Lots of clouds turned up to watch the intermediate class race but they didn’t interfere with the plotline, which saw Luca Marini and Sam Lowes pushing each other all the way to the final lap. The conclusion of the story was in the Italian’s favour, Marini consolidating his championship lead with a victory on enemy soil. Lowes disposed of several challengers to join the victory battle and stepped onto the second podium spot for the second consecutive time. Although not featuring heavily int he victory fight, Fabio Di Giannantonio made good use of his second row start and turned it into a first podium of the season.
Pole position served Marini well as he reached turn 1 first, while Di Giannantonio found a way past teammate Jorge Navarro, with Marco Bezzecchi close behind. Having started 10th, Enea Bastianini was up to fifth straight away and ahead of Lowes, who lost a couple of places on the first lap but was a handful for the Italian. Lowes made a close move on lap two to, demoting Bastianini, who then lost another place to Joe Roberts, with Jake Dixon and Xavi Vierge also on his tail and waiting to pounce. From 19th on the grid, Aron Canet had joined the top ten by lap 3, holding off the likes of Augusto Fernandez, Jorge Martin and Tom Luthi.
By lap 5, the two Speed Up machines of Di Giannantonio and Navarro were still clinging onto the back of Marini, with Lowes pushing to join the victory battle. The Marc VDS rider soon got past Navarro and the Spaniard’s podium charge seemed to be over early on. Roberts had picked up the lead of the chasing pack but the group had lost a full second on the four leaders. The group also lost Dixon to a mechanical issue one lap later, Bezzecchi to a mistake at turn 10 on the same lap and Vierge to a crash at turn 9 a couple of laps later.
Back at the front, Lowes picked up Di Giannantonio on lap 7 but the aggressive move at turn 10 dropped both of them over a second behind Marini, who was the quickest man on track. While Lowes pushed to catch up with the leader, leaving Di Giannantonio in his wake, Roberts was still leading the chasing pack ahead of Navarro, still a second behind the podium positions. Canet was the fastest man of the group, having demoted Bastianini and Fernandez, while Bezzechi was another second down the road, in a third group with Luthi and Ramirez. However, Canet made his first significant mistake at notorious turn 10 on lap 11, when he dropped from 6th to 9th and out of the battle for fourth.
Marini was yet to be challenged as the race hit the halfway mark but Lowes was glued to his rear wheel and planning an attack. Di Giannantonio was in a lonely third, with Roberts and Navarro the only men still standing from the original pursuing pack. Another second and a half back, Bastianini was under attack from Fernandez, with Bezzecchi and Canet not too far back either.
Lowes bided his time until 7 laps were left on the board, entering the first corner first and waiting for Marini’s response. The Italian wasn’t in a rush to retaliate but kept a close eye on the British rider. Meanwhile, DiGia was starting to feel somewhat less comfortable in his podium spot, as teammate Navarro was getting nearer, seven tenths back with 3 laps remaining.
Lowes had a stressful final handful of laps, with a twitch here and a slide there, encouraging Marini to attack in turn 1 with two laps remaining. Lowes tried to fight back but went in too hot at turn 6 and it allowed the SKY rider to start the final lap nine tenths ahead. Marini took the checkered flag comfortably ahead of Lowes, with Di Giannantonio never really under threat from Navarro. Roberts joined the top five, with Bastianini giving up one too many championship points down in sixth, much like Bezzecchi in seventh. Canet, Ramirez and Schrotter completed the top ten positions.
Marini’s victory puts him 20 points ahead of compatriot Bastianini, with teammate Bezzecchi 36 points down and Lowes 47 behind the leader.
|3||21||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Speed Up||+4.399|
|4||9||Jorge Navarro||Speed Up||+5.608|
|8||44||Aron Canet||Speed Up||+9.928|
|15||24||Simone Corsi||MV Agusta||+20.404|
|18||55||Hafizh Syahrin||Speed Up||+36.014|
|19||27||Andi Farid Izdihar||Kalex||+36.101|
|7||Lorenzo Baldassarri||Kalex||1 Lap|
|37||Augusto Fernandez||Kalex||2 Laps|
|35||Somkiat Chantra||Kalex||2 Laps|
|88||Jorge Martin||Kalex||8 Laps|
|97||Xavi Vierge||Kalex||15 Laps|
|96||Jake Dixon||Kalex||17 Laps|
|11||Nicolò Bulega||Kalex||19 Laps|
|19||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Kalex||20 Laps|
|62||Stefano Manzi||MV Agusta||20 Laps|