Pedro Acosta draws emotional conclusions after MotoGP debut

“Honestly, I don’t even know what to say. So many things happened in 40 minutes,” says Pedro Acosta (Tech3-GasGas) after his first Grand Prix in the premier class MotoGP.

The rookie impressed with eighth place in the sprint on Saturday at the Lusail International Circuit in Qatar and thus collected his first world championship points straight away.

And before that, Acosta had already given a test of talent in qualifying with eighth place on the grid. At the start of the Grand Prix he was accelerating alongside Alex Marquez (Gresini-Ducati) when Jack Miller’s KTM suddenly shot through between the two Spaniards.

“Miller overtook me like a rocket, that was crazy,” says Acosta and was right in the middle of the MotoGP gun smoke. “It wasn’t the best start, but after that everything was great.”

The 19-year-old finished the first lap in tenth place. But then he set off fireworks and overtook rider after rider. He looked like a veteran, even though Acosta was only starting his fourth season in the World Cup.

“The feeling for the front tire was super good. I haven’t been able to attack like that since my first Moto3 season. You could see how much speed I was able to carry and only slow down very late. That was really incredible.”

Acosta overtook Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), last year’s winner Fabio Di Giannantonio (VR46-Ducati), Enea Bastianini (Ducati), who won in Qatar in 2022, and then Alex Marquez (Gresini-Ducati).

After five laps, Acosta was already fifth. He then followed Marc Marquez (Gresini-Ducati) for a long time. What did Acosta learn from racing with the established stars? “I learned a lot of things, I can’t name one thing. But I saw their mentality.”

“They drove super smoothly and didn’t do anything crazy. They didn’t burn the tires, they waited until the end. Still, they drove very fast. Maybe I didn’t have the pace to go with them to the end.”

Acosta was finally able to overtake Marc Marquez. “It was quite tricky to overtake him because I couldn’t make any mistakes. He braked later than me. It was really nice to be on the track with him and have this duel.”

He then closed in on the podium positions, but his lap times slowed in the final third of the race. Until the 13th lap, Acosta drove high laps of 1:52. Afterwards he had trouble even driving high laps of 1:53.

A trend that was to be expected. “When he overtook me,” says Alex Marquez, “I said to myself that he could drive. I didn’t want to lose any time. Then I saw that he was driving like he was in qualifying mode.”

“I would have been surprised if he had made it to the end like that. He did well, but he has to manage it and get to the finish. It’s a matter of time before he gets that experience.”

Acosta was eventually pushed back to ninth place. “Maybe I burned the tires too much at the beginning,” he says himself. “I knew my tire management wasn’t the best.”

“You could see the tire smoking at the exit of Turn 10, but that also makes for nice TV pictures,” laughs the rookie. “I have to manage the tires better because that wasn’t right today. The bike was perfect.”

“Maybe I was too optimistic and went full throttle. But I also have to be happy that I made such mistakes because now I have more information for Portimao. Yesterday [im Sprint] I made a lot more mistakes in the race over eleven laps.”

In addition to tire management, Acosta also writes better starts into his task book. Because if he is in the leading group from the start, he can keep up the pace in the first half of the race and manage the tires better.

On his first MotoGP weekend, the reigning Moto2 world champion made headlines around the world. How does he himself deal with this euphoria? “In my first Moto3 season I had more attention than the big boys. But what does that mean? Nothing. When microphones and cameras come, you decide for yourself whether you listen or not.”