Race day started with no cloud in sight for a change, just a gaggle of youngsters rubbing elbows on hot tarmac near the Adriatic coast. And the feistiest of them all proved to be one of the more unlikely locals, Lorenzo Dalla Porta snatching his first win in the world championship after challenging title contenders all throughout the race. The young Italian held his nerve to the line, crossing it less than a tenth ahead of the Gresini duo. Jorge Martin could not turn pole into a win but early luck and late drama handed him the lead in the world championship, while teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio added another podium to his portfolio, this time in the shape of the third place trophy.
The only other man to keep up with the leaders throughout was Gabriel Rodrigo, who scored points at the track for the very first time. The Argentinian rider had gotten a better launch off the line than the poleman and took the lead into turn one but he was soon relegated by Di Giannantonio. While the two riders were squabbling for the lead, the main title contenders were already tussling behind them, with Marco Bezzecchi picking up Martin and Aron Canet. The pack was still close together by the end of the first lap, but the most impressive of the bunch was Jaume Masia, the Spaniard going from a fourth row start to the top four.
By the middle of lap two, Bezzecchi was thriving on home land and picked up the lead, while rival Martin got pushed back towards the end of the top five. The Spaniard was incredibly lucky to get past Masia in turn 16 because almost instantly after a highside from the Bester Capital Dubai rider decimated the bunch, the incident taking out Canet, Ayumu Sasaki, Enea Bastianini and Nicolo Bulega. Luckily, all involved were able to walk away but the incident was particularly costly for Canet and Bastianini in the title fight, cutting their already slim hopes.
Jakub Kornfeil just about managed to avoid the tangle but his avoiding action dropped him over two seconds behind the five-man lead group, led by Bezzecchi and also including Dalla Porta, Martin, Rodrigo and Di Giannantonio, although the final Italian was pushing hard to keep in touch with the quartet ahead. Dalla Porta took over the lead for the first time on lap six and was Bezzecchi’s main challenger for the next couple of laps. Martin, Rodrigo and Di Giannantonio were keeping their powder dry and were safe in the knowledge that the next group was nearly four seconds down the road by lap nine.
At the halfway point of the race, there was nothing to split the lead five, the title contenders bookending the group, with Bezzecchi showing the way while Martin was planning his strategy from the back of the pack. Battle finally heated up for the final ten laps, aggressive overtakes unleashed as Martin fought his way to the front within two laps, but that wasn’t to last, with strong moves coming left and right.
Bezzecchi attempted an escape with six laps to go, to brief success, but he could not shake the sharks off for long. The final couple of laps looked like an outright fight between the championship favourites but with Dalla Porta smelling a first win and Di Giannantonio hoping to revive his title bid, the leaders had no time to breathe. Di Giannantonio made his task harder with an overly optimistic move in the last three laps, dropping him to the back of the pack once again.
Disaster struck once more on the penultimate lap, when Bezzecchi lost control and crashed out from the lead in turn 15, with Martin just about avoiding his rival. Dalla Porta smelled a fine opportunity and despite late attempts from Martin and Di Giannantonio, the young Italian snatched his first victory in the class. Martin crossed the line five hundredths of a second behind the winner but happy to go first in the title fight. Di Giannantonio took a home podium, with Rodrigo losing touch with the podium battle on the final lap but settling for a safe fourth. Best of the rest was Jakub Kornfeil, with Albert Arenas, Dennis Foggia, Darryn Binder, Andrea Migno and Niccolo Antonelli completing a somewhat lucky top ten.
Second happiest man in Misano, Martin wrestled back the lead in the championship by eight points following Bezzecchi’s mistake, while Di Giannantonio keeps his hopes somewhat alive from third position, 29 points down.
|1||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||39'38.684|
|3||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||+0.122|
|20||3||Kevin ZANNONI||TM RACING||1 Lap|
|12||Marco BEZZECCHI||KTM||2 Laps|
|24||Tatsuki SUZUKI||Honda||4 Laps|
|17||John MCPHEE||KTM||12 Laps|
|5||Jaume MASIA||KTM||22 Laps|
|44||Aron CANET||Honda||22 Laps|
|71||Ayumu SASAKI||Honda||22 Laps|
|33||Enea BASTIANINI||Honda||22 Laps|
|8||Nicolo BULEGA||KTM||22 Laps|
|72||Alonso LOPEZ||Honda||22 Laps|