A mildly overcast but thoroughly dry Assen kicked off proceedings for the lightweight class and it was celebrated with another impressive ride for Dennis Foggia, the Italian confidently leading the way for most of the race before claiming a second victory of the season. He was not without challengers however, Sergio Garcia the most prominent of them, but the Spaniard had to settle for second at the flag and a handful of points recovered in the championship battle. Romano Fenati joined them on the podium after he compensated for a double long lap penalty with a great recovery to claim third.
Having enjoyed his first front row start of the season, Fenati made a fine launch off the line to lead the way into turn 1, ahead of poleman Jeremy Alcoba and Garcia, but closely followed by Gabriel Rodrigo, a more sluggish-starting Foggia and Kaito Toba. Meanwhile, a more cautious Pedro Acosta couldn’t quite replicate his usual fast starts and dropped a couple of positions to 20th on the first lap.
Fenati continued unchallenged at the front, while the poleman was getting assaulted from all sides, giving up places to Garcia, Foggia and Rodrigo at the start of lap 2. After being a naughty boy on Friday, Fenati had to serve his first long lap penalty on lap 3 and it dropped him to 9th, at the back of the leading group and with the chasing group seven tenths behind the Italian. That left Foggia in charge of the leaders but Garcia had different plans and hit the front on lap 4, ahead of the two Leopard Racing riders and the rest of the lead group including Darryn Binder, Rodrigo, Alcoba and Tatsuki Suzuki. A touch over half a second behind were the chasers, led by Andrea Migno and soon including a recovering Acosta and Fenati, once the Italian served his second long lap penalty on lap 5 and dropped down to 14th place, about two seconds behind the leader.
While the Italian was pushing to rejoin the podium battle, Foggia and Garcia continued to trade top spot, with Binder and Suzuki also showing their intentions early on, although the leading group had grown as it merged with the next big group that included Fenati and Acosta, who had joined the top 10. The poleman was still part of the group but had dropped to the bottom of it, in 13th position.
Lap 10 started with Foggia back in control and with Garcia and Binder still his main challengers, but with the likes of John McPhee, Suzuki, Xavier Artigas, Acosta, Fenati and Rodrigo still in contention. The group had reduced quite significantly for the second half of the race, after Niccolò Antonelli and Migno got caught out at turn 5 and then Alcoba, Toba, Stefano Nepa and Izan Guevara gradually lost touch with the 9 men ahead.
Back at the front, Foggia was largely untroubled but had Garcia glued to his tail. Fenati was back in the top 3 mix by the halfway point of proceedings but had to fight off Binder for the position. Meanwhile, Acosta joined the top 5 for the first time in the final 6 laps, despite a big scare at the final chicane, getting ahead of McPhee and Suzuki, while Rodrigo and Artigas dropped out of contention by almost two seconds.
Foggia was finally shown a wheel with 4 laps remaining, when Fenati briefly got ahead after a mistake from his compatriot but Foggia reclaimed the lead to start the last 3 laps at the front and tried to push for a gap. He did get a bit of a gap, never bigger than three tenths of a second but enough to keep Garcia at arm’s length. Binder in turn was putting pressure on the Spaniard but a massive slide through turn 15 dropped him to the back of the lead group, in the company of teammate McPhee.
Foggia led the group across the line to start the final lap and managed his gap to perfection to claim victory over Garcia and Fenati, who had shaken off the rest of the group. Binder got ahead of Acosta and Suzuki at the final chicane to take fourth position on the final lap but then got demoted three positions for exceeding track limits on that last lap, which promoted Acosta into fourth place, Suzuki into fifth and McPhee into sixth. Over seven seconds later, Rodrigo, Artigas and Alcoba rounded out the top ten positions.
Despite his frightening crash on Saturday and having just got off a hospital bed this morning, Acosta defended his championship lead beautifully and keeps Garcia 48 points behind. Foggia climbs to third, 72 points behind the leader, with Fenati up to fourth, 78 points down.
|24||19||Andi Farid Izdihar||Honda||+1'03.979|
|31||Adrian Fernandez||Husqvarna||9 Laps|
|16||Andrea Migno||Honda||12 Laps|