Pedro Acosta wins in Mugello, ahead of Joe Roberts and Ai Ogura.
After such a bleak loss last time out in Le Mans, Acosta finally takes his first victory in the class, and breaks a record while he’s at it. The rookie is now the youngest ever winner in the intermediate class, breaking Marc Marquez’s record back in 2011.
Sitting on the front row just behind Poleman Canet, Acosta was once again gifted with a promising start on race day, and made sure he made good use of it. Stealing the holeshot from Canet into Turn 1, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider looked confident leading the pack across the line for the first lap. Sam Lowes finally showed promising form, holding onto the front runners and challenging Canet for P2, as teammate Tony Arbolino followed closely in 4th.
As the ELF Marc VDS Racing Team riders battled for the rostrum, Acosta began to break away from the group, with Canet closely in tow. The Pons Racing rider was so close, in fact, that a brief wobble for Acosta gifted the fellow Spaniard the lead with ease. However, Canet’s time at the front was short-lived, as the rookie soon retook the lead in the same lap.
With the front four beginning to break away, Ai Ogura joins the hunt alongside Joe Roberts, as the pair refuse to be left behind. The Japanese rider particularly desperate to stay ahead of title rival Vietti, with the Italian currently residing in P8 with 17 laps to go. Unfortunately for IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, Ogura’s teammate suffered from a crash at Turn 10 at this time, ending the Thai’s race early.
As the Top 6 proved unshakeable for race-leader Acosta, the pressure continued to grow for the youngster, as Canet continued to push for the lead. Heading towards the halfway mark, Sam Lowes became a quick victim of Ogura into Turn 1, as the Japanese rider made light work of the number 22, promoting himself into P4 and beginning the hunt for Arbolino in third.
Ogura wasted no time in claiming the rostrum position from Arbolino, with 12 laps still remaining, the Japanese rider began to look awfully threatening towards Acosta at the front, who still struggled to pull away from Canet in P2. However, Arbolino once again wasn’t going down quietly, as the Italian reclaimed his rostrum spot, placing Ogura in a VDS sandwich, as Lowes continued to stalk from behind. With the trio tripping each other up, Vietti soon began creeping up behind the order and bridging the gap to Roberts in P6, inching closer to his title competitor.
With 9 laps to go, Vietti finally found himself amongst the front runners, Roberts and Ogura making light work of the VDS pair into Turn 1, with Roberts taking Lowes, and Ogura taking Arbolino. The move from Roberts put the Brit in the firing line of Vietti, and the title leader made light work heading into Savelli.
While the leading pair managed to break away slightly from the following five, disaster struck for Canet as the Spaniard suffered from a fast lowside at Turn 15. The third DNF of the season for Canet gifted Acosta with a 1.6 second gap back to Ogura in his newly-appointed P2 position. In the midst of the chaos, Vietti made light work of the second VDS machine, as Arbolino falls to 5th position.
With Vietti closing behind, Roberts made no hesitation in pushing past Ogura heading into Turn 10. However, unfortunately for the Japanese rider, the championship leader took advantage of Roberts’ efforts, and pushed past also to take the final rostrum position behind the American.
Heading into the final laps, the front runners appeared to settle into their positions for the first time in the race, as the VDS pair fell behind into their own battle for 5th place. Acosta found his rhythm after Canet’s fall, extending the gap to over 2.5 seconds back to Roberts.
With 3 laps to go, it appeared that the VDS pair got carried away with their fight, as an aggressive attempt up the inside from Arbolino resulted in Lowes being shoved into the gravel. Understandably frustrated, this results in Lowes’ fourth consecutive DNF of the season. Arbolino swiftly received a long-lap penalty for the reckless move.
Unfortunately, the drama doesn’t end there. As sector 3 saw Vietti’s Kalex roll to a stop on the grass. The technical problem loses the Italian a home podium, but gifts Ogura a priceless opportunity for not only a rostrum, but to gain serious ground on Vietti in the title run.
The final laps saw Acosta practically cruise to the chequered flag, with a phenomenal 3.8 second lead, the rookie finally got his just deserves in Mugello. Roberts claimed a comfortable second, while Ogura followed for third.
Tony Arbolino just holds onto fourth after his penalty, with Fernandez following closely in 5th. Jake Dixon takes P6, with Beaubier following in 7th place. Alonso Lopez claims 8th place, followed by Marcel Schrötter, as Albert Arenas rounds out the Top 10.
Ogura now levels Vietti for the title lead, with both riders at 108 points a piece, with Aron Canet closing in with 89 points in third.
We head to Catalunya next weekend, who will be the leader at the chequered flag?
Feature Image: Gold & Goose