The fog that caused some furrowed eyebrows and a delayed race start had totally cleared by the time the lightweight class actually got to start their engines. The shortened race distance predicted 13 laps of chaos and, given previous history, it was not as bad as initially envisioned. That’s not to say it wasn’t the all-out war at the front, with the battle trophy going to world championship leader Joan Mir, who chose to go against the ideal strategy to become the first rider in Moto3 history to take eight wins in a single season. After a fiery fight, the Spaniard was joined on the podium by the Italian duo of Fabio Di Giannantonio, who started fourteenth and front row starter Enea Bastianini.
Poleman Jorge Martin did not have a bad start but an even better one came from wildcard Dennis Foggia, the VR46 junior going third after the first turns. Bastianini took over the lead a couple of turns later, the Italian and the poleman playing around as they were stretching a gap to the pursuers.
After getting past Foggia, Aron Canet led the chase seven tenths down the road, taking most of the grid with him. With the duo fighting it off at the front, the Spaniard only needed a lap to catch up and challenge his teammate for the lead by lap two.
With the lead changing every other sector, any minor advantage the leaders could find was nullified at the next slipstreaming opportunity. Canet was in the lead by lap four, Martin and Bastianini looking eager to challenge him while Mir sat tightly on their tail without causing much trouble. Despite the top fifteen riders all being in one compact group, there were few daring moves made in the early part of the race, with slipstream and mistakes determining the hierarchy.
On lap six, Philipp Oettl finally made his move on Mir, leaving the Spaniard under fire from Foggia, Gabriel Rodrigo and Di Giannantonio. Further back and despite having the leaders in his eyeline, Romano Fenati spent most of the race outside the top thirteen.
Mir found his way to the top by lap seven, benefiting from a double EG 0,0 slipstream, taking the duo with him as Martin started losing some ground to his teammate. After setting a fastest lap, Di Giannantonio started to look like a victory contender, threatening Canet for the lead by lap nine. The Italian was in the lead at the end of that same lap, the top group down to twelve men after Rodrigo’s crash. Despite the still significantly sized group, the lead was only held by a handful of riders until that point: Martin, Di Giannantonio, Bastianini, Canet and Mir.
With four laps to go, the Spaniards were back into the fight, with Canet and Martin relegating the Italians but the next laps proved that being at the front was not necessarily the best idea coming through the last sector. Di Giannantonio tried a different strategy, attempting to build a gap at the front in the last two laps but his rivals had none of that and swiftly pulled him back. Mir tried to emulate that right away but the gap barely got over the two tenths mark. The Spaniard took charge at the start of the final lap and went on to disprove the theory that a slipstream out of turn 14 was the solution to secure the win.
The Spaniard’s luck, besides his exquisite late breaking and a touch of weaving that annoyed his pursuers, was that his rivals spent the final lap fighting it off for the honour of being the one who takes the challenge to the world championship leader. Miraculously, Mir kept it together until the flag, with Di Giannantonio the best of the rest but only four hundredths of a second behind, Bastianini a further eight thousandths of a second in third.
The poleman had to settle for another fourth place, ahead of Canet in fifth. John McPhee went up and down the order throughout the race but made a great late recovery to climb into sixth position. After animating the early part of the race, Foggia and Oettl dropped back to eighth and ninth, behind a more anonymous Marcos Ramirez. The final top ten position went to Fenati, the Italian not exactly shining on enemy territory.
With the record breaking win in his pocket, Mir extends his world championship lead to 80 points ahead of Fenati. Canet keeps third position but his title bid looks highly unlikely with 98 points down, while Di Giannantonio’s podium put him ahead of Martin in the standings.
|2||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||+0.043|
|19||Gabriel RODRIGO||KTM||5 Laps|
|48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Mahindra||6 Laps|
|41||Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAPAT||Honda||11 Laps|