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Moto3™: Kelso becomes first Australian to stand on the podium since 2014

Sunday, 22 October 2023

The fight for the 2023 Moto3™ crown took a wet twist in a classic dash to the line at the 2023 MotoGP™ Guru by Gryfyn Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Deniz Öncü waited until the final lap to pounce on long-time race leader Ayumu Sasaki to take the win on the Red Bull KTM, taking a narrow victory by 0.407s. Öncü’s third win of the season forced Sasaki to settle for second place for the sixth time in 2023.

Australian star Joel Kelso celebrated a great weekend by taking third place for the first time a few hours after confirming a new deal to continue racing in 2024. The Darwin rider stayed in the leading group for the whole race to take his maiden podium finish on the CFMOTO Racing KTM.


Öncü shone in the wet conditions, picking his way through from seventh on the grid and overcoming three big moments – on the same lap – that at the time cost him two positions.

For much of the race, Adrian Fernandez was looking like a first-time winner. The young Spaniard, the brother of GasGas MotoGP star Raul Fernandez, took control early in the race, but skidded off the circuit on lap 16 of 21, before dragging his Leopard Honda back onto the track to take fifth place, behind Dutch rookie Colin Veijer.

“The race was really long! It was already fading after 10 laps,” a shivering Öncü said after the race.

“I did not really target the win, I just wanted to finish.”

Sasaki was magnanimous in defeat again, while not even the 12 degree ambient temperature could take the smile off Kelso’s face.

“It was tricky conditions, I had to go for it in my home Grand Prix,” said Kelso. “I put it in the bag to get it home safely.”

Points leader Jaume Masia could only watch the 16-point lead he brought to Australia evaporate. Starting 13th, he made early ground take a steady eighth at the flag.

The race started in steady rain and controversial circumstances for title hopeful Dani Holgado who, along with Diogo Moreira, who won a week ago in Indonesia, crashed on the sighting lap, as did second row starter Matteo Bertelle.

As a result, Masia’s points lead is now a slim four points over Sasaki and 22 over Holgado as the Moto3™ field heads to Thailand for the Buriram round next weekend.