A hot afternoon in Jerez led to some hot action to start up the day, not just for the lightweight class and the spectators but also for the stewards. One man who managed to avoid any mishaps was Philipp Oettl, the German rider snatching his first win in the championship after a front row start and a feisty battle at the front.
Marco Bezzecchi was the only other contender who made it through the wipeout episode at the front and despite having to settle for second position, the Italian did inherit the championship lead. In another heart-breaking twist, the final piece of silverware went to Marcos Ramirez, the Spaniard getting his third podium after starting 18th, once Alonso Lopez was demoted from third due to track limits infringements, making it a rare all KTM podium.
Poleman Martin had an excellent start, keeping the lead ahead of teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio and Oettl. The initial lead group also included a fast starting Lopez, with Niccolo Antonelli, Bezzecchi and Enea Bastianini over half a second ahead of a big group led by Tatsuki Suzuki and Aron Canet. Canet had lost some ground at the start, adding to his poor qualifying result but he swiftly picked up places to tenth by the end of lap one. Lopez made it as high as third and set the fastest lap of the race before a close call with Oettl dropped him all the way down to 18th.
As soon as Canet muscled his way into the lead of the second group by lap four, the Spaniard took little time to catch up with the top six. Meanwhile, Martin lost the lead for the first time as Bastianini attacked on lap five, as did Bezzecchi soon after. Compatriot Di Giannantonio had a bit of an over-eager moment and dropped to the back of the group, ending up battling Tony Arbolino, who had stated 21st.
By lap seven, the main pack still bragged with 17 riders in close proximity of each other, Martin recovering the lead as Arbolino was stealing the spotlight with overtakes left right and centre, the Italian finally in the lead by lap ten. At the back of the group, Lopez managed to catch up with the lead pack.
At the halfway point of the race, Oettl claimed his turn at the front, with Arbolino, Bastianini, Martin and Bezzecchi as the main challengers but with a gaggle of riders biding their time right behind them, including Canet, Kaito Toba, Di Giannantonio, Tatsuki Suzuki, Antonelli, Jaume Masia, Jakub Kornfeil, Makar Yurchenko, Ramirez, Gabriel Rodrigo, Ayumu Sasaki, Andrea Migno and Lopez.
With ten laps to go, the main pack finally began to break, the top ten stretching a gap ahead of Kornfeil as status quo was maintained at the front but Lopez was on a roll as he picked up the pace to become the fastest man on track. The Spaniard bridged that gap once again and easily snuck into the top ten.
With six laps to go, Martin and Bastianini started to ruffle Oettl’s feathers, the Leopard rider taking the lead before disaster struck one lap later, Canet misjudging a move on Martin and wiping him out, causing a domino effect with Bastianini and Arbolino.
With the main title contenders in the gravel trap, Oettl and Bezzecchi were left to settle the win amongst themselves as the rest of the group had dropped over two seconds back. Oettl was in the driving seat, Bezzechi biding his time until the last lap but never getting a sniff at the win. Behind them, the last podium spot was being disputed between Lopez and nine other riders. The Spaniard had it over the line but was then penalised with one position for track limits infringements and gifted a podium to fellow countryman Ramirez.
With Lopez fourth, Masia grabbed fifth after starting 25th. Suzuki scored sixth place, Di Giannantonio turning a front row start into only seventh place. The top ten was completed by Kornfeil, Toba and Rodrigo and the remaining point scoring positions went to Antonelli, Sasaki, Migno, Yurchenko and impressive wildcard Ai Ogura.
Besides the earful that Canet is probably going to get, the incident cost both him and Martin the lead of the championship, Bezzechi now leading by 8 points ahead of Martin. Canet is third, 15 points down and Di Giannantonio keeps fourth position. Oettl climbs nine places into fifth, ahead of Bastinini in sixth.
|7||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||+4.033|
|33||Enea BASTIANINI||Honda||4 Laps|
|14||Tony ARBOLINO||Honda||4 Laps|
|88||Jorge MARTIN||Honda||4 Laps|
|44||Aron CANET||Honda||4 Laps|
|75||Albert ARENAS||KTM||9 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||0 Lap|
|10||Dennis FOGGIA||KTM||0 Lap|
|17||John MCPHEE||KTM||0 Lap|
|52||Jeremy ALCOBA||Honda||0 Lap|