Motorcycle Racing

Why MotoGP’s star rookie Acosta has already got KTM orbiting around him

Acosta made remarkable progress through the pack in Sunday's race, sending out a statement by passing reigning champion Bagnaia

Pedro Acosta’s third place in last weekend’s MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix makes him the third youngest rider in the premium category ever to score a podium. Only Randy Mamola (19 years and 261 days) and Eduardo Salatino (19 days and 274 days) have managed the feat at a younger age than Acosta, who ascended the Portimao rostrum on Sunday at the age of 19 years and 304 days.

Without detracting from Mamola and Salatino’s achievements, and assuming that comparisons between athletes from different eras are always distorted, it is clear that the current level of competition in the world championship makes the rookie’s feat a memorable one.

Since the arrival of Marc Marquez in 2013, no newcomer has performed at the level of the Tech3 youngster, who has already proven capable of stealing the limelight from such established stars as Francesco Bagnaia and even Marquez himself.

Despite having only been in MotoGP for two grands prix, the stats that accompany the youngster from Murcia and the calculations made by Pierer Mobility of what is to come place Acosta in a privileged position to become the spearhead of Stefan Pierer’s group. In fact, if we pay attention to those who spoke about him at the Algarve circuit, he probably already is.

In Qatar, his first race in the premier class, Acosta finished ninth in the main race, but was hampered in the final laps by an overload in his arm as a result of the forced movement he had to make to activate the rear height device, which had changed position from the one he had occupied in the pre-season test.

That problem, coupled with a very aggressive riding style that doesn’t take great care of the tyres, dropped him back from having the podium in his sights with eight laps to go. But he still had time to record the fastest lap, making him the youngest ever to do so.

With the lever repositioned for the second round on the calendar, Acosta let loose in Portugal. In an era when most of the grid agrees that overtaking is virtually impossible with the prominent aerodynamics of today’s bikes, the ‘Shark’ went on a binge.

Acosta made remarkable progress through the pack in Sunday’s race, sending out a statement by passing reigning champion Bagnaia

Photo by: Dorna

After starting seventh, he completed the first lap in the same spot but lost one on lap four. From there, he waited for things to calm down a bit before unleashing an attack that saw him overhaul Jack Miller (seventh) and Brad Binder

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