A historic Sunday got underway under bright blue skies but in rather cool conditions and the lightweight class also kept their cool to give us a fairly calm start to the day. At the end of the 20 laps, championship leader Dani Holgado became the 1000th GP Moto3 victor, leading for most of proceedings and fending off attacks until the final corner to secure a second win of the season in his team’s home race. Poleman Ayumu Sasaki was his main challenger but eventually had to settle for second and a first trip to the podium in 2023. Jaume Masia dropped out of victory contention on the final lap but secured a third consecutive podium.
Sasaki had made a solid start from pole position, but Holgado was quick to challenge the poleman at the Dunlop chicane – the duo closely followed by Diogo Moreira, Deniz Öncü, Andrea Migno and Masia, while Ivan Ortolá lost a couple of places to seventh. Xavi Artigas, David Salvador and Ryusei Yamanaka joined the top 10 on the opening lap, while David Alonso made some early progress from 25th on the grid to 19th.
While Sasaki was biding his time to retaliate against leader Holgado, Öncü challenged Moreira for third and Masia attacked Migno for fifth – the Italian continuing to lose positions over the first few laps. By lap four, a leading group of ten riders had stretched a one second gap over the pursuit, where Jose Antonio Rueda and Alonso were most keen to bridge the gap, as the quickest men on track at that early stage of the race. Meanwhile, the lead went unchallenged and movement in the front group was limited to Ortolá joining the top five and Yamanaka occasionally challenging the CIP Green Power duo at the back of the pack – at least until Masia crashed out on lap seven and Salvador started fading out of the group not long after.
Not much had changed by the halfway point of proceedings and it wasn’t until nine laps remaining that the leading group started to provide some entertainment, Sasaki attacking Hogado into turn one and the Spaniard retaliating immediately at the chicane. The group also lost Moreira, who had been fading for a few laps, to a tumble at turn 13 – a rare and costly mistake that punished the Brazilian in the world championship standings. Meanwhile, Alonso finally found a way past Rueda, but the leading group was no longer within reach, over three seconds ahead.
Holgado continued unchallenged for a few more laps, helped by Masia and Sasaki trading second place with five laps remaining, while Ortolá, Öncü, Artigas and Yamanaka were keen to get involved as well. The pace continued to hot up at the front and it was leader Holgado who was the quickest, extending a half second gap going into the final three laps. Sasaki was first to react, recovering second from Masia to try to reel in the leader, which he achieved within a lap. The rapid pace also meant that only Masia and Ortolá managed to hang onto the victory battle, while Öncü, Yamanaka and Artigas dropped a second behind.
Holgado started the final lap with only two tenths of advantage and although Sasaki tried to find a gap, the Spaniard held onto the lead until the chequered flag. A scare at Garage Vert lost Masia over half a second on the final lap, but he managed to defend third place from Ortolá. Yamanaka got the better of Öncü on the penultimate lap to claim fifth, while Artigas struggled in the closing laps, fading to seventh place. Alonso took a lonely eighth, with Rueda and Stefano Nepa completing the top 10.
Holgado’s impressive victory hands him a 21-point advantage in the world championship, with Ortolá and Masia becoming his main rivals, tied on points. Moreira drops to fourth, 29 points behind, with Artigas 34 points back and Sasaki climbing into sixth, with a 41-point deficit.
|9||99||Jose Antonio Rueda||KTM||11.930|
|21||64||Mario Suryo Aji||Honda||30.541|