Misano turned up the heat for race day, quite literally, and the lightweight class action had to match. Mission accomplished as far as the SIC58 squad was concerned, a jubilant Paolo Simoncelli celebrating a precious home win and a long overdue first win for Tatsuki Suzuki. The Japanese rider led the way for most the race and responded brilliantly to every challenge thrown his way. One of those came from John McPhee, although the Petronas rider only really popped up in the podium battle on the final lap and snatched a surprise second place from Tony Arbolino. The Italian continues an excellent podium run and is getting ever nearer in the title battle.
Suzuki had made a great start from pole position, while Arbolino found his way past Aron Canet into turn one. Meanwhile, Lorenzo Dalla Porta lost a couple of places at the start and had to make progress from 9th spot. While the championship leader was looking for a way around Andrea Migno, all eyes were on another Italian, Arbolino starting lap two in the lead from Suzuki and Canet. After an early mistake from Arbolino, the poleman found his way back around turn 14 by the end of that same lap.
Despite all the attention being on the trio ahead and the couple of early crashes from the likes of Alonso Lopez and Albert Arenas, the lead pack was still significant, 15 men still in it at the end of lap three. More drama was to come and reduce the numbers amongst the leaders, most significantly on lap four, when Niccolo Antonelli high-sided at turn five and brought Celestino Vietti down with him, while Canet’s machine suffered a failure and the Spaniard had to retreat to the pits while gesticulating his justifiable disappointment.
At the start of lap six, Suzuki was still showing the way to Arbolino, who bided his time for an assault. Meanwhile, Dalla Porta was looking to dig the knife into Canet’s championship chances but the Leopard man had to find one second to catch up on the two leaders while also fending off a sizeable group including Migno, Dennis Foggia, Gabriel Rodrigo, Ai Ogura, McPhee, Marcos Ramirez and Filip Salac. The two groups merged by lap 10, Jaume Masia starting to show some podium intentions after keeping quiet around 5th spot for the first half of the race. As if Dalla Porta didn’t have enough on his plate with the two WWR men assaulting him from all sides, he was also threatened with a track limits warning one lap later.
As the race was entering its second half, Suzuki looked confident at the front and the fast pace of the top men split the lead pack in two, the select few keeping in the victory battle including Arbolino, Dalla Porta, Migno and Masia. A second and a half down the road, Foggia and Ogura were tasked with leading the pursuit including the likes of McPhee and Rodrigo.
With nine laps left, a faultless Suzuki was starting to stretch a gap at the front, little over half a second but the biggest the gap had been until that point. The near tackles between Dalla Porta, Arbolino and the WWR teammates helped his case too but he had eight long laps ahead to defend that lead from a wolf pack. To add to the peril, Ogura and McPhee tagged along to the chasers and immediately started to make victims. The hurry-up saw Masia find a couple of tenths to close up on Suzuki and looked like the polenan’s main threat.
Masia first took the lead at turn one with six laps left and Suzuki found himself on the offensive for the first time since lap 1. The challenge got even bigger when Arbolino got past Suzuki one lap later and compatriot Ogura was looking menacing behind. Things got spicy with three laps left, when Arbolino attacked in turn 12 and the move pushed Masia all the way to the back of the pack. Despite Arbolino briefly taking the lead, Suzuki found himself showing the way once again as the race entered the final lap.
Ogura and Migno were victims of last lap shenanigans at Quercia but Suzuki was unbothered at the front, despite rivals being glued to his tail. McPhee suddenly found himself in podium contention for the first time on the final lap, attacking Arbolino in turn 13 and making it stick to the finish line. Masia missed out on the podium and finished fourth, ahead of Foggia. The young Italian was helped by a three-second post-race penalty being applied to Dalla Porta, the championship leader finishing fifth but dropping to eighth after several track limits infringements. Rodrigo did the best he could from his shocking qualifying position and his best was good enough for sixth, narrowly ahead of Ramirez.
Dalla Porta continues to lead the championship battle but threw away valuable points with the penalty and reduced Canet’s suffering. The Italian now leads by 22 points from Canet and with Arbolino becoming an ever bigger threat, 30 points behind the leader.
|8||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||+3.740|
|79||Ai OGURA||Honda||1 Lap|
|22||Kazuki MASAKI||KTM||5 Laps|
|83||Meikon KAWAKAMI||KTM||6 Laps|
|40||Darryn BINDER||KTM||15 Laps|
|44||Aron CANET||KTM||18 Laps|
|75||Albert ARENAS||KTM||20 Laps|
|23||Niccolò ANTONELLI||Honda||20 Laps|
|13||Celestino VIETTI||KTM||20 Laps|
|69||Tom BOOTH-AMOS||KTM||20 Laps|
|21||Alonso LOPEZ||Honda||21 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|71||Ayumu SASAKI||Honda||0 Lap|
|27||Kaito TOBA||Honda||0 Lap|
|11||Sergio GARCIA||Honda||0 Lap|
|76||Makar YURCHENKO||KTM||0 Lap|