Unexpected finish for Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 team in Malaysian GP


Deniz Öncü finishes in twelfth position, whilst Jose Antonio Rueda suffers a crash on the final laps.

The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders had an unfortunate Sunday at the Sepang International Circuit. After fighting in the front group until the closing laps, Jose Antonio Rueda had a crash that took him out of contention. Deniz Öncü was also involved in the incident, and after rejoining the race he finished in twelfth position.

Öncü began the Malaysian Grand Prix race from ninth and, after a great start, climbed up to the Top 5. He maintained a good pace from the start and was able to reach the podium positions, although there were numerous overtaking moves to contend with. The Turkish rider tried to stay on the rostrum and even fight for victory, but he was knocked down with three laps remaining. Remounting, he crossed the finish line in twelfth position but, after the penalties received by other riders, he finally finished eleventh. With 196 points, he is fifth in the overall standings.

Rueda had achieved one of his best qualifying results to date, and he started the race in sixth position. The Moto3 rookie took a big step forward over the weekend and improved significantly, despite it being a new and very demanding circuit for him. The Spaniard was able to stay in the front group and fight with the leaders for the best possible position. With 3 laps remaining and amidst constant changes of positions, Rueda made a mistake that caused him to crash – taking out his teammate in the process – and he was unable to rejoin the race. He is tenth in the Moto3 standings with 111 points.

The next round of the Moto3 World Championship will be the Qatar Grand Prix, from November 17-19th.

Results (Moto3 race)
1. Collin Veijer (Husqvarna) 33:30.072
2. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) +0.066
3. Jaume Masia (Honda) +0.328
4. Ivan Ortola (KTM) +6.830
5. David Muñoz (KTM) +6.878
12. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +14.095
DNF. Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo)

Moto3 World Championship Standing 2023
1. Jaume Masia (Honda) 246 points
2. Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna) 233 points
3. David Alonso (GasGas) 205 points
4. Daniel Holgado (KTM) 205 points
5. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 196 points
15. Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 111 points

Moto3 Teams World Championship Standings 2023
1. Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intanct GP 363 points
2. Leopard Racing 319 points
3. Red Bull KTM Ajo 307 points
4. Gaviota GasGas Aspar Team 283 points
5. Angeluss MTA Team 271 points

Aki Ajo – Team Manager
“Of course we are disappointed about how the Moto3 race ended. Both of our riders were fighting in the leading group and they made progress during the weekend. Unfortunately, Rueda had a small mistake when braking and he crashed, hitting Deniz in the incident. In any case we have to be positive, because both Öncü and Rueda were competitive and Rueda also took a good step forward and improved his results. Now we have to focus on Qatar and the final races of the season.”

“I was having a good weekend, I was fighting for the victory and I was managing the race during the last laps. My teammate made a mistake and crashed, taking me out as well. Mistakes can happen and I did the same things in the past. He’s learning. Hopefully, this will not happen again, but we’ll keep our heads up because next weekend we go to Qatar and we are ready to fight for the win again.”

“First of all I want to apologise to my teammate Deniz, I made a mistake and we both crashed. I also want to apologise to the team because we both deserved to be at the top and on the podium and I ruined his race too. Apart from this I am happy with the progress we made over the weekend; we have done a lot and we have taken a big step forward both with the bike and with my riding. I felt good and we were able to be in the front group. In the end, these things happen, we will learn from this for the future and not make these mistakes again.”