The Cathedral of Speed started its service with a reading from the lightweight class and it was the cream of the crop that put on a show. While the battle was fierce, the winner was little surprise, Jorge Martin becoming the first rider to win from pole position since the introduction of the Moto3 class in 2012. Last year’s winner, Aron Canet, followed his compatriot home in second position, with Enea Bastianini giving some gas to his title challenge from the final podium spot.
The poleman made an excellent start, with Bastianini holding station right behind Martin while the remaining front row starter, Nicolo Bulega, was being swallowed by the pack as he struggled off the line and found himself down in 12th place by the end of lap one. Meanwhile, Marco Bezzecchi was making the opposite journey, from eighth to third on the same lap. Second row starter Canet tagged along for the ride with the lead group while John McPhee, Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Fabio Di Giannantonio were trying to bridge a half second’s gap to the four leaders.
By lap four, Martin was being aided in his plan to stretch a gap at the front by Bezzecchi, Canet and Bastianini dicing around behind him. Canet took up the task of reeling in Martin by lap five, all the while McPhee was catching up with the podium battle, leaving the next group over two seconds down the road.
Canet swiftly broke away from the pursuers and found himself in the lead by the start of lap six. The Spaniard was attempting to make an escape of his own and while he was posting the hottest times at that point in the race, he could not quite shake off the battle between Bezzecchi, Bastianini, McPhee and Martin, the poleman finding himself down in fifth by lap seven. Four seconds down the road, Jaume Masia took his turn to lead the chase in the battle for sixth, which also included the likes of Di Giannantonio, Marcos Ramirez, Dalla Porta, Darryn Binder, Gabriel Rodrigo and Bulega.
By lap eight, Bezzecchi made it to the front of the race, Canet doing a Martin and going from first to fifth in the blink of an eye. Bezzecchi managed to find nearly half a second on the rest of the group but that was ultimately fruitless once he ran wide and allowed Martin back in the game. McPhee then became the Spaniard’s main competition for the lead, with Bastianini, Bezzecchi and Canet patiently waiting their turn right behind the duo.
The calm before the storm set in for a couple of laps while Martin found his mojo and worked his way back into the lead with eight laps to go. As McPhee was struggling somewhat to stay in touch with the leaders, Canet finally came out of hibernation to challenge for the lead but it looked like none of the five leaders had the ability to make a significant break at the front.
With the top men looking for the perfect last lap strategy, Martin contradicted that theory and attempted another escape, finding half a second on Canet on the penultimate lap. The first to crack was McPhee, who crashed out in turn nine soon after, while in fifth place. The drama continued on the last lap, when the championship leader became the former championship leader after Bezzecchi made a rare mistake and slid out of fourth position.
Try as they did, the last men standing in the lead group could not deny Martin and Canet settled for winning the last lap battle for second, ahead of Bastianini. After the crashes, the fight for sixth became the fight for fourth and it was won by a worthy Masia, who had started 20th on the grid. Jakub Kornfeil looked out of contention for points after the start but came back fighting and climbed into fifth. Dalla Porta settled for sixth after a second row start, narrowly ahead of Binder. Rodrigo and Di Giannantonio completed the top nine after a fierce battle in the mid-pack, while front row starter Bulega recovered from his terrible start to finally finish in the points and round out the top ten.
Bezzecchi’s costly mistake combined with Martin’s victory means that the world championship has a new leader in the Gresini man, only two points ahead of the Italian. Despite an underwhelming result, Di Giannantonio is third in the standings, 14 points down on the leader, with Bastianini recovering some ground, 21 points down in fourth.
|6||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||+11.321|
|9||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||+11.756|
|28||18||Ryan VAN DE LAGEMAAT||KTM||1 Lap|
|12||Marco BEZZECCHI||KTM||1 Lap|
|17||John MCPHEE||KTM||2 Laps|