Moto3 is a sure bet for an adrenaline-soaked start to every race day but sometimes things get so chaotic that it’s not just the winner doing the crying. Sunday in Montmeló was no exception, serving a very dramatic race, where most leaders either suffered mechanicals or hit the tarmac, leaving the man who went under the radar to swoop in and get his first win in the class in the final couple of corners. In doing so, Marcos Ramirez became the 12th different winner in a row in the lightweight class and a much awaited one too. Aron Canet was another big winner in Catalunya, taking a healthy advantage in the championship battle from his second place, while Celestino Vietti had a fairytale recovery from 21st on the grid to the final step of the podium.
The race had a totally different story to begin with, poleman Gabriel Rodrigo getting off the line well but with Tony Arbolino finding the ideal line into turn one. The lead then changed hands a couple more times by the end of the first lap, with Canet and Lorenzo Dalla Porta taking shifts at the front. Dalla Porta was just getting comfortable in his favourite position at the front of the pack when his machine failed him before completing lap three, the Honda limping out of turn 13 and having to retire. That gave John McPhee a shot at the limelight but the still massive group at the front wasn’t making it easy. The hierarchy took another hit on lap five, when an unfortunate incident saw Raul Fernandez, Sergio Garcia, Albert Arenas and Can Oncu abandon ship at turn four from inside the top ten and promoted the likes of Jaume Masia to podium contention.
By lap eight, Alonso Lopez managed to take a breath at the front, while rivals were swapping paint right behind him, Ramirez, Masia and McPhee particularly keen to be ahead but with another dozen riders in tow. Having started 20th following his hefty grid penalty, Masia hit the front at the start of lap ten before relenting to Arbolino but the Italian could not enjoy the limelight for too long as his Honda took its last breath in turn three. The Snipers rider was forced to retire from the lead, the second rider struck by the curse in less than a dozen laps.
With eight laps left, Masia threw all the good work out the window into turn one after a tight cuddle with Darryn Binder, yet another championship contender leaving Barcelona without any points. In the middle of the lead pack, Canet looked like the big winner already but the Spaniard was too busy avoiding incidents left and right to rejoice too much. Poleman Rodrigo finally resumed his starting position with seven laps to go while rivals continued to falter, Kazuki Masaki the next to wave the white flag from the gravel trap at turn 11 and all of a sudden, Niccolo Antonelli, having started 27th, was challenging for the lead. It wasn’t a fairytale recovery all the way through, the Italian avoiding a tangle with Ramirez and dropping to the end of the lead group soon after.
The final five laps started with Lopez back in the lead of a 16-man group but his main challengers seemed to be McPhee, Toba and Rodrigo, the trio exchanging the lead for the next few laps. The penultimate lap flipped the script once again, Rodrigo wiping out Binder just as Canet was finally showing his teeth at the front.
Toba started the dramatic final lap in the lead, with Canet and Lopez on his tail but the pressure got to the Japanese rider, who crashed out of turn ten while fighting to defend his position. Ramirez took advantage of the disconcerting incident for Canet and Lopez and swooped in to take the lead out of turn ten. Canet was tempted by a move in the final corner but the Spaniard could not rob his compatriot of his first win. Three hundredths of a second behind, Vietti stole the final podium position from Lopez in the final turn, leaving the Spaniard inconsolable in fourth. Dennis Foggia was best of the rest in fifth, with Ai Ogura, Romano Fenati, Ayumu Sasaki, Ryusei Yamanaka and Jokub Kornfeil completing the top ten.
Canet continues to smile bright at the top of the championship standings, 23 points ahead of Dalla Porta and 28 on Antonelli. Vietti climbs to fourth in the ranking, ahead of the unlucky trio of Masia, Arbolino and Toba.
|27||Kaito TOBA||Honda||1 Lap|
|19||Gabriel RODRIGO||Honda||2 Laps|
|76||Makar YURCHENKO||KTM||3 Laps|
|5||Jaume MASIA||KTM||8 Laps|
|14||Tony ARBOLINO||Honda||9 Laps|
|12||Filip SALAC||KTM||12 Laps|
|16||Andrea MIGNO||KTM||16 Laps|
|61||Can ONCU||KTM||16 Laps|
|25||Raul FERNANDEZ||KTM||17 Laps|
|11||Sergio GARCIA||Honda||17 Laps|
|75||Albert ARENAS||KTM||17 Laps|
|48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||18 Laps|