Raul Fernandez has claimed his first Moto3 race win in a sincilating manner, dominating the race after an early off for his rivals.
From pole position, John McPhee got the 23-lap Grand Prix underway, but a poor start for the Scot saw him drop to tenth by the end of the opening lap. McPhee’s race ended early when he tumbled out at turn one after clipping a damp patch.
Celestino Vietti stormed to the front of the field, but a lap two crash after being passed by Red Bull KTM AJO’s Fernandez changed the race completely. Vietti span up his SKY VR46 Racing KTM on the exit of turn four causing Albert Arenas to roll off. As the Spanish rider slowed down, Alonso Lopez found himself with no where to go and slammed into the rear of Arenas’ machine – ending both of their races.
Despite staying on, Arenas was in trouble, dropping down the order before pulling into the pits for repairs – he later re-joined but was black flagged for irresponsible riding in the leading group.
Fernandez got away unscathed and opened up a 2.7s lead over Ai Ogura, who found himself in a race long battle with Tony Arbolino and Darryn Binder, who had both cleared the Japanese rider by the end of lap two.
Binder started to slip backwards, losing touch with the leading group, making it a three-horse race for second. Arbolino held on for the majority of the race but a last-lap effort from 2019 race-winner Garcia and Ai Ogura demoted Arbolino to fourth.
Meanwhile, the long lap penalty was getting its use, Jason Dupasquier was awarded a long lap for riding with a damaged bike in warm up, before Dennis Foggia, Romano Fenati and Gabriel Rodrigo were awarded it. Rodrigo’s was for taking out Tatsuki Suzuki in a racing incident.
It was a torrid day for both the SIC 58 and Leopard teams, Suzuki crashed out after a collision with Rodrigo; a few laps later, a hard charging Niccolo Antonelli, who had worked his way to tenth after starting last, crashed out at turn six.
Meanwhile, for Leopard, Foggia found himself with two long lap penalties before sadly both himself and team-mate Jaume Masia crashed out.
The race went down to the wire, with Fernandez’s lead getting smaller and smaller each lap; however, the young Spaniard kept his head and took his maiden Moto3 victory ahead of Sergio Garcia and Ai Ogura, who cuts Arenas’ lead to just three points with two races to go.
Moto3 returns next weekend for a second race at Valencia, will Arenas be awarded a further penalty or can he bounce back to retake control of his Moto3 title attack?
Featured image: MotoGP.com