Yuki Kunii (Asia Talent Team) led from lights to flag in the 17 lap Moto3 Junior World Championship race at Le Mans this afternoon.
The Japanese rider was a class above everyone else as he opened a gap of around 8 seconds at one stage. In the battle for the remaining podium places José Garcia (FAU55 El Señor de las Bolsas) managed to get the better of Jeremy Alcoba (LaGlisse ACademy).
The track was damp when the riders began the race but a dry line developed and lap times improved as the race went on. Kunii made no mistake after setting off from pole position. Denis Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) stormed from through from seventh to second place on the opening lap but couldn’t hold on to the position eventually slipping backwards. Kunii had already made a one second lead after the first lap. After Öncü couldn’t maintain his good start it was Jeremy Alcoba, José Garcia, Barry Baltus (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) and Daniel Holgado (Junior Team Estrella Galicia) left to fight for the remaining rostrum places.
Whilst Kunii continued to stretch the gap at the front these four battled on. None were able to shake the others off. Whilst positions did change, lap after lap they were bound together. Unable to close down Kunii they came under pressure in the final laps from the number 99 of Carlos Tatay (Fundación Andreas Perez 77). He went on to eventually tag on the back on the final lap. However, despite his best efforts he finished sixth. Ahead of him José Garcia managed to overtake Jeremy Alcoba with just a couple of corners remaining to take second position. Alcoba completed the podium finishing ahead of Holgado and Baltus in fourth and fifth.
Xavier Artigas (Lopard Impala Junior Team) had come into the weekend in second place in championship. He started 18th on the grid coming through to finish seventh and pick up nine valuable points.
Race winner in Valencia, Ryusei Yamanaka (Junior Team Estrella Galicia) had a disappointing race. After he crashed at turn six early in the race he rejoined but crossed the line 32nd.
Deniz Öncü will have been pleased to get some points on the board although it did look early on that he might score more than 8 for his 8th place today.
British rider Max Cook (British Talent Team) was out of luck during this race. He started 21st on the grid and any thoughts of making up a number of places early on was thwarted when Suryo Aji and Carraro came together on the first lap. Cook was forced to take evasive action into the gravel. He came back from 34th to finish 18th but frustratingly out of the points. The racing incident was a real blow as he was very competitive and set the sixth fastest lap of the race.
Kunii now leads the championship with 70 points. His nearest rival is Jeremy Alcoba on 57 points. Just four point further back is Xavier Artigas on 53 points.
Moto3 JWC Le Mans 2019
|2||José Julián GARCÍA|
|19||Meikon Yuji KAWAKAMI|
|26||Billy VAN EERDE|
|29||Luis Miguel VERDUGO|