Race day in Mugello started with a mix of damp patches and patches of blue sky but weather was thankfully not a factor in the usual shenanigans of Moto3. The race followed the usual script of frequent exchanges at the front, with the added drama of some high-profile crashes, a top three taking separated by only three hundredths of a second and a post-race penalty deciding the victor. The big trophy stayed in the Aspar family, after a penalty for exceeding track limits on the final lap demoted Izan Guevara to second and handed the victory to teammate Sergio Garcia – the two Spaniards stealing the scene on the final lap. Tatsuki Suzuki was the intruder on the podium, coming from 11th on the grid, taking a long lap penalty and still finding his way into the victory battle on the final lap, looking quite disappointed to be only third.
The tale had a very narrative at the start of the 20-lap race, when poleman Deniz Öncü made a perfect start to lead ahead of rookie Diogo Moreira and Guevara, the trio quickly extending a one second gap ahead of the chasers led by Dennis Foggia, Garcia and Daniel Holgado. Great starts for the likes of Suzuki and Andrea Migno quickly put them in the mix for the top five, despite being quite far back on the grid, and once Migno got into the lead of the chase, the gap to the three feisty leaders quickly started coming down. Meanwhile, Jaume Masia had a nightmare opening lap, dropping him back to 17th position, followed by a trip through the gravel a couple laps later, while avoiding an incident for Stefano Nepa, which pushed him further back to 27th position. Although the Spaniard’s pace helped him to recover positions straight away, he was over 15 seconds behind the leaders after the first handful of laps.
Meanwhile, the battle for victory had compacted into a sizeable group of around 20 riders and Foggia promptly picked up the lead on home soil by lap five. Teammate Suzuki and Guevara were his main challengers over the next couple of laps, but Foggia kept finding a way back into the lead, while poleman Öncü and championship leader Garcia kept close behind the trio and started lining up some moves soon after.
Despite the shiver of sharks slightly behind him, Foggia continued to control the race from the front and the leading group finally started to break by lap 10, with 12 men sticking around for the podium battle. However, that was followed by a lap of pure chaos, starting with Öncü crashing out at San Donato after contact with Suzuki, then Foggia finding himself in the gravel after losing the rear out of Casanova – his runaway machine forcing Carlos Tatay wide and ending with Holgado climbing over John McPhee’s machine after the Scotsman crashed right in front of him at turn 14.
While the replays tried to clear the confusion, Migno took advantage to take control of a leading pack reduced to only six riders. After Suzuki served a long lap penalty for the incident with Öncü, he dropped two seconds behind the leading six but luckily for him, the frequent exchanges at the front allowed him to close back that gap with five laps remaining. Garcia hit the front for the first time as the race entered those final five laps but the Japanese rider promptly retrieved top spot into San Donato and the duo continued to trade places over the next couple of laps.
Riccardo Rossi and Moreira made brief appearances in top spot in those final laps but it was Guevara who started the final lap in the lead. Having dropped back a few possessions in the slipstream bonanza on the main straight, teammate Garcia immediately stepped it up and took both Migno and Suzuki in successive corners to trail his leading teammate. Garcia made his attack at the final corner but it was Guevara who ended up on top in the photo finish at the line. However, Guevara was soon penalised with a one position drop for exceeding track limits on the final lap, handing back victory to teammate Garcia. With Guevara and Suzuki completing the podium, Migno was best of the rest in fourth, ahead of Yamanaka, while Rossi had to settle for sixth following a late tangle with Moreira, when the rookie lost control and crashed out at the final corner. Despite the early tumble, Öncü managed to rejoin and take one point from 15th position, while Masia struggled to do any better than 17th.
Garcia’s inherited victory came with a bonus in the championship standings as well, the Spaniard now 28 points ahead of his teammate and with Masia and Foggia tied on a 42-point deficit.
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