Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) romped to his first victory of the season to announce he is ready to fight for the Moto3 crown once again.
Pole sitter Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) made a blinding start and looked to be streaking clear of the field, however the race was halted by the Red Flags which came out following a crash for Japanese rookie Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) at T14, who eventually walked away from the accident after being aided by medics on the track.
Canet again grabbed the hole-shot from the restart and looked confident to leave the chasing pack in his wake, his practice and qualifying pace suggested he could easily clear off at the front. Fenati though had other ideas, the Italian managed to take the lead on the first lap, only for the Spaniard to retake the lead going up the hill into the first corner, a great jostle between the pair.
The duo were shadowed by Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3), Joan Mir (Leopard Racing), Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3), Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0), who were unable to keep tabs on the front twosome.
Disaster then struck for Canet. Pushing hard to create a gap, the 18 year old had a nasty highside coming out of the penultimate corner, leaving Fenati to control the race. The result means the controversial Italian is now fourth in the championship and only 13 points off the top spot, you’d be a fool to rule him out.
The eight time grand prix winner eventually crossed the line 4.5 seconds clear of the two Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda riders, with Martin edging out his team-mate ‘Di Gi’ by less than a tenth of a second. This result meant that Martin continued his 100% podium record in 2017 and after the race he told MotoGP.com that “it’s important that we’re consistent.” He leapfrogs British Talent Team pilot John McPhee in the championship to go just six points behind series leader Mir, whilst Fabio sits sixth in the standings after picking up his first podium of the season.
In arrears of the top three were Bastianini and Bulega, who both took their best results of the year by some distance, with the VR46 rider crossing the line as the leading KTM. Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing Team), also steering a KTM machine pipped Britain’s McPhee on the penultimate corner to clinch his best result of the year, leaving the Scotsman having to settle for seventh. Despite finishing off the podium for the first time in 2017, McPhee was still able to close the gap at the top of the championship as Mir was forced to settle for eighth.
German Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) collected some valuable points in ninth, with Darryn Binder (Platinum Bay Real Estate), brother to last year’s world champion Brad, rounding out the top 10. The South African lead a gaggle of riders past the checkered flag which included Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing Team), Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46), Jules Danilo (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers), Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Livio Loi (Leopard Racing).
Jerez is up next for the future premier class protagonists, a rider and fan favourite. With the championship tightened up, the battle in Europe will be an enthralling watch with Mir, Martin, McPhee and Fenati looking to take a stranglehold on the Moto3 world championship.
Full results: http://www.motogp.com/en/Results+Statistics/2017/AME/Moto3/RAC/World+Standing
Elliott York @journoyork