Bendsneyder places inside Top 10 at sweltering Sepang


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes tenth position at the penultimate round of 2017. Niccolo Antonelli suffers a crash when in seventh.

The Moto3 Malaysian GP took place on Sunday morning, amidst ambient temperatures reaching 34ºC and 54% of humidity. Bo Bendsneyder was nevertheless able to put in a good performance with a tenth place at the track where last year he achieved his second Grand Prix podium. This is the sixth Top 10 of the year for the Dutchman. Niccolo Antonelli suffered a crash on Lap 9 in the midst of a comeback through the field.

Bendsneyder made a great start, placing second on the first sector. The Dutchman was able to keep in the podium positions until the second lap, when due to slipstreams on the two long straights he lost places. From that moment, Red Bull KTM Ajo rider dropped into the fight for fifth position along with six other competitors. At the end of the 19-lap race, he crossed the finish line in tenth place.

Starting from tenth position, Antonelli gradually upped his pace and climbed positions. On the ninth lap, when in seventh position, he suffered a crash at the last corner that left him out of contention.

After 17 Grands Prix, Bo Bendsneyder is fifteenth in the overall standings with 61 points; Niccolo Antonelli is eighteenth with 16. At Valencia in a fortnight’s time -November 12th- the Moto3 class will have their season finale.

Aki Ajo – Team Manager
“We expected to be able to fight for the top positions in today’s Moto3 race. The start was very good but unfortunately Niccolo [Antonelli] crashed and Bo [Bendsneyder] lost some positions on the last corner, although he fought hard. Finishing the race in the Top 10 is nevertheless a positive result. During the weekend the pace has been quite promising in any case, so now we’re going to focus on the last race in Valencia.”

Results (Race)
1. Joan Mir (Honda) 40:14.545
2. Jorge Martin (Honda) +0.724
3. Enea Bastianini (Honda) +0.763
4. Livio Loi (Honda) +6.868
5. John McPhee (Honda) +11.051
10. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +12.062
DNF – Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo)

Moto3 World Championship Standing 2017
1. Joan Mir (Honda) 321 points
2. Romano Fenati (Honda) 235 points
3. Aron Canet (Honda) 192 points
4. Jorge Martin (Honda) 171 points
5. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Honda) 153 points
15. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 61 points
18. Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 36 points


“It was a shame to finish this weekend with a crash in the race, because we had done a good job throughout the weekend here in Sepang. I was feeling good in the race and had already gained some positions, with a solid pace. On the last corner I came in a little too tight, and on the exit the bike spun round and I couldn’t avoid the crash. It was a shame to make that mistake, because today we could have achieved a good result.”

“I made a good start and overall it was a good race, in which I felt comfortable riding. It is true that I lost some positions but from mid-race onward I felt strong enough to attack, although with Niccolo [Antonelli]’s crash I had to dodge out of the way and I lost a lot of time. I continued to push hard to get back into the fight for fifth place. When the tyre performance dropped off, with my weight and height I had a hard time fighting for better positions and the other riders passed me on the straights. On the last corner I tried to give everything, but I went wide and I was overtaken. Now I just hope to do well in my last Moto3 race in Valencia.”