2015 Le Mans Moto3 Race Result: Fierce Battle Goes Down To The Line

Results and summary of a thrilling Moto3 race at Le Mans:

Romano Fenati has won a fierce four-way battle to break the Honda stranglehold on the Moto3 class, and take his first victory of the season. 

The Italian was strong from the beginning, part of a large Italian contingent who broke away at the start of the race. Niccolo Antonelli got the holeshot, pulling Pecco Bagnaia and Fenati along in his wake, along with polesitter Fabio Quartararo and a group of some eight or nine riders. Fenati quickly took over at the front and tried to break a gap, as the others battled behind him, but once Enea Bastianini got past Quartararo, he was quickly closed down.

The group slowly started thinning out, as riders failed to follow the pace of the leaders, but the battling also allowed Danny Kent to close in. The championship leader had survived the melee at the first chicane after starting 31st, and had quickly picked his way forward and into the top ten. From there, he ran fast smooth laps picking off riders one by one to move up the field. 

With six laps to go the pace started hotting up, Fabio Quartararo crashing out of the lead group. By this time, Kent was struggling with Niccolo Antonelli over 5th place. Once past the Italian, he inched closer to the lead group, catching them with three to go. The Englishman  kept his cool while Fenati, Bastianini and Bagnaia scrapped over the lead, making his way past Bastianini and Bagnaia when he could, but not willing to risk too much to defend the position.

Fenati led for the last couple of laps, but always had either Bagnaia or Bastianini snapping at his heels. Bastianini looked out of contention after dropping behind Kent to fourth, but a brilliant charge on the final lap saw him get past the Englishman and Bagnaia and start to push Fenati for the lead. He got onto Fenati's back wheel in the last couple of corners, but could not get past Fenati, the Sky VR46 rider the strongest of the bunch. 

Fenati took victory, ahead of Bastianini, while Bagnaia got past Kent to take 3rd, Kent seeing his chance to extend his lead in the championship after title rivals Quartararo and Efren Vazquez had crashed out, and not willing to risk all that for a spot on the podium, especially after his team had shown him "P4 OK" on his pit board. Kent's 4th place means his lead is now up to 37 points, with Bastianini now second in the championship.

Fenati's win is the first for KTM this season, and with Bagnaia on the Mahindra, it meant all three Moto3 manufacturers got on the podium. 

Results:

Pos No Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 5 Romano Fenati KTM 41'22.829
2 33 Enea Bastianini Honda 0.122
3 21 Francesco Bagnaia Mahindra 0.457
4 52 Danny Kent Honda 0.693
5 23 Niccolò Antonelli Honda 2.244
6 84 Jakub Kornfeil KTM 2.421
7 32 Isaac Viñales Husqvarna 2.587
8 44 Miguel Oliveira KTM 4.065
9 16 Andrea Migno KTM 14.876
10 65 Philipp Oettl KTM 22.588
11 76 Hiroki Ono Honda 23.247
12 58 Juanfran Guevara Mahindra 26.231
13 11 Livio Loi Honda 26.470
14 63 Zulfahmi Khairuddin KTM 26.677
15 29 Stefano Manzi Mahindra 26.841
16 55 Andrea Locatelli Honda 28.484
17 17 John Mcphee Honda 33.193
18 22 Ana Carrasco KTM 38.979
19 6 Maria Herrera Husqvarna 39.450
20 98 Karel Hanika KTM 58.182
Not Classified  
  88 Jorge Martin Mahindra 1 Lap
  10 Alexis Masbou Honda 3 Laps
  31 Niklas Ajo KTM 3 Laps
  24 Tatsuki Suzuki Mahindra 5 Laps
  20 Fabio Quartararo Honda 7 Laps
  12 Matteo Ferrari Mahindra 13 Laps
  95 Jules Danilo Honda 14 Laps
  40 Darryn Binder Mahindra 15 Laps
  9 Jorge Navarro Honda 19 Laps
  19 Alessandro Tonucci Mahindra 22 Laps
  2 Remy Gardner Mahindra 0 Lap
Not Finished 1st Lap  
  91 Gabriel Rodrigo KTM 0 Lap
  41 Brad Binder KTM 0 Lap
  7 Efren Vazquez Honda 0 Lap

 

Round Number: 
5
2015
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Comments

The best Moto3 race so far this year! Total attrition for the three local heroes, an all-Italian podium, first win for KTM in 2015, and first ever Mahindra podium. A blistering game of catch-up with Bastianini and Kent, El Bestia making up 18 places. We've been shown a masterful, mature display from Kent making up 27 places, sensibly finishing in fourth, behind 3 hot-headed Italians. Because both his closest championship rivals crashed, he extended his lead from 31 to 37 points.

He did indeed show a level of control and maturity not normally seen in Moto3 - I was willing him to go through for the win, but I was certainly not disappointed when I realised he was going to be satisfied with 4th, and so he should be. Well done Danny!