Has MotoGP just discovered its newest star?

Has MotoGP just discovered its newest star?


Amongst the furore and tension leading up to MotoGP’s curtain raiser in Qatar, there was one rider who lived up to all the hype as the lights went out for the 2024 season.

Being a two-time world champion by the age of just 19 - Pedro Acosta’s much anticipated premier class debut finally came to fruition last weekend as he took control of a GasGas Tech3 KTM RC16.

And it wasn’t long before he made his mark, announcing his presence on just the first day of proceedings by finishing third in both practice sessions.

But like every series in motorsport, it’s not the practice sessions that count; it’s the race.

The Spaniard proved very quickly that his pace wasn’t just a one off, as he went on to qualify eighth on the grid on the Saturday, before finishing within the top-10 in both the Sprint and main race.

It’s fair to say the GasGas rider wasn’t afraid to rub shoulders with some of the strongest riders on the grid, as he took the fight to the top-five on Sunday afternoon, even battling with eight-time champion Marc Marquez in the process for almost three quarters of the race.

“There is nothing bad to say today, I was living the dream for 15 laps,” he told MotoGP.com following the race.

“We need to be happy. It’s true that at the end of the race we struggled a bit with the management of the tyre, but I was 15 laps doing everything I know to do.

“I prefer to do 15 laps like this with the fastest riders in the world than spend 21 [laps] being in the top-nine for nothing.”

His lack of top-flight experience came to show as the race wore on with the tyre problems eventually taking its toll on the top-class debutant, but despite this, there was very little more to ask for a first weekend spent racing in the premier class.

It’s these issues which will be ironed out over the coming races – and spending the majority of the race at the front end of the grid will do him a world of good to get to grips with a MotoGP machine.

“[I learned] a lot,” he said when asked about racing at the front.

“I see what the big boys are doing and how the big boys were managing, I see how it was riding with the turbulence and how they were picking up the bike to save the tyre.

“Tomorrow I will be calmer and understanding everything, but today was a super nice race.”

For now, Acosta can unwind before the second round of 2024 gets underway in Portimão in less than two weeks’ time - a track which may be a little trickier to master given he is yet to ride the RC16 around the Portuguese circuit.

But one thing is for certain: MotoGP’s next star is most certainly here.