It was a tough start to race day, with the heart-breaking absence of Jason Dupasquier following his serious accident on Saturday and even the weather felt like sparing the lightweight class more trouble. Beautiful sunshine embraced the circuit over the 20 laps and Mugello offered a classic Moto3 rough and tumble for glory, which ended with the Italian being waved to unfortunately empty grandstands by Dennis Foggia. The home favourite played a clever game throughout the race and rode an impeccable last lap to claim a first victory of the season ahead of Jaume Masia. Gabriel Rodrigo joins them on the podium for only the second time in his career, helped by his best qualifying position of the season.
Pedro Acosta also made the best of his first front row start and reached San Donato first once the lights went out, ahead of Rodrigo and poleman Tatsuki Suzuki. Foggia first took control of the pack with a slipstream on the main straight at the start of lap 2, getting ahead of the front row starters and 12 other riders who were making up the lead group. Amongst them was Darryn Binder, who climbed up to 6th having started 15th, while teammate John McPhee dropped a couple places to 13th. Andrea Migno was unfortunately not part of the line-up, as he crashed out at turn 7 on the first lap, together with Deniz Öncü, Carlos Tatay and Maximilian Kofler.
Acosta reclaimed top billing on lap 3 but Foggia hit back on lap 4 and the duo continued trading places for a couple of laps. Arrabbiata 1 and San Donato were the preferred overtaking places for the likes of Romano Fenati and Suzuki, who soon got involved in the battle for the lead, but Foggia started lap 6 at the front once more. Having briefly dropped to the back of the top 10, Acosta quickly found his way back into the battle, with Rodrigo and Binder in close proximity. Ayumu Sasaki, Stefano Nepa, Jeremy Alcoba, Masia, Sergio Garcia, Kaito Toba, McPhee, Filip Salac and Niccolò Antonelli were still within reach of the leaders but yet to make much noise, with the next group over six seconds back.
Acosta contested the lead around turn 1 on lap 8 but Foggia still wanted didn’t allow him much time in the limelight and quickly fought back to lead across the line next time around, even holding back the slipstreamers into San Donato. Despite a few more attempts at demoting him, the Italian kept ahead of a sizeable 15-man group for the next few laps. Most notably within that group, Masia and Garcia had advanced towards the business end by the halfway mark of proceedings.
Suzuki eventually picked up the baton to lead going into the second half of the race, with Foggia dropping out of the top 5 for the first time since the lights went off but the Italian remedied that with 8 laps remaining. Determined to avoid further drama, Foggia pushed at the front to bring some colour to the timing screens but Acosta & co didn’t let him get away and continued to show their intentions. A feisty Suzuki spiced things up on lap 14, but nothing like the action into turn 1 the next time around, when McPhee shot into the lead from well outside the top 5. He didn’t last there long, as Fenati found a way past, while the likes of Foggia and Acosta found themselves with work to do from outside the top 10 with 5 laps remaining.
Binder had the advantage going into those final five laps, with a gaggle of KTMs on his tail. While Foggia took a while longer to recover, Acosta was leading the way only one lap later, having yoyo-ed through the leading group all afternoon. With the big pack still intact, the order changed with every blink of an eye but Acosta, Fenati and Binder got the overwhelming screen time at the front in the closing stages.
Foggia started the final lap back in the lead, while Acosta got relegated to 11th in the heat of battle on the previous lap. While the podium battle got heated behind him, Foggia managed to stretch a couple tenths at the front and slipstream made no difference in the end, the Italian taking the checkered flag three hundredths of a second ahead of Masia, with Rodrigo another tenth back. Sasaki and Binder completed the top five, while Fenati dropped to sixth. Acosta recovered to finish seventh but both him and Garcia got penalised to drop one position for exceeding track limits on the final lap, leaving McPhee to claim seventh place. The Spanish duo completed the top 10 together with poleman Suzuki.
Despite missing out on podium positions, Acosta maintains his championship lead, 52 points ahead of teammate Masia, who climbed five positions with today’s podium. At the end of a difficult weekend, Sasaki joins the top three, 54 points behind the leader, while Garcia drops to fourth, another point down.
|21||19||Andi Farid Izdihar||Honda||+40.023|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|53||Deniz Öncü||KTM||0 Lap|
|16||Andrea Migno||Honda||0 Lap|
|67||Alberto Surra||KTM||0 Lap|
|31||Adrian Fernandez||Husqvarna||0 Lap|
|99||Carlos Tatay||KTM||0 Lap|
|73||Maximilian Kofler||KTM||0 Lap|