelings because, yes, we wanted top 10 and we achieved that but off course we are not satisfied with this and our expectation is higher. Two times I was nearly on the ground but I managed to stay on the bike. I am a little but unhappy about the last lap because I think I was a bit too patient. In the first two sectors fo the last lap I was really strong but I guess then I was too patient. Maybe this has costs me seventh position or so. Sometimes you can win some positions on the straight but today I couldn’t find anything on the straight. It wasn’t a perfect race but the battle was surely amazing for the spectators and I finished only 0.9 second behind the winner so that’s not too bad. We just have to learn from it and keep working hard in Argentina.
After the warm-up I felt pretty good, besides the pain I was in from my crash in FP3 on Saturday but I already had some problems with rear grip. We tried to fix it but unfortunately we didn’t.mIn the race I had a pretty good start but in the first corner I made a mistake because I was on the outside and one rider went straight so I had to run wide not to crash. I lost connection to the group in front of me and then I was fighting in the back with five riders. Of course I am unhappy to finish my first race in 21st position because I hoped to be better. My grip actually dropped after the sixth lap and so I couldn’t really push much harder and I had to be careful with opening the throttle. It was only my first race and I mean yesterday I didn’t get to leave the hospital until 6 o’clock and it was still uncertain if I was able to ride. This all made me unhappy. Now I am looking forward to Argentina and I wanna say thanks to my mechanics, team and sponsors.
For us as a team, it’s almost like a complete new beginning with our rookie, Filip Salac. With Jakub as an experienced pilot, we knew that the top 10 is possible. In the free practice we were with the front and we also made the direct entry into Q2. Unfortunately, Filip crashed heavily in the FP3 and had to go to hospital, whereupon he unfortunately missed the Q1. But today in the race we showed that we can ride in the front group. Of course we are not super satisfied with the tenth place, but it is a solid start and we made the best of it. Of course it was difficult for Filip. He is inexperienced, does not know the track and had to digest a high-sider but he has now arrived in the Moto3 World Championship and knows how how high the competitiveness is. Many thanks to the team, that has also made it through their first race together in this constellation. It worked very well, but also thanks to the sponsors who have supported us here in Qatar and from home. We are now focusing on Argentina and are looking forward to having another chance to attack in three weeks.