Bo Bendsneyder just missed out of points by 0.051 while his interim team mate Jesko Raffin took home 2 points from the opening race of the season. Already in the first turn of the VisitQatar Grand Prix Bendsneyder had to pull out all the stops to avoid three crashing bikes just in front of him.
Starting from eighteenth Bendsneyder almost got caught up by the crashing bikes of Iker Lecuona, Nicolo Bulega and Jorge Navarro just in front of him. The manoeuvre in the openings stages of the Moto2 race in Qatar cost the Dutch rider of NTS RW Racing GP ten positions. His Swiss teammate could pass the mayhem from the other side moving up in an instant.
From the back of the pack Bendsneyder began working to make up lost ground. In lap 3 already he had moved up to twentieth and by lap 7 he was in seventeenth. By that time Raffin was fighting for fourteenth. Bendsneyder had to close a gap of almost 3 seconds when he got into sixteenth by lap 14. He managed in the final lap when he passed Jorge Martin for fifteenth, but in the final turns the Moto3 champion just got passed Bendsneyder again to grab the last point by a margin of just 0.051.
The fourteenth and sixteenth place show that NTS RW Racing GP can look forward to the upcoming races with confidence, emphasizes RW Racing GP team manager Jarno Janssen. “Of course I am very happy with the two points for Jesko. He had a super race in which he could keep fighting until the end. Hats off, especially because he came in without any preparation on a new machine for him in a strange team and yet he managed to catch those points. We hope that Steven Odendaal will be back in Argentina in three weeks, but with such a replacement I can only be very satisfied.”
There was disappointment about the sixteenth place of Bo Bendsneyder, but not about the race that the Dutchman made. “Bo had to start from the back due to someone else’s brash action. In this competitive field that is an almost impossible task, but he has fought his way back in the race. That he just missed the points is a shame. He has done lap times that are top 10-worthy.”
Bo Bendsneyder: “Losing the race in the first corner is a shame, but I’m glad I finished and that I could fight for the points. In the last six laps I had such a burden of arm pump that I could barely take the brakes. I tried everything to get that last point, but it just didn’t work. We did show that the top 10 would have been possible.”
Jesko Raffin: “Fourteenth in this field, on a strange machine, in a strange team, is really great. My start was good, but it was certainly not easy to overtake in the beginning. When everything was settled, I could hold my rhythm well. We changed the settings of the NTS shortly before the start. That was a gamble because we could not try it, but it worked out well. Thank you so much to NTS RW Racing GP to give me a chance with this awesome machine.”