Andrea Migno held off Sergio Garcia to claim victory in the opening round of the 2022 Moto3 wiorld championship in Qatar after runaway leader Ayumu Sasaki was forced to retire.
Migno looked to be Sasaki’s main challenger for victory throughout the encounter as he looked to put pressure on the Japanese ace, who had managed to make an early break on his MAX Racing machine to the tune of around two seconds after just six laps.
The Italian struggled to catch Sasaki as the race went on though and was soon passed by Kaito Toba and Deniz Oncu, though the race was soon blown wide open as Sasaki was forced to retire – seemingly due to a loose fairing caused by a small high-side – having at one point possessed a 3.4 second advantage.
Migno soon challenged towards the front again, though the leading trio were caught by a recovering Sergio Garcia who had served a long-lap penalty for an early race incident with Carlos Tatay in which the Prustel GP man crashed at the final bend.
Migno led the way as the final lap began ahead of Garcia, though Toba managed to make a move on the GasGas rider early on to try and challenge for his second career success.
Garcia was having none of it though as he re-passed him just a few corners later, though this allowed Migno to escape out in front.
The Spaniard pushed hard around the remainder of the tour to try and catch Migno, though ultimately came up short on the run to the line by just 0.037s, with Toba holding off Oncu for the final rostrum position.
John McPhee completed the top five having lost touch with the lead quartet over the final few circulations, while Brazilian rookie Diego Moreira scored a brilliant sixth having started a lowly 21st on the grid.
Dennis Foggia put in a stunning fight-back from the back of the grid – as well as serving a pair of long-lap punishments for irresponsible riding during qualifying – to claim seventh in the end ahead of Izan Guevara who also had a double long-lap penalty.
Ryusei Yamanaka was ninth for the MT Helmets squad, while Xavier Artigas rounded out the top ten on his Prustel GP challenger.
Ana Carrasco ended her first Moto3 race since 2015 down in 20th, while early title favourite Jaume Masia ended his race in the gravel trap at mid-distance after a touch with Toba.
The new Visiontrack Racing outfit had a tricky first event in the lightweight class after Scott Ogden crashed from 19th at Turn 15 just over half-a-dozen laps in, while Josh Whatley came home in 22nd.