There was a lot of bruising, pain and scraped paint jobs as intermediate class riders were lining up on the grid but thankfully the next 16 laps saw less action in the gravel traps, no thanks to the weather conditions though. The cloud cover gave in a handful of laps into the race and an unpopular red flag halted play and presumably limited the walking wounded. The restart gave us another ten laps of action, ending with a victory on home soil for Enea Bastianini. Combined with Marco Bezzecchi on the second step of the podium and Luca Marini off it, the championship battle gets a little bit more spicy. Sam Lowes continued to show good speed around Misano and secured the final podium position.
Before the weather had its say, Marini had made a fine start from pole but Xavi Vierge enjoyed being at the top for once and attacked for the lead by turn two. Marini and Bezzecchi kept close and ready to strike back, but with Bastianini, Jake Dixon and Fabio Di Giannantonio close in tow. A couple of mistakes from the SKY boys encouraged attacks and Bastianini was chasing Vierge for the lead by lap three. After a sluggish start and a big wobble at turn 14, Lowes picked up the pace to rejoin the leaders and bring a big group with him, also including second row starter Aron Canet, who had made a dreadful start and dropped outside of the top ten.
Vierge couldn’t shake his pursuers but Marini and Bezzecchi were kept busy by finding a way past Bastianini. They were back ahead of their compatriot by lap four, but a significant group was still eyeing their provisional podium spots. However, it wasn’t that battle getting the pulse up back in the pits but the waving rain flags that popped up at the end of lap five.
The lead changed hands on lap six, when Bastianini shot to the front from fourth, after a brave lunge at turn 8, and started to stretch a half second gap, but rain seemed to be getting worse and the red flag came out only one lap later. It proved to be a controversial decision amongst riders but once they lined up for an attempted restart, there was a unanimous decision to delay the start further as heavier rain returned – although not enough for wet weather rubber.
Once the shower stopped and the track dried off, Bastianini took the restart of the 10-lap race from pole position, ahead of Marini and Vierge, but had to give way to Marini into turn one. The ensuing squabble at turn 4 lost both of them the lead to Vierge but the Italtrans rider was back ahead by lap two, while Marini got pushed down to fifth by Bastianini’s aggressive move, dropping him behind Schrotter and Navarro. While the feisty duo were holding off both Marini and Bezzecchi, Bastianini escaped at the front, a full second keeping him ahead of Vierge by lap 3.
With Bastianini running a hot pace at the front, Vierge was getting challenged by Schrotter and Marini was getting headaches from Bezzecchi and Lowes. Marini put up a real fight against Lowes but the scrap dropped them a second behind the podium battle and the duo had to fight their way back into contention for the remaining five laps. Having swapped to a soft rear tyre, Bezzecchi was on a roll and picked up the chase for Bastianini but the podium battle lost a man at turn 9, where Schrotter bumped into teammate Vierge and the Spaniard slid out of contention and into the gravel.
The final three laps saw Bezzecchi push hard to reduce Bastianini’s gap and he was doing so successfully, but had Lowes to contend with as well. Marini was another second down the road, while Schrotter dropped behind the championship leader after the tangle with his teammate.
Bezzecchi fancied a victory as he entered the final lap half a second off the leader but ran out of time and had to admit defeat to Bastianini. Lowes never got close enough to attack either and settled for third, with Marini keeping the championship lead in fourth. Schrotter secured fifth, three seconds ahead of Jake Dixon, Jorge Navarro and Fabio Di Giannantonio. Tom Luthi and Hector Garzo completed the top ten, after Nicolo Bulega was demoted one position for exceeding track limits on the last lap.
Bastianini’s home victory brings him within five points of Marini in the title battle, with Bezzecchi back in contention and trailing his teammate by 20 points.
|7||9||Jorge Navarro||Speed Up||+7.558|
|8||21||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Speed Up||+7.704|
|12||24||Simone Corsi||MV Agusta||+8.663|
|13||44||Aron Canet||Speed Up||+9.189|
|14||19||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Kalex||+12.538|
|15||62||Stefano Manzi||MV Agusta||+12.744|
|19||55||Hafizh Syahrin||Speed Up||+14.525|
|24||27||Andi Farid Izdihar||Kalex||+21.265|
|74||Piotr Biesiekirski||NTS||2 Laps|
|97||Xavi Vierge||Kalex||5 Laps|
|16||Joe Roberts||Kalex||0 Lap|
|99||Kasma Daniel||Kalex||0 Lap|