The beautiful weather was rewarded with a beautiful race which saw Miguel Oliveira snatch his third consecutive win for KTM. The Portuguese rider denied Franco Morbidelli the record for most wins in the class but the world champion added another podium to his record this year. Adding to KTM’s joy was Brad Binder, who scored another third place to finish his season on a high.
For much of the race it looked like a done deal for Morbidelli, who shot into the lead in turn one. Poleman Marquez swept straight back in a sequence of corners causing palpitations to the Marc VDS garage but the Spaniard was no match for his teammate in the end. Behind the teammates, the rivals held station, with Mattia Pasini and Oliveira in close pursuit and only Binder and Dominique Aegerter switching places occasionally.
Teammates they may be but no love was lost on track as the Marc VDS duo swapped paint for the next lap, Morbidelli taking over on lap two while Pasini was getting in on the action as well. The world champion was attempting to check out at the front as Marquez had Pasini getting in his way. The gap got to eight tenths of a second when Pasini crashed out of third position on lap four, giving Marquez a bit of a breather before Oliveira picked up the mission of breaking the Marc VDS monopoly.
By lap seven, Morbidelli was posting fastest laps while his lead went over the one and a half seconds mark. Meanwhile, Oliveira was keen to get past Marquez as not to lose touch with the leader but despite being close enough to touch the Spaniard, the KTM rider could not find the way through until lap ten.
Brad Binder was posting consistent laps a second behind the podium battle but the South African recorded several red and orange sectors to swiftly catch up with Marquez, who appeared to struggle already to keep up the pace. Binder stole the final podium position after nudging the Spaniard out of the way on lap twelve. Although not even halfway through the race, it looked like a battle for survival for Marquez, who was left to manage a four-second gap to Pecco Bagnaia behind him.
The midway point of the race saw Oliveira attempting to steadily catch up with the world champion but the gap was slow to drop under the one and a half second mark. Nonetheless, both KTMs looked determined, with red hot sector times shared between them. Morbidelli replied with his own fast laps but Oliveira finally got within a second of the leader with nine laps to go. Two seconds behind was Binder, whose third place looked secure, the gap to Marquez over three seconds.
One lap later, Oliveira brought the gap down to four tenths of a second and the Jaws music started with seven laps remaining. The Portuguese rider stalked Morbidelli for one more lap and attacked for the victory, attempting to build a small gap. Oliveira quickly stretched his advantage to half a second and Morbidelli had to admit defeat, letting the KTM go.
Binder was still setting red sectors with three laps to go but was stuck in no man’s land. No such luck for Marquez, who dropped onto Bagnaia’s radar and got overtaken for fourth on the penultimate lap. Marquez settled for fifth, with a consistent Hafizh Syahrin scoring sixth position. Takaaki Nakagami was seventh, another four seconds behind, with Fabio Quartararo, Simone Corsi and Aegerter ending the season on a high with a top ten.
|9||24||Simone CORSI||Speed Up||+23.592|
|14||37||Augusto FERNANDEZ||Speed Up||+32.933|
|22||87||Remy GARDNER||Tech 3||+51.990|
|25||89||Khairul Idham PAWI||Kalex||+1'10.070|
|97||Xavi VIERGE||Tech 3||11 Laps|
|9||Jorge NAVARRO||Kalex||16 Laps|
|11||Sandro CORTESE||Suter||19 Laps|
|19||Xavier SIMEON||Kalex||20 Laps|
|88||Ricard CARDUS||Kalex||21 Laps|
|62||Stefano MANZI||Kalex||25 Laps|