The Red Bull Ring had enough sun by Sunday morning and washed up the warm-up sessions in rain so the surface was still damp by the time the lightweight class lined up on the grid. However, with the race declared wet and the asphalt quickly drying, the entire grid opted for slick tyres and Romano Fenati put them to good use in an unusually dominating display in Moto3. Despite a penalty that removed him from a hard earned pole position, the Italian ran a perfect race to score his first win of the season in changing conditions. His main competition came from the other side of the garage, Tony Arbolino riding from second row on the grid to second on the podium, while McPhee made up for the misfortune of last weekend with a third place trophy.
Fenati might have lost pole position on Saturday evening but he was back ahead by turn one and being followed by Arbolino and McPhee. The Italian got a bit loose on the damp bits of the circuit and allowed Arbolino to briefly lead proceedings but it was only McPhee and Fenati who kept within a second of the leader. Lorenzo Dalla Porta was leading the chase one second back, in a group that also included teammate Marcos Ramirez and Makar Yurchenko. Despite a second row start, Jaume Masia and Celestino Vietti dropped to a third group down the road, while Aron Canet was struggling to enter the top ten.
By lap six, Fenati was battling his teammate for the lead, with McPhee still hanging on to the VNE Snipers duo. The provisional podium looked settled early on because the second group was dropping back at a rapid pace, over five seconds by lap ten. However, the battle for fourth was heating up, as Vietti and Masia had caught up with the Leopard machines, overtook them and attempted to reduce the gap to the leaders. Another three seconds down the road, Canet was rushing to catch them up and took Jakub Kornfeil with him.
At the halfway point of the race, Fenati proved to be the fastest man on track and steadily stretched a gap of over a second, while Arbolino was keeping busy with attacks from McPhee. After the Italian disappeared at the front, the shenanigans between McPhee and Arbolino allowed the group led by Vietti to reduce the gap to two seconds with six laps to go. Vietti and Masia were pushing hard to join the podium fight and put in a punishing pace to start the final three laps only seven tenths behind Arbolino and McPhee, despite all four men still sharing fastest sector times. The group merged for the final two laps but it was soon followed by a dramatic exit for Masia, who highsided at turn nine just as things were getting fun.
That left Vietti to take on Arbolino and McPhee for a podium position and he was promptly in the mix but despite some brave attacks on the final lap, Vietti missed out on a podium by only one hundredth of a second. Ramirez eventually overtook his teammate for fifth spot, Dalla Porta sixth and Yurchenko securing seventh place. Kornfeil, Antonelli and Canet completed the top ten after a race out of the limelight.
Canet’s underwhelming race puts Dalla Porta back ahead in the championship standings by only one point, with Arbolino and Antonelli over 40 points down on the leader.
|6||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||+7.559|
|27||11||Sergio GARCIA||Honda||1 Lap|
|5||Jaume MASIA||KTM||2 Laps|
|61||Can ONCU||KTM||12 Laps|
|25||Raul FERNANDEZ||KTM||15 Laps|
|24||Tatsuki SUZUKI||Honda||19 Laps|