Sky Racing’s lovely water effect livery proved prophetic for the conditions inviting the lightweight class to cause chaos on the Italian track. The rain soaked the track throughout the race and predictably caused lots of commotion in the gravel traps. One who would be unfamiliar with the concept was Romano Fenati, the Italian flying into the lead in the first few laps and we have barely seen him after as he was busy building a gap of 28 seconds over the world championship leader. The Italian managed to win his first race since Austin with only one a minor scare, his race looking more like a waltz rather than the twitchy tango his rivals attempted.
After already sliding dangerously on the warm-up lap, Joan Mir settled for adding to his record of scoring points in all races this season with a welcome second place. The battle for third went to the final three laps and it was won by Fabio di Giannantonio, the Italian finishing his home race ten seconds behind the world championship leader.
After inheriting pole position, Jorge Martin kept the lead at the start, Di Giannantonio getting ahead of a cautious Mir, but the Italian made a costly mistake soon after which saw him drop to seventh place. In the treacherous conditions, there were a few tentative attacks but the riders were generally playing it safe while judging their limits.
Poleman Enea Bastianini was demoted three positions for irresponsible riding (like much of the grid) and had to start fourth, losing a further two positions after the start to Fenati and Bo Bendsneyder. Aided by a few mistakes from his rivals, he swiftly recovered the status quo. But the comeback was over as soon as it started, the Italian crashing on lap three, while leading the chasers almost two seconds behind Martin, Fenati and Mir. Gabriel Rodrigo was also losing ground down in ninth position in the first few laps and eventually crashed in the final turn on lap three.
Fenati took over the lead one lap later and the top trio’s hot pace saw them build a gap of over four seconds on the pursuers now led by Bendsneyder. As soon as the Italian found some clear air, he was in his element, setting red sectors and fastest laps - quickly putting a second’s gap into Martin. The gap extended to six seconds by lap six, helped by big scares for Martin and Mir.
While Fenati looked in total control, there was chaos behind him, Bendsneyder doing down while leading the chasers and leaving the task to front-row starter Di Giannantonio, five seconds down the road. The top ten also lost Juanfran Guevara soon after, with Philipp Oettl and Aron Canet the only riders able to keep up with Di Giannantonio.
Seemingly unlucky when starting first, Martin went down in turn one on the start of lap ten before even leaning the bike into the corner. With Mir already thirteen seconds down on Fenati and in a secure second position, the small chasing pack suddenly found itself battling for the final podium position. DiGiannantonio looked in prime spot for the honour for much of the race, Oettl and Canet biding their time but setting personal best laps mid-race. The Spaniard nudged the German on lap thirteen to get ahead and catch up with Di Giannantonio’s small advantage. Six seconds behind them, Nicolo Bulega was battling Ayumu Sasaki, the Japanese rider crashing out soon after taking over sixth place, leaving Bulega all alone in the position.
Fenati had checked out at the front long before, eighteen seconds ahead with ten laps to go and only increasing his lead. Behind him and Mir, Canet made his move on Di Giannantonio in the final nine laps, but it wasn’t as decisive as he would have liked, the two fighting it off for another few laps as Oettl was losing touch with them. Canet looked like a mighty challenger until he fell with three laps to go. That left Oettl to cross the line in fourth place, with Bulega fifth.
Outside the top ten, riders were falling like flies on every lap, the likes of Kornfeil, Suzuki, Atiratphuvapat, Norrodin, Dalla Porta, McPhee, Antonelli, Danilo, Bezzecchi, Arbolino and Toba joining the list throughout the race, some of them even twice. Funnily enough, most of the ones who managed to rejoin the race were repaid with point scoring positions once the bowling game finished. Case in point, Bendsneyder climbed back into sixth place, while Kornfeil followed him home into seventh.
Behind them, Albert Arenas celebrated his first ninth place after missing out on both the FP2 and Warm-Up sessions, the top ten completed by Andrea Migno. Jaume Masia also managed to snatch some points in eleventh and they could have been even more without the big moment towards the end of the race. Also in the points were Manuel Pagliani, Marcos Ramirez, Alex Fabbri, two-time crasher Bastianini and the last man to finish, Lorenzo Dalla Porta.
You could almost feel the relief from Mir to have finished in such a great position and keep his sizeable lead in the championship, his closest follower crashing out and Fenati only snatching back five points. The Italian is now back to second in the standings, 61 points down, with Canet dropping to third, 84 points behind his compatriot.
|3||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||+39.035|
|13||57||Alex FABBRI||Mahindra||1 Lap|
|14||33||Enea BASTIANINI||Honda||1 Lap|
|15||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Mahindra||1 Lap|
|4||Patrik PULKKINEN||Peugeot||1 Lap|
|44||Aron CANET||Honda||3 Laps|
|51||Kevin ZANNONI||KTM||4 Laps|
|27||Kaito TOBA||Honda||5 Laps|
|23||Niccolò ANTONELLI||KTM||6 Laps|
|14||Tony ARBOLINO||Honda||8 Laps|
|71||Ayumu SASAKI||Honda||10 Laps|
|12||Marco BEZZECCHI||Mahindra||10 Laps|
|88||Jorge MARTIN||Honda||14 Laps|
|58||Juanfran GUEVARA||KTM||15 Laps|
|17||John MCPHEE||Honda||16 Laps|
|95||Jules DANILO||Honda||16 Laps|
|7||Adam NORRODIN||Honda||18 Laps|
|24||Tatsuki SUZUKI||Honda||20 Laps|
|41||Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAPAT||Honda||20 Laps|
|19||Gabriel RODRIGO||KTM||21 Laps|