With MotoE already warming up the reduced crowds, the bar was set reasonably high for the lightweight class and they more than rose to the challenge. At the end of a hotly disputed 23 laps, Romano Fenati became the most successful rider in Moto3 history by taking a last lap victory from compatriot Celestino Vietti. The SKY Racing rider looked like the strongest man for much of the race but eventually crossed the finish line three hundredths of a second behind Fenati. Ai Ogura continued to prove his consistency with another precious podium that brings him closer and closer to the title.
Pole wasn’t a very good omen for Raul Fernandez, who had made a decent start but saw Tony Arbolino fire up his Honda into the lead by turn one. The Spaniard was quick to find a way back to end lap one in the lead, while Albert Arenas was keen to make some early progress and was chasing him by lap two. Some of the high profile victims of Q1, Gabriel Rodrigo and John McPhee were making slow but steady progress just outside the top 15 but still part of the sizeable leading contingent.
Arenas was keen to find a way past Fernandez but the lead didn’t exchange hands until lap four, when turn 11 saw Fernandez go from first to third, the championship leader’s attack also encouraging Arbolino to come through. That was when Vietti decided to mix it up at the front and was soon chasing Arenas for the lead. The move came at the end of lap 7 and the Italian successfully held onto top spot for a while, while compatriot Arbolino was losing positions at an alarming rate and leaving the top ten. Meanwhile, Rodrigo had progressed up to sixth but title hopefuls Ogura and McPhee were still knocking on the doors of the top ten.
Vietti was still in the lead by lap 10, ahead of Arenas and Jaume Masia but with an 11-man group starting to stretch a gap to a second group led by a fading Arbolino, one second down the road. The likes of Ogura, McPhee or Darryn Binder made the cut inside the leading group but were not making much noise just yet. The noise mostly came from Masia, Arenas and Rodrigo swapping provisional podium places but not really disturbing Vietti at the front.
The first serious challenge to Vietti’s lead came with seven laps remaining, a block pass at turn 8 from Masia demoting the Italian and putting him in the way of Rodrigo, who escaped a hairy moment but dropped to the back of the group. Vietti was quick to retrieve the lead but that encouraged some more attacks at the front and the swapping and shuffling made another victim in Binder at turn 1 with five laps remaining. Vietti did well to keep his front wheel ahead every time he was challenged, but he had some new people showing intentions, with Ogura and Fenati deciding to finally get some more airtime in the podium battle. The likes of Fernandez, McPhee, Jeremy Alcoba and Andrea Migno were still in the picture but not making any significant moves.
The last two laps got even more frantic, with contact being made everywhere you looked, but Vietti still started the final lap in the lead from Arenas, Fenati and Masia. Arenas decided to attack at turn 10, only to see Masia sweep past straight away, but Vietti didn’t want to let the win slip through his fingers and found an ambitious gap at turn 14. The squabble took both riders wide and allowed Fenati to take advantage, the Husqvarna rider keeping the lead to the checkered flag to take a well celebrated home victory. Vietti won the second place roulette ahead of Ogura, who snuck ahead of Arenas at the line to reduce the gap in the world championship. A frustrated Masia had to make do with fifth, ahead of poleman Fernandez and an impressive Deniz Oncu. Migno, Toba and McPhee completed the top ten.
Arenas keeps his lead in the championship standings but only 2 points ahead of Ogura, with McPhee dropping 21 points back.
|24||89||Khairul Idham Pawi||Honda||+24.967|
|40||Darryn Binder||KTM||5 Laps|
|7||Dennis Foggia||Honda||13 Laps|
|21||Alonso Lopez||Husqvarna||15 Laps|