Any worries about rain bothering the day’s action were gone by the time the lightweight class lined up on the grid, only light cloud cover turning up to watch the show. And it was the first (and probably not last) display of domination from eventual winner Aron Canet. The Spaniard had few challengers before he managed to escape at the front and bring home a crucial victory for the championship battle. Ai Ogura showed great determination to lead an aggressive chasing pack for most of the race and then turn his front row start into a maiden podium. Dennis Foggia kept a low profile amongst the podium contenders but came to life in the final couple of laps to secure the final podium spot.
Poleman Canet had made an excellent launch off the line to keep the lead into turn one ahead of Ogura, while fellow front row starter Carlos Tatay quickly started losing ground and was threatening to leave the top ten by the end of lap one. Meanwhile, Alonso Lopez went from 6th on the grid to 3rd into turn one and by lap two, the Spaniard was picking up the chase from Ogura, a battle that continued for a couple of laps and allowed Canet some breathing room. Lorenzo Dalla Porta had a bit of challenge on his hands starting from fourth row but he started his race with a setback, losing a handful of positions on lap one and getting stuck in a feisty bunch with the likes of Albert Arenas, Gabriel Rodrigo and Marcos Ramirez. Jaume Masia made a better start and looked like an early contender but the WWR racer left the party early on at turn 15.
Canet faced his first challenge from Lopez at the end of lap five but the Estrella Galicia machine only managed to hang onto the lead for a brief moment, before getting swamped on the main straight by not only Canet but also Tony Arbolino, John McPhee and Tatsuki Suzuki. The lead group was still significant in size – 16 men including Dalla Porta – but these were the main players putting on boxing gloves at the time. However, the battles within the group aided Canet’s mission and the Spaniard’s gap ticked over the one second mark by lap seven. The chasers could not make up their mind as to who was best placed to reel in the leader and the continued exchanges between Ogura, Lopez, Arbolino, McPhee and Suzuki allowed Canet another two seconds of advantage by lap ten.
Despite the dream gap at the front, Canet started the second half of the race with a track limits warning. His rivals also settled for a few laps, allowing Ogura to lead the chase, but the gap was increasing rather than reducing and, in the heat of battle, the likes of McPhee and Arbolino soon found themselves at the end of the ten-man group. Unfortunately for Dalla Porta, the Italian was no longer in podium contention, struggling to progress through the chasing pack and losing ground on them for the final third of the race. Arbolino soon followed suit, the Italian losing touch with the sizeable podium battle with six laps left and getting embroiled in direct battle with his championship leading compatriot.
Canet started the final four laps four seconds ahead of the pursuers, where Ogura was still leading the way from Suzuki, but with Foggia, Lopez, McPhee, Arenas, Sergio Garcia and Rodrigo still in contention for a podium position. Ogura resisted the pressure of the strong bunch behind him and seemed to have an answer to every attack, at least until Foggia started his assault in the final two laps. The Italian started the final lap in the lead and defended beautifully but Ogura got great drive down the back straight and found the inside line into the penultimate turn to take a well deserved second place. Foggia eventually managed to fend off McPhee and Lopez for the final podium spot. Suzuki, Garcia, Arenas and Rodrigo did not get much of a chance to feature in the podium fight despite crossing the line closely behind the leaders.
Dalla Porta rounded out the top ten at the checkered flag but a track limits infringement on the last lap dropped him another position. However, the Italian managed to salvage his championship lead by only two points ahead of Canet heading into the flyaways. Arbolino faded towards the end of the race but gained one position once Dalla Porta was penalised and this means a 29 point deficit in the championship.
|11||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||+8.579|
|19||67||Gerard RIU MALE||KTM||+13.790|
|20||10||Julian Jose GARCIA||Honda||+13.891|
|42||Marcos RAMIREZ||Honda||14 Laps|
|5||Jaume MASIA||KTM||18 Laps|