Moto3 star Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) had a thrilling start to his first season with Honda, taking third place in the first Grand Prix of the day, just 0.094 seconds behind the winner.
The 23-year-old South African started from pole position and fought for the lead throughout.
The lead group numbered a dozen riders, with positions changing at every corner, and the windy conditions making slipstreaming more important than ever. Binder, contesting his 100th Grand Prix, led on many occasions, riding with breathtaking accuracy and using the slipstream superbly. On the last lap he thought he had placed himself in the correct place, just behind the two riders ahead, but a gust of wind pushed him wide at Turn 12, leaving him with too much work to do in the final few corners.
Next Honda across the finish line was Gabriel Rodrigo (Team Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) in fifth place, less than nine tenths of a second behind the winner. The 24-year-old Argentinean was one of the fastest riders in the race but lost vital time in the final laps when a collision pushed him off the track and down to 13th. He did brilliantly to recover so well from that incident.
Four of Honda’s top riders suffered ill-luck at the hands of over-aggressive rivals. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) was taken out on the very first lap, while Jeremy Alcoba (Team Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW, John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) and Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) were side-swiped in one go on lap three.
Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) rode a great race to eighth after starting the race from last on the grid. The 23-year-old from Chiba had a tough weekend because he missed pre-season testing after contracting COVID-19 and is still dealing with the after-effects of the virus.
Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) started his second Grand Prix season with a 16th place finish, the 18-year-old from Setagaya missing his first World Championship points by just 0.066 seconds. Kunii might have scored those points but for losing some time in the early laps, after which he came back strongly.
Andi Farid Izdihar (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) ended his first Moto3 Grand Prix in 21st. The 23-year-old Indonesian also lost time early on when another rider crashed in front of him. After that he was riding alone, without the benefit of a slipstream from the riders ahead of him.
First race of today was the Honda-supported Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup in which all riders race identical Honda NSF250R machines. Sixteen-year-old Japanese rider Taiyo Furusato backed up his victory in yesterday’s season-opening race with another win, this time an amazing 9.077 seconds ahead of the pack. To underline Furusato’s dominance the next six riders were covered by 0.076 seconds.
Furusato was joined on the podium by 16-year-old countryman Kanta Hamada and 13-year-old Malaysian Hakim Danish, who also finished third in yesterday’s race.
Riders and teams remain in Qatar for next weekend’s Doha Grand Prix, also at Losail. Then the paddock returns to Europe for the first European race of 2021, the Portuguese Grand Prix at Algarve International Circuit on April 18.