It was a beautiful day in Brno as the lightweight class lined up for what promised to be a feisty 18 laps in the heat of the Czech Republic. We were spared of the usual chaos but there were several notable performances in the podium battle, in particular the impeccable race ran by Dennis Foggia on his way to victory. The Italian took control of proceedings early on and defended beautifully when faced with various challengers, including championship leader Albert Arenas, who fought through the pain barrier to climb onto the podium in second position. The final podium spot went to Ai Ogura and it helped him become Arenas’ main threat in the championship standings.
Despite having started seventh on the grid, Arenas was in the mix straight away and took the lead from a fast starting Gabriel Rodrigo by the end of lap one. An unsettled Rodrigo found himself mercilessly swallowed by the pack and the Japanese tag team of Tatsuki Suzuki and Ogura picked up the task of chasing the championship leader, whose advantage had increased to nearly a second by lap two. That gap did not last long and poleman Raul Fernandez was soon on his tail and attempting an attack. Tony Arbolino, Suzuki and Ogura were some of the other headliners in the early stages of the race but the lead group was still sizeable, including John McPhee, who had joined the top ten by lap four, having started 18th.
The lead changed hands for the first time on lap six, when Foggia used the acceleration of his Honda to take control of the pack and give Arenas a challenge. The hierarchy settled for the next few laps, while the pace slowed down significantly, but Arenas and Arbolino continued sniffing around the lead Italian. Lap ten saw Suzuki abandon the fight at turn 10, leaving a ten-man group to settle the podium positions, with Ogura, McPhee, Jaume Masia, Jeremy Alcoba, Fernandez, Niccolo Antonelli and Romano Fenati also hanging out with the leaders, two seconds ahead of the chasing pack.
Despite still suffering the effects of the crash he had at the last round, Arenas was still holding on to victory hopes as the race entered the final five laps, behind Foggia and Arbolino and fending off Masia, Ogura and McPhee. Four other men were tagging along to the podium contenders but had nothing to contribute to that battle just yet. Arbolino looked like Foggia’s main threat but a nudge from Arenas helped him go from second to last in the lead group with three laps remaining. Masia inherited the task of chasing his teammate but made a costly mistake and slid out of contention by the end of that same lap.
Foggia entered the final lap under pressure from Ogura but the Japanese rider could not find a way past the Italian and it left him vulnerable to attack from Arenas, who snatched second away from the Honda rider. Antonelli was best of the rest in fourth, ahead of McPhee and poleman Fernandez. Alcoba, Arbolino and Fenati also finished within the lead group, while Stefano Nepa rounded out the top ten, crossing the finish line seven seconds later.
Arenas’ gritty ride consolidates his lead in the championship, while Ogura becomes his main threat, 18 points behind. McPhee stays third, 19 points down on the leader, with Suzuki’s mistake dropping him down to fourth, with a deficit of 26 points.
|22||89||Khairul Idham Pawi||Honda||+23.766|
|5||Jaume Masia||Honda||3 Laps|
|92||Yuki Kunii||Honda||4 Laps|
|24||Tatsuki Suzuki||Honda||9 Laps|
|21||Alonso Lopez||Husqvarna||9 Laps|
|73||Maximilian Kofler||KTM||10 Laps|
|54||Riccardo Rossi||KTM||11 Laps|