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Small moment has big consequences for Kelso

Monday, 4 September 2023

A final-turn run-off detached Joel Kelso from the leading group in Barcelona after a brilliant qualifying performance, the Australian missing the points in Moto3™.

Joel Kelso has paid a giant price for a tiny mid-race moment at a wild Moto3™ race at the Catalunya Grand Prix on Sunday, the Australian finishing in 18th place after starting from the front row of the grid.

The Australian, who came to Barcelona looking for a new employer for 2024 after being told by his CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP team that he wouldn't be retained for next season after the previous race in Austria, crossed the line 7.098secs adrift of race-winner David Alonso (GasGas) after 18 white-knuckle laps, and was just one second behind teammate Xavier Artigas, who finished 13th at the head of a second group of riders who stretched down to 20th place.


Kelso once again defied his machinery to be a star of qualifying on Saturday, coming through Q1 and ending up on the front row for the fourth time this season in the nine Grands Prix he's entered.

"Now I've got that extra motivation because I have to put myself in the shop window, and what better way … I've just got to keep working like this and hopefully get another opportunity to prove myself," Kelso said after qualifying.

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The 20-year-old held his nerve and gave as good as he got in a frantic opening to the race that barely abated for the 18-lap distance, but fell from fourth on lap four to ninth on lap six before being pushed wide at the final corner of the 14-turn Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on lap seven, plummeting out of the points into 18th place.

After briefly dropping to 21st, a determined Kelso gritted his teeth and latched back on to the second group of riders as a 14-bike battle disputed the victory, and climbed back into the points in 15th with two laps remaining before being shuffled to 18th at the chequered flag.

"I lost eight positions when I got hit in the last corner and struggled to recover," Kelso said.

"People see that I have the pace and the speed, but … we have to make the final breakthrough. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I only had seven laps to show what I could do."

Kelso's next chance to add to his three points-scoring results this season comes at Misano for the San Marino Grand Prix in just seven days time.

Joel's Catalunya Grand Prix by the numbers

  • Qualified: 3rd
  • Race (18 laps): 18th
  • Fastest lap: 1min 49.494secs (20th), lap 11
  • Points this event: 0
  • Points this season: 19 (21st in world championship)