Come Sunday morning, Saturday’s qualifying session proved largely irrelevant once penalty notifications flooded the screens, most significantly Marco Bezzecchi having to start 18th while his main title rival was launching from pole position. Jorge Martin was unconcerned with any of that and took the checkered flag without seeing a wheel ahead of him at any point, seven seconds ahead and celebrations in full swing by the time the rest of the podium got settled over the line. Bezzecchi accepted the challenge thrown his way and fought through the field to finish second and limit the damage to his championship bid. Enea Bastianini went from hero to zero and back in 24 hours, the Italian having qualified on the front row of the grid, been demoted to 15th and climbing back onto the final step of the podium to equal the record for most podiums in the class.
Poleman Martin settled the outcome of this race early on, after an excellent launch off the line. Fabio Di Giannantonio quickly attacked to chase his teammate but the world championship leader was running away by over 1.5 seconds by the end of the first lap. Meanwhile, rival Bezzecchi was already making good progress through the pack, into the top ten by lap two and attacking front row starter Jaume Masia, who has showing early signs of suffering from his heavy Warm Up crash.
Rather than catching up with the getaway specialist, the sharks behind could not pick a leader and the battle between Marcos Ramirez and Di Giannantonio allowed Martin’s gap to get over two seconds by lap three. Adam Norrodin, Tatsuki Suzuki, Aron Canet and Albert Arenas were holding onto the duo, with Bezzecchi soon bridging the gap and taking Gabriel Rodrigo and Bastianini with him. Besides the poleman’s getaway, the pack behind was closely knit right down to 14th position.
By lap five, Martin was holding his rivals four seconds back while Bezzecchi was already finalising his recovery ride and leading the retrieval mission ahead of Bastianini, Ramirez, Di Giannantonio, Suzuki, Arenas, a recovering Masia, Rodrigo and Norrodin. Lorenzo Dalla Porta was leading the next group one second down the road, which included the likes of Philipp Oettl, John McPhee and Canet.
Martin barely got any screen time with all the action amongst his pursuers, the comeback tag team of Bezzecchi and Bastianini looking like the strongest of the bunch and with Ramirez snapping at their heels. With Bezzecchi making no impression on the gap ahead, Bastianini picked up the task halfway through the race but Martin continued to string together red and orange sectors to further extend his lead to five seconds.
Starting to see the pursuit as a lost cause, the chasing pack decided to start battle for the remaining podium positions. Bezzecchi was the first to blink and the turn one shenanigans pushed him to the back of the group in ninth position. Bastianini got pretty much the same treatment one lap later, leaving Di Giannantonio to lead proceedings once again. One man who could not enjoy the show was Canet, the Spaniard having had enough with his lingering injury by lap 11 and retired at the end of the lap.
With six laps to go, Martin was leading his teammate by seven seconds but Di Giannantonio could not enjoy the limelight for long, Bezzecchi quickly recovering positions to limit the damage in the championship as much as possible. The Italian was soon attempting to emulate Martin with an escape of his own but only managed half a second until Bastianini caught up once again. The first victim of the ensuing podium battle was Rodrigo, the RBA rider slipping out in turn three with only two laps left, leaving Ramirez, Arenas, Di Giannantonio and Suzuki to challenge Bezzecchi and Bastianini.
But there was no challenge and Bezzecchi crossed the line half a tenth ahead of Bastianini, with Di Giannantonio best of the rest. Ramirez grabbed fifth, Suzuki sixth and Arenas seventh, with Norrodin, Masia and McPhee completing the top ten.
Martin’s emphatic win extends his lead in the world championship to 13 points, with Bezzecchi second after his excellent damage limitation exercise. Di Giannantonio stays third although every time losing touch more with his teammate, 41 points down after Aragon.
|4||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||+6.095|
|13||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||+11.972|
|19||Gabriel RODRIGO||KTM||2 Laps|
|23||Niccolò ANTONELLI||Honda||3 Laps|
|44||Aron CANET||Honda||8 Laps|