The warm up lap for the Moto3 race might have been the first time when all eyes were not on the sky for this whole weekend in Australia. Still cold, still cloudy, still windy but bearably so and the lightweight class got action underway in spectacular fashion. The race started with one Leopard machine at the forefront and ended with the other one getting stickered with number one signs. Luck went Lorenzo Dalla Porta’s way and the Italian got crowned Moto3 world champion after an impeccable race where he held his nerve against multiple challengers to secure a precious victory and celebrate his title from the top step of the podium. Poleman Marcos Ramirez got to celebrate with his teammate in the winners’ enclosure after an excellent last lap that bumped him up to second position. Albert Arenas continued a great run of consecutive podiums with a well deserved third place in Phillip Island.
Ramirez had held onto the lead after his pole start, although he was closely challenged by Arenas, who demoted Aron Canet and let his compatriot tangle with Romano Fenati for the rest of lap one. While Dalla Porta was holding station around 6th place, Tony Arbolino made sure he did his best to keep the title battle going by jumping from 13th on the grid to 4th by lap two. Canet was less successful at that particular task, a tussle for the lead at the start of lap three seeing the Spaniard give up the fight in the infamous gravel trap at Doohan Corner. By the time Dalla Porta got the message the next time he passed his pitboard, he was already in the lead of the race and closely followed by his only rival left in the title chase, Arbolino. However, the Italians had most of the pack still on their tail and waiting to influence the outcome of the race.
It took until lap six for someone to find a way past Dalla Porta, Kaito Toba aided by the Italian leaving a gap at Honda Corner but it was a fairly brief exchange. There were other pretenders too but the next threat seemed to come from Darryn Binder, the South African progressing from the ninth row of the grid to lead the race by lap nine. But wherever the threat came from, Dalla Porta always ended up at the top of the timing screens soon after. Despite the still significant group, the main actors at this halfway stage, in addition to the Leopard man, were Binder, Andrea Migno, John McPhee, Arbolino and Arenas.
The cast changed somewhat as the race entered its final ten laps, when Tatsuki Suzuki and Alonso Lopez took their turn in the limelight and Arbolino got pushed back to 15th position by shenanigans in the lead group. The Italian was left with significant work to do, especially as rival Dalla Porta was back in the lead, but the likes of Suzuki were not making it easy for the championship leader to secure victory. Lopez showed great speed but his podium hopes came to an end with five laps to go, when his contribution to Filip Salac’s crash out of seventh place got him in hot water with a long lap penalty lane punishment, throwing away his excellent progress from 27th on the grid.
The final three laps started with Fenati in the lead, the Italian back in the mix at the front after a stint in the troublesome midfield, but despite his and Suzuki’s advances, there was no stopping Dalla Porta from continuously reclaiming top spot. The Leopard rider started the final lap in the lead but with the threat of Binder and Suzuki close to his tail. The Japanese rider attacked in Honda Corner but the Italian kept his cool and swept back past into Lukey Heights, keeping top spot to the checkered flag. The poleman had been missing in action for most of the race but found himself in the right place on the final lap, after nearly a dozen late overtakes and slipstreamed his way onto the podium. Arenas continued to excel with yet another trip to the podium in a fairly successful set of flyaways for the Spaniard. Suzuki missed out on a trophy on the final drag to the line, with McPhee rounding out the top five. Binder, Ayumu Sasaki and a very impressive Tom Booth-Amos joined the top eight, in a career best for the British rider. Arbolino was resigned to ninth and with Stefano Nepa completing the top ten, having started at the back of the grid.
With Dalla Porta putting on the championship celebration t-shirts in a rare exploit for Italy in the lightweight class, the battle for second carries on between Canet, Arbolino and Ramirez.
|1||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||37'45.817|
|19||15||Rogan CHANDLER||Kalex KTM||1 Lap|
|5||Jaume MASIA||KTM||1 Lap|
|13||Celestino VIETTI||KTM||1 Lap|
|27||Kaito TOBA||Honda||3 Laps|
|16||Andrea MIGNO||KTM||3 Laps|
|25||Raul FERNANDEZ||KTM||6 Laps|
|12||Filip SALAC||KTM||8 Laps|
|19||Gabriel RODRIGO||Honda||8 Laps|
|11||Sergio GARCIA||Honda||10 Laps|
|9||Yanni SHAW||Kalex KTM||20 Laps|
|44||Aron CANET||KTM||21 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|54||Riccardo ROSSI||Honda||0 Lap|