The very first world championship race in Buriram provided excellent entertainment to the packed grandstands and very little time to breathe. The layout of the track mixed with the usual Moto3 wolf pack was always going to produce a highly entertaining headache that ultimately had Fabio Di Giannantonio as a headliner. The Italian held his nerve on a chaotic last lap to take his second victory of the season ahead of the compatriots he fought off all throughout the race. Dalla Porta secured a third podium of the year in second position, while rookie Dennis Foggia grabbed his first podium in the class.
Poleman Marco Bezzecchi had made an excellent start, getting the holeshot as fellow front row starter Kazuki Masaki snuck underneath Jaume Masia. Meanwhile, Jorge Martin – having started 13th – was dealing with mid-pack headaches and got demoted all the way down to 19th by the end of lap one and was left with an awful lot to do with that injured hand of his.
Bezzecchi did not have it all his own way even in the absence of his main rival but the crowded battle to chase the Italian kept allowing the Pruestel GP rider to edge ahead ever so slightly. Di Giannantonio and Tony Arbolino were the first victims of the dense pack as the Italian over enthusiastically attacked and took both towards the bottom of the top ten. Even unluckier were Darryn Binder and Albert Arenas, who tangled one lap later and the SIC58 duo taking each other out soon after.
By lap five, Dalla Porta took a turn at the front and encouraged some more attacks on Bezzecchi but the poleman was back at the front swiftly, leading a massive train of 18 riders that included rival Martin. The Spaniard was still struggling to break into the top ten as he was dealing with familiar fire from the likes of Gabriel Rodrigo, Enea Bastianini and John McPhee.
Back at the front, a few more contenders made their case for the lead, Di Giannantonio having recovered swiftly from the earlier mistake and attempting a breakaway on lap nine but the significant slipstream pulled him back in and allowed compatriot Dalla Porta to have another nibble. Bezzecchi lost the limelight but was not any lower than fifth at any point. However, Martin found himself almost on his rival’s tail as he finally broke into the top ten by lap ten.
At the halfway point of proceedings, Bezzecchi forced his way back to the front of the pack and the pack itself was just as sizeable, with negligible gaps within the top 18. Rookies Ayumu Sasaki and Foggia swapped paint for the lead briefly but the Japanese rider abandoned the fight at tricky turn five. Compatriot Masaki followed through soon after, with a helping nudge from Martin, who was still under pressure at the bottom of the top ten.
Despite the diverse front group, the lead was disputed by an all Italian line-up for the next few laps, Bezzecchi back ahead of Dalla Porta, Foggia and Di Giannantonio with seven laps to go. The rest of the group was in close proximity, Martin finally ready to attack the leaders one lap later and the pack also included Jakub Kornfeil, Rodrigo, Marcos Ramirez, Masia, Vicente Perez, Bastianini, impressive wildcard Somkiat Chantra, McPhee, Arbolino, Nicolo Bulega and Philipp Oettl.
The Italian foursome at the front continued to trade the lead in the final handful of laps but Di Giannantionio had the final say as he attacked for the win halfway through the final lap and took his advantage to the checkered flag. His mission was somewhat aided by another blast of bad luck for Bezzecchi, who came across a sliding Bastianini in the final turn and both Italians were wiped out of contention.
Di Giannantonio held it together to take the win ahead of the two men whom he fought most throughout the race: Dalla Porta and Foggia. In the last lap bonanza, Martin profited to make the best of a difficult race and climb into fourth, fending off Rodrigo, Perez, Bulega and Ramirez. Wildcard Chantra put his local knowledge to good use and scored a top nine in his first appearance in the world championship, Kornfeil rounding out the top ten.
Bezzecchi’s misfortune means that the Italian now trails Martin by 26 points in the world title battle and has another headache coming, with Di Giannantonio only three points back.
|1||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||38'10.789|
|2||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||+0.135|
|33||Enea BASTIANINI||Honda||1 Lap|
|17||John MCPHEE||KTM||2 Laps|
|41||Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAPAT||Honda||3 Laps|
|71||Ayumu SASAKI||Honda||9 Laps|
|75||Albert ARENAS||KTM||16 Laps|
|23||Niccolò ANTONELLI||Honda||18 Laps|
|24||Tatsuki SUZUKI||Honda||18 Laps|
|40||Darryn BINDER||KTM||19 Laps|
|72||Alonso LOPEZ||Honda||19 Laps|