Having started with a thirteen-race run of polemen failing to win, the tide turned (almost literally) but the curse didn’t. Definitely not on his first swimming lesson, Khairul Idham Pawi sailed through murky waters to his second stunning win of the season, eleven seconds ahead of second-placed Andrea Locatelli and a determined Enea Bastianini in third. The winner looked untroubled despite a series of wobbles and slides, Pawi even going wide into turn one, biting into the gravel but keeping it upright with just a minor dent into his massive lead at that point.
In a race where riders looked more like gingerly skating than riding, Bastianini got a clean getaway but Bo Bendsneyder found his way to the top by the second lap, both losing ground soon after. Locatelli, John McPhee and Hiroki Ono switched places at the top for a few laps but with twenty-three laps to go, Pawi put an end to the cat and mouse games and took over at the front.
Having gone from twentieth to sixth position by the end of the first lap and oozing with confidence in the treacherous conditions, the Malaysian tried to stretch his advantage, creating some big gaps among the lead group. He didn’t manage to shake off his teammate but third placed McPhee dropped three seconds behind the leader while fending off Locatelli.
After pushing his teammate at the front, Hiroki Ono narrowly saved a highside with nineteen laps to go. A quick trip through wet gravel later, he recovered into fifth only to waste the good work with a race-ending crash four laps later. Once Ono retired, Locatelli did a great job to break away from the fight for third between Bastianini and McPhee. The Italian won that battle and kept his head cool until the checkered flag.
As the race went on and the rain eased into a drizzle, the gaps started to reduce (besides the one at the front, of course). Kornfeil splashed his way to fifth place early into the race, catching up and breaking the third place party five laps to the end. He finished in fourth position, while McPhee was pushed back by the Czech rider and soon after by Fabio di Giannantonio.
Binder chose to take it easy early in the race, dropping to twelfth place, behind title rival Jorge Navarro, the two switching places on a handful of occasions, Navarro taking the initiative with seven laps to go and grabbing seventh position in front of the South-African.
A lacklustre race for Romano Fenati following a series of crashes during the weekend and Lorenzo-esque levels of performance in the wet saw him finish down in eighteenth position, mostly thanks to several crashes from his fellow riders. Also down the order, most rookies swimmers dropped back as the race advanced, Bo Bendsneyder and Aron Canet outside of the top ten, with crashes from Bulega and Mir.
The title fight proved to be fittingly carried between Navarro and Binder, the Spaniard ending up on top and taking a few points back from the championship leader, who still holds the top place by 47 points. Romano Fenati drops back with 66 points off Binder, seeing Pecco Bagnaia in his rear view mirrors, 74 points away.
|1||89||Khairul Idham PAWI||Honda||47'07.763|
|5||4||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||+20.620|
|23||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||KTM||1 Lap|
|8||Nicolo BULEGA||KTM||13 Laps|
|7||Adam NORRODIN||Honda||15 Laps|
|76||Hiroki ONO||Honda||16 Laps|
|88||Jorge MARTIN||Mahindra||17 Laps|
|16||Andrea MIGNO||KTM||17 Laps|
|40||Darryn BINDER||Mahindra||19 Laps|
|58||Juanfran GUEVARA||KTM||19 Laps|
|77||Lorenzo PETRARCA||Mahindra||20 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|36||Joan MIR||KTM||0 Lap|