A warm and sunny Silverstone set the scene for race day and the lightweight class honoured it with the usual 16-lap drumroll and last lap victory routine. Because when three do battle, it’s the fourth one that wins, Marcos Ramirez started ninth but bided his time until the final handful of laps to attack the leaders and snatch his second victory of the season on the final lap. In doing so, he demoted poleman Tony Arbolino to second place – his third consecutive podium, with Leopard Racing also taking the final podium spot with championship leader Lorenzo Dalla Porta.
Arbolino blasted off the line and was miles ahead into turn one, with some minor shenanigans behind him but no big moves early on. The poleman had his work cut out for him as Dalla Porta was already attacking him by the end of lap one, with John McPhee climbing into third on the softer rear tyre, while front row starter Raul Fernandez dropped towards the back of the top ten. Several positions back, the likes of Romano Fenati, Jaume Masia and Aron Canet were knocking on the doors of the top ten but struggling to pull off many moves early on. Canet’s chances were cut short on lap three, following a collision with compatriot Arenas at turn 13. The Max Racing rider re-joined the battle but with the huge task of a comeback from last position, all the while championship rival Dalla Porta was leading the way.
The lead group still included a big chunk of the field on lap five but it was still Dalla Porta, Arbolino and McPhee who featured most heavily at the front, with occasional attacks from Ai Ogura, Niccolo Antonelli and Ayumu Sasaki. Meanwhile, Masia and Fenati managed to tag along to the top ten that also included Ramirez and Darryn Binder.
Despite several attacks at the front, mainly from Arbolino and McPhee, Dalla Porta kept finding his way back into the lead. The first significant exchange came with ten laps to go, when Arbolino and Ogura demoted the Leopard man and engaged in their own little battle for the lead, but McPhee and Dalla Porta were still glued to the duo, with another nine riders waiting to pounce in the lead group. Normal service was resumed just one lap later, when Dalla Porta found a slipstream and entered Brooklands first. While Arbolino and McPhee were still trying to find the Italian’s weakness, the lead pack lost Romano Fenati at turn 14.
There was relative quiet until the final five laps, when Ramirez decided to steal his teammate’s limelight and mix it up with the Arbolino-Dalla Porta-McPhee triumvirate, but there were several other people breathing down their necks and waiting for an opportunity. Even with the usual sizeable lead group, it looked like the same riders were showing ambitions to lead: Dalla Porta, Arbolino, Ramirez and McPhee. Meanwhile, Canet had joined the top 20 for the final handful of laps and was fighting for any points he could get.
Dalla Porta started the final lap in the lead but with mere hundredths of a second keeping him ahead and Ramirez had no mercy with him teammate’s mistake, taking the lead halfway through the lap and letting the Italians fight for the remaining podium positions. Arbolino eventually got the best of Dalla Porta, with Antonelli best of the rest in fourth place. Teammate Tatsuki Suzuki finally took the checkered flag and joined the top five, ahead of compatriot Ayumu Sasaki, while McPhee faded towards the end and dropped to seventh place. Dennis Foggia and rookies Celestino Vietti and Ogura rounded out the top ten.
Canet eventually caught up with the second group down the road and grabbed a couple of points from 13th position – saving his season-long run of point-scoring races and limiting the damage in the world championship. The Spaniard now trails Dalla Porta by 14 points, with Arbolino 38 points behind the leader.
|3||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||+0.374|
|55||Romano FENATI||Honda||8 Laps|
|75||Albert ARENAS||KTM||13 Laps|