Lightweight class riders lined up on the grid as the clock hit noon in Aragon and went on to provide an entertaining show for the attending wildlife. Once the checkered flag waved, Jaume Masia became the 100th rider to win a GP for Honda in his first victory of the season. The Spaniard expertly managed the final lap of a close race to finish ahead of Darryn Binder and poleman Raul Fernandez. The Red Bull KTM man had led the way for most of the race but was happy to at least get a maiden podium out it.
Championship leader Albert Arenas had made the best start off the line, ahead of fellow front row starters Fernandez and Celestino Vietti, but Fernandez was quick to recover the lead by the end of lap 1, bringing Tatsuki Suzuki with him. Binder was quick to join the top six, while John McPhee and Ai Ogura were still towards the bottom of the top ten. McPhee then served his long lap penalty for irresponsible riding in Q1 on lap 3, dropping him to 17th position but only four seconds off the lead.
Fernandez, Suzuki and Arenas were biding their time at the front but Vietti was steadily dropping out of the top ten in the early stages. However, the leaders didn’t have much time to relax as Binder was on a charge was attacked for third on lap five and went on to snatch second on lap six. Fernandez had been defending admirably and bringing the lead pack including Binder, Arenas, Suzuki and Romano Fenati over two seconds ahead of the chasers lead by Masia, who had made solid progress after starting 17th on the grid.
Binder lined up a move on Fernandez on the back straight and the Spaniard eventually had to give up the lead at turn 16. Fernandez struck back at turn 12 the next time around but the shenanigans allowed Masia to reduce the gap to under a second by lap nine and the chasing group merged with the leaders just one lap later. That group also included a fast recovering McPhee, who was back in the victory battle at the halfway point of the race. However, Vietti and Ogura were not making much noise, outside of the top ten and slowly losing touch with the lead group.
Fernandez started the final half of the race still in charge of proceedings ahead of Arenas and Binder, with Fenati battling off McPhee while closely followed by Masia, Jeremy Alcoba and Suzuki. Carlos Tatay was leading the chasing group one second down the road. The world championship leader kept the cameras busy for the next few laps as he was coming under attack from all sides but no one was really showing a wheel to Fernandez until the final corner with six laps to go, when Binder regained top spot. The poleman got pushed back to fifth but was quick to fight back and was retaking the lead at turn 1 next time around.
Masia finally took his turn at the front in the final three laps but Fernandez proved to be the last on the brakes into turn one once again. Masia repeated the same move at the final turn as the race entered the final lap but again Fernandez immediately resumed the lead at turn one. Masia did the same routine at turn 16 on the last lap and this time it paid off as the Spaniard kept the lead to the checkered flag. The decisive move also saw Binder breeze past Fernandez at turn 16 to claim second position and demote the Spaniard to third. Fenati missed out on the podium for a tenth of a second, ahead of McPhee and Alcoba. Arenas went wide on last lap and dropped to seventh after some more paint rubbing late in that lap. A second and a half town the road, Suzuki, Vietti and Foggia rounded out the top ten.
The best Ogura could do was 14th, although Arenas losing positions late on means that the Spaniard only extended his lead to 13 points over the Japanese rider. Vietti is 18 points back, with Arbolino dropping to 29 points while out of action. McPhee is fifth in the championship, 35 points down.
|27||89||Khairul Idham Pawi||Honda||+36.739|
|73||Maximilian Kofler||KTM||2 Laps|
|16||Andrea Migno||KTM||11 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|2||Gabriel Rodrigo||Honda||0 Lap|