The moody weather of yesterday was fully forgotten by Sunday morning, when sun shone resplendently as lightweight class riders lined up on the grid for the day’s first race. And said race followed the usual scenario of big group tussles and effortless comebacks before crowning its eighth different winner in the eight Moto3 races held in Brno. This time it was Aron Canet’s turn to take the spoils after a last lap overtake and the Spaniard leaves the Czech Republic with not just the trophy but also the championship lead back in his pocket. Lorenzo Dalla Porta was second best on track and now in the championship, while poleman Tony Arbolino looked like the strongest man throughout proceedings but a mistake on the final lap at turn nine almost turned his podium into disaster.
The drama had started early, even by Moto3 standards, when front row qualifier Niccolo Antonelli could not set off on the warm up lap and was forced to start from pitlane. Arbolino proved to be the only man sparred of the front row curse, as John McPhee’s machine seemed to have the pitlane limited engaged at the start and what could have been a really bad incident was just a pretty bad incident, causing a nasty crash for wildcard Yuki Kunii and some harm to the Scotsman’s leg.
Arbolino made an excellent start to avoid the drama and his early challengers soon proved to be Raul Fernandez and Romano Fenati. The group lost another usual contender at the end of lap two, when Tatsuki Suzuki highsided at turn 13. The two VNE Snipers machines were trading the lead for the next few laps, with Alonso Lopez and Fernandez keeping close, while Canet was keeping his powder dry a couple tenths back. The lead pack was still significant and Dalla Porta was starting to make progress from 17th on the grid, leading the second pack, only seven tenths down the road from the nine-man lead group.
Teammates they may be but the Fenati and Arbolino were not shy to exchange pink paint at the front. Lopez was the only one to try and force his way between the Italians but they had none of it and quickly sent him back into the claws of Fernandez, while Jaume Masia and Canet were still hanging onto the leaders. By lap seven, Dalla Porta had merged with the lead group and was soon stalking Canet for sixth place, bringing Darryn Binder with him. Meanwhile, Antonelli was putting in a comeback of his own, the unlucky Italian into the points by lap eight and tagging the lead group.
Lap nine finally saw some new names at the front, the mayhem in turn one allowing Dalla Porta to pick up the lead, with the Snipers machines just behind and with 14 other riders still tied together in podium contention. Canet made it into the limelight with eight laps remaining, fending off Arbolino and Dalla Porta for the lead, while Fenati seemed to slip back with tyre issues. The main championship contenders and the poleman were the main actors at this stage, but Antonelli was knocking on the gates of the podium with five laps to go. As the race was nearing its final laps, the lead group was slowly reducing as Kaito Toba highsided out of contention and the Estrella Galicia machines tangled and joined the gravel trap.
Dalla Porta was settling at the front for the final three laps but couldn’t relax too much with Arbolino, Antonelli and Canet waiting to pounce. Binder, Masia, Ai Ogura, Andrea Migno, Fenati and Jakub Kornfeil were still glued to the leaders but were yet to make an impression at the front. Dalla Porta started the final lap in the lead – of the race and also the championship – but Arbolino succeeded in his attack in turn three and Dalla Porta soon found himself fourth. Canet saw an opportunity in turn nine, when Arbolino make a mistake and went wide, and the Spaniard immediately stretched just enough of a gap to defend his position to the checkered flag. Dalla Porta bravely robbed Arbolino of second, with Masia coming two tenths short of the podium. Antonelli had a great recovery ride to finish in the top five, ahead of Ogura, Migno and Fenati. Local favourite Kornfeil could not replicate last year’s adventures but joined the top ten together with Darryn Binder.
Canet’s perfect timing brings him back in charge of the championship but the battle stays close, with only three points keeping the Spaniard ahead of Dalla Porta. Antonelli keeps third position in the standings but 50 points down on the leader and with Arbolino hot on his trail.
|2||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||+0.159|
|22||Kazuki MASAKI||KTM||2 Laps|
|21||Alonso LOPEZ||Honda||5 Laps|
|27||Kaito TOBA||Honda||5 Laps|
|11||Sergio GARCIA||Honda||5 Laps|
|75||Albert ARENAS||KTM||13 Laps|
|54||Riccardo ROSSI||Honda||15 Laps|
|12||Filip SALAC||KTM||15 Laps|
|24||Tatsuki SUZUKI||Honda||17 Laps|
|69||Tom BOOTH-AMOS||KTM||17 Laps|
|17||John MCPHEE||Honda||17 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|33||Yuki KUNII||Honda||0 Lap|