The start of the Moto3 race appeared both literally and metaphorically under a cloud, with a dry track sporting a few puddles and heavy rain forecasted after the start. Of course Assen was disobedient as always and the rain never came, leaving us with a usually chaotic display from the lightweight class.
Aron Canet sure had an eventful day, after a poor start appeared to put him out of podium contention, but the young Spaniard fought his way through from the second group to bring the gap down on the leaders and beat them to the line. He took a lively win ahead of Romano Fenati, the Italian a constant contender all throughout the race.
The final podium spot went to John McPhee, third place like a ray of sunshine in an otherwise overcast few races. The British Talent Team rider had an impressive ride from nineteenth on the grid to third over the line.
Much like all other previous Assen GP polemen in the Moto3 class, Jorge Martin’s good start turned into a bit of a struggle on the final laps, after being nudged wide in one of the class’ standard tussles. Martin must have hoped for a different result after keeping the lead at the start, front row starter Nicolo Bulega losing a dozen places or so and spending most of the race struggling to pick them back up. That left Joan Mir to challenge Martin and Bo Bendsneyder.
Fenati had made a perfect first few laps, going from fifteenth to fourth by lap three, to join the podium fight. At the time, Adam Norrodin and Tatsuki Suzuki seemed to be the only other riders who managed to stick with the leaders, as they were increasing their gap to the chasers.
By lap five, Fenati was in the lead after Martin ran wide and dropped to the back of the group. Fenati wasn’t left with an easy task, the Italian rubbing fairings with Bendsneyder for the following few laps, the Dutchman giving the locals some joy by leading on several occasions.
Martin did not need long to make his way back into the lead by lap eight, letting things settle down for a few laps, with the Spaniard leading Fenati, Mir and Bendsneyder, with Norrodin and Suzuki tagging along quietly.
The chasing pack started with nine riders fighting for the rest of the point-scoring positions, including the likes of Marcos Ramirez, Jules Danilo, Gabriel Rodrigo, Nicolo Bulega, Aron Canet and John McPhee. Canet made it to the front of that group by lap eight and took the responsibility of bringing down the two and a half seconds gap to the lead men. He only needed three laps to cut that deficit and tag along to the six leaders, while dropping Bulega in the process.
Norrodin was Canet’s first victim, picking up Suzuki the next lap, leaving him just behind the four main contenders. Ramirez followed him through soon after, not letting Canet out of his sights and eventually making it past him. The Spaniard showed serious podium aspirations, the Platinum Bay rider swiftly making it past Bendsneyder, Martin and Mir to become Fenati’s main challenger.
Home hopes were squashed with seven laps to go, when Bendsneyder was nudged out and dropped to the back of the lead group. Meanwhile, McPhee found his feet and his throttle to pick his way through the pack all the way into the lead with five laps to go. His joy was cut short, Mir deciding to finally claim his rightful place at the lead of the race in the final four laps.
An absolutely chaotic last lap saw plenty of riders pushed and shoved, the lead group seeing Norrodin crash out a few corners from the end, with Bendsneyder sliding his way across the finish line to claim tenth place, but was eventually disqualified for not actually being in contact with his bike over the line.
That left Martin in fourth place, followed by Jules Danilo and Marcos Ramirez. Rodrigo and Suzuki picked up seventh and eighth positions, while championship leader Joan Mir was caught out on the final lap and finished only ninth after taking avoiding action around Bendsneyder. Bulega grabbed a handful of points in tenth position.
Fabio Di Giannantonio looked set for a great race after going from twenty-first on the grid to seventh in only two laps, but he crashed in the final chicane soon after, taking Enea Bastianini down with him. Niccolo Antonelli did not even make the start due to pain from his crashes in FP3 and the Barcelona test.
With his average (by his own standards) result today, Joan Mir’s lead at the top of the world championship is reduced to thirty points, Canet becoming his main rival. Only two points behind is Fenati, Martin climbing two places but already fifty-one points down on the leader, McPhee a further six behind the Spaniard.
|7||Adam NORRODIN||Honda||1 Lap|
|64||Bo BENDSNEYDER||KTM||1 Lap|
|31||Raul FERNANDEZ||Mahindra||2 Laps|
|33||Enea BASTIANINI||Honda||8 Laps|
|48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Mahindra||8 Laps|
|14||Tony ARBOLINO||Honda||15 Laps|
|96||Manuel PAGLIANI||Mahindra||16 Laps|
|21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||19 Laps|
|28||Ryan VAN DE LAGEMAAT||KTM||20 Laps|