Fresh off a bout of sunbathing, lightweight class riders were in top form as race day got underway at Silverstone and the usual chaos ensued over 17 long laps under the sun. With over a dozen riders in contention amongst the leaders, it predictably came down to the final lap, when Dennis Foggia made an enthusiastic return to the top step of the podium. The Italian had to fend off a particularly feisty Jaume Masia, whose qualifying woes left him 21st on the grid but didn’t stop him from making another impressive comeback onto the second step of the podium. Deniz Öncü was another consistent fixture at the front of the pack but eventually had to settle for a solid third place.
The main actors were slightly different as the lights went off on the grid, when poleman Diogo Moreira was immediately challenged by his front row colleagues, Izan Guevara and Ryusei Yamanaka. Guevara was in charge of proceedings at the start of lap two, but Öncü had come to the fore as well, with Ayumu Sasaki making some early progress to join the leaders. While Moreira was kept busy by the Leopard Racing machines, championship leader Sergio Garcia was still lingering at the bottom of the top 10 and trying to bridge an early half second deficit to the leading group ahead. David Muñoz was keen to be in the mix as well and despite a long lap penalty dropping him down to 14th early on, the rookie was quick to recover ground and rejoin the leaders.
Although Guevara kept the lead of the group for the next couple of laps, there was quite a queue forming behind him, with Öncü, Tatsuki Suzuki and John McPhee in prime position to challenge the Spaniard. However, the first challenge that stuck came from Foggia, who attacked at the start of lap 6 to take control of the feisty pack. Masia had joined the list of challengers meanwhile, the Spaniard making quick progress in a handful of laps, from 21st on the grid right up to 5th, while compatriot Garcia was still lingering at the bottom of the top 10.
Foggia’s mistake at Brooklands allowed rivals to squabble for the lead, first Guevara, then Suzuki and Öncü taking turns at the front on lap 7. Foggia quickly composed himself to reclaim prime position one lap later, while a particularly busy turn 7 pushed Guevara out of the top 5 and left him directly behind his teammate.
Having teammate Suzuki as a wingman over the next couple laps helped Foggia extend a half second gap over the rest of the pack by lap 10, while Suzuki battled the likes of Muñoz, Öncü and Sasaki. Back in the title battle, Garcia finally had the upper hand, helped by Guevara struggling to improve on 10th position, stuck in between Dani Holgado and McPhee. Meanwhile, Moreira and Yamanaka were still in leading group but close to slipping out of point scoring positions in 14th and 15th.
Although Foggia continued his march at the front, Suzuki could not keep rivals behind for much longer and Öncü managed to bridge the gap to the leader with 7 laps remaining, the Turkish rider attacking one lap later. Öncü and the Leopard boys continued their exchanges and the KTM rider was back in charge of proceedings with 4 laps remaining, but some new challengers had emerged. A notable presence amongst the leading group was that of Ivan Ortolá, the rookie joining the top five after starting 18th on the grid, ahead of Masia and Muñoz, who had kept him company towards the back of the grid as well. Ortolá went on to briefly take the lead with 3 laps remaining, but his rollercoaster of a race was soon to come hurtling back down – much like the Aspar boys were about experience. Garcia had climbed as high as fourth for those final laps but disaster struck when he got tagged by Sasaki at turn 13, taking both riders out in the gravel. That handed the lead in the world championship to teammate Guevara, who was still stuck at the bottom of the top 10, but Stowe found with Guevara in the wrong place at the wrong time, on the outside of an unlucky Ortolá crashing out on the final lap.
Back at the front, Öncü had held onto the lead going into that final lap, but Foggia and Masia attacked at the right time to avoid the chaos behind and sneak ahead on the podium. The last lap shenanigans also saw Suzuki and Muñoz crash out and while the gravel was still settling, Foggia took the chequered flag two tenths of a second ahead of Masia and Öncü. Kaito Toba came out of pretty much nowhere to claim fourth, ahead of Stefano Nepa and poleman Moreira. McPhee, Yamanaka, Andrea Migno and Carlos Tatay completed the top 10 after the eventful final handful of laps.
The dramatic final couple of laps restored the status quo in the world championship standings, Garcia maintaining a three-point advantage over Guevara, while Foggia’s victory helped him back into the fight, reducing his deficit to 42 points.
|17||64||Mario Suryo Aji||Honda||21.188|
|20||Nicola Fabio Carraro||21.454|