The sun was out for the Moto3 race in Brno, round ten of the 2019 World Championship, as Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) took his second win of the season and reclaimed the championship lead.
Before the start, Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) stalled his bike on the grid and missed the warm up lap. He had to start from pole position instead of third.
The front row would lose its second contender at the start, as John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) engaged the pit limiter instead of the launch button. He got away well but didn’t accelerate past the pit speed of 60kph, and was lucky to only be collected by one rider, although wildcard Yuki Kunii (Asia Talent Team) will doubtless see that differently.
It was Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) who made the holeshot from pole. He was joined at the front for much of the first half of the race by teammate Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) who spent much of that period riding the outside line to maintain the lead from the group behind which was for most of the race seventeen-strong.
That group was broken up when the two Estrella Galicia 0,0 bikes collided, taking both Sergio Garcia and Alonso Lopez out of the race, and slimming the front group to ten riders.
Before this crash, three riders had been making significant progress: Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing), Niccolo Antonelli and Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power). The all benefitted from the strong effect of the slipstream throughout a lap of Brno, and were able to fight their respective ways up the order to all, at some point, at least have a look at leading the race.
Particularly Antonelli’s ride was impressive, coming from pit lane to fight for the podium and the win, setting several fastest laps along the way and not looking at risk to do any of it. Similarly, and perhaps uncharacteristically, Darryn Binder did not look to be risking much in his overtakes, although some of them were slightly late.
As the race approached its final part, the efforts of these three riders perhaps began to show, as other riders seemed to grow stronger in the closing laps, possibly as a consequence of Antonelli, Dalla Porta and Binder using more tyre to arrive in the fight at all. In comparison, their competitors were in the fight from the beginning, so did not have to apply any unnecessary stress to put themselves in a particular position.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta, nonetheless, led onto the final lap, but both Tony Arblino and Aron Canet – both of whom had sat quietly in the top five for the whole race – went through at turn three. Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) – similar to Arbolino and Canet in his anonymity throughout the race – passed Dalla Porta in turn five.
A mistake from Arbolino on the exit of turn nine allowed Canet to cut underneath and take the lead, whilst Dalla Porta used the slipstream to put him in the position to out-brake Masia into turn ten. Another dive from Dalla Porta in turn twelve allowed Canet to escape a little before the run up the hill. The #44 was clear into the final corner, and Dalla Porta was not close enough to slipstream him to the line.
Canet’s victory was a superb one, in which he showed just how much moving away from the Monlau setup for this year has helped him. So many times we have seen Canet sit in the group and do very little but maintain his distance to the front until the final stages this year, and in this race he perfected that strategy to take his second win of the season and reclaim the championship lead.
Dalla Porta’s second place was therefore important for the Italian, who now sits three points behind Canet as the World Championship heads to KTM’s home track in Austria. Despite a poor qualifying where he was only seventeenth, the #48 proved he has the race craft, the mentality and the intelligence to recover from that situation, and in this case that means that he remains in touch in the World Championship chase between himself and Canet.
Tony Arbolino looked strong throughout the race, but there was little he could do about Dalla Porta’s late lunge in turn twelve which cost him the chance to challenge Canet in the final two corners. Nonetheless, it was a good response from Arbolino to his difficult race in Sachsenring where he finished only fifteenth.
Jaume Masia was unable to put KTM on the podium in Brno, but his race was a good one, similar in some respects to the one he made in Mugello. He was invisible for most of the race, but was able to challenge strongly for the podium at the end, unfortunately missing out by two tenths.
After starting from pit lane, Niccolo Antonelli should be quite happy with fifth place, but when he had the opportunity entering the final lap to fight for the win it is perhaps difficult to see what he actually achieved. An attempted pass from Antonelli into the first corner dropped him to fifth place on the final lap, and unfortunately for the Italian he was unable to recover from that.
Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) had a strong ride to sixth place. Brno is a track that Ogura knows, having ridden a wildcard ride there in 2018, so a good result was to be expected – to walk away with ‘top rookie’ is nonetheless impressive and shows his potential.
Seventh place went to Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai) who was also in the front group for almost the entirety of the race, but was unable to launch himself into the fight for the podium. He was ahead of Romano Fenati over the line, finishing eighth after dropping out of the lead fight at about half-distance.
Ninth place went to home rider Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP), whilst Darryn Binder eventually rounded out the top ten.
Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) took eleventh place ahead of Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) who made a strong start but was unable to keep the front pace for the full distance. Thirteenth place went to Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) who fought inside the top ten in the early stages, but fell back in the second half. Can Oncu (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took fourteenth, whilst Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) took the final point in fifteenth.
Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) started one place behind teammate Dalla Porta, but was unable to get near the Italian’s pace and was unable to follow him through the pack, finishing sixteenth in the end. Stefano Nepa (Reale Avintia Arizona 77) was seventeenth, ahead of wildcard Deniz Oncu (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team) who crashed early on – his third crash in as many races.
After Yuki Kunii hit John McPhee, both riders were out. Filip Salac (Redox PruestelGP) joined them when he had contact with another rider in the first corner and crashed out of his home GP. Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power) and Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) both finished their respective races with seventeen laps to go, before Riccardo Rossi (Kommerling Gresini Moto3) dropped out as well. Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) crashed twice before he called it a day; then Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) high sided on the exit of turn seven, moments before Garcia and Lopez came together at turn nine. Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) was the final retirement with two laps to go.
Featured Image courtesy of Gold and Goose/KTM