A bright cloudless day set the stage for the opening act of the final showdown and the lightweight class did not disappoint. And it was one to please the locals in particular as Jorge Martin’s very first victory in his 50th grand prix start was the cherry on top of an all Spanish podium. The world champion was denied the class’ victory record after an eventful ride but Joan Mir did become the holder of the record for most points in a Moto3 season. The final podium spot went to Marcos Ramirez, who fended off the likes of Romano Fenati and Enea Bastianini in order to taste the cava.
Poleman Martin had a fantastic start to keep control of the race although it looked like there was no chance of shaking off the front row men anytime soon, Juanfran Guevara and Mir close on his tail. Three laps later, the hot pace at the front left the pursuers over a second behind and it already looked like a straight fight between Martin, Rodrigo and Mir. But because you can never make predictions in Moto3, Rodrigo crashed in lap three and Mir’s avoiding action led him through the gravel and dropped him all the way down to 19 position, leaving Martin plenty of stress-free clear air to run away with victory.
Behind the Spaniard, the chasing group appeared to lose more time rather than bring down the gap as Ramirez, Bastianini, Guevara and Fabio di Giannantonio were battling for the provisional podium positions. Just off the back of this group were Aron Canet, who lost a bit of ground at the start, and Romano Fenati, the Italian recovering some positons from his 13th grid spot.
The two rivals got a chance to join the fight for the podium on lap seven, when Di Giannantonio clipped the back of Ramirez and crashed quite spectacularly at the end of the main straight. The Italian was able to remount but retired to the pits as Bastianini was left with a four-second gap and a few more challengers in the lead group, with Dennis Foggia, Ayumu Sasaki, Tatsuki Suzuki and Kazuki Masaki tagging along for the ride.
By lap ten, Mir was already knocking on the doors of the top ten, with two seconds to find in order to join the animated podium battle. In said battle, Foggia, Bastianini and Ramirez were the main contenders exchanging the lead of the group while Martin was getting little airtime with his five-second advantage in front.
Four laps later, Mir was within half a second of Masaki, who was the last man in the chasing pack. The world champion was the fastest man on track and managed to properly get involved into the fight one lap later, bringing John Mc Phee and Bo Bendsneyder with him. Suzuki was Mir’s next victim, with Sasaki was crossed off a few turns after and Canet an easy job too.
Meanwhile, Fenati finally got his turn in the lead of the group with seven laps remaining but Bastianini did not let him have it all his own way. One lap later, Mir went for the kill and put himself onto the podium with a double overtake into turn one, leaving him on the tail of Bastianini. One lap later and the Italian’s position was Mir’s but the six seconds’ gap to Martin in the distance was too far even for a champion of Mir’s pedigree. The Spaniard could not shake off the pursuers but he looked in control while Bastianini, Ramirez and Fenati were disputing third spot.
The final three laps looked like the calm before the storm, Mir finally bringing the gap below five seconds and his followers biding their time and their slipstream for a last lap attack. The decisive attack was decided in Ramirez’s favour, with no one able to lay a finger on the two Spaniards in front.
Fenati settled for fourth and missing the podium by only seven hundredths of a second, with Bastianini fifth by another four hundredths. Guevara finished sixth, over a second behind and followed by an impressive Foggia. McPhee, Canet and Masaki completed the top ten.
With the title settled long ago, the remaining honour of Rookie of the Year went to Ayumu Sasaki, the Japanese rider fading towards the end of the race but he was aided by Marco Bezzecchi’s early crash.
|20||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Mahindra||+34.360|
|29||4||Patrik PULKKINEN||Peugeot||1 Lap|
|21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||17 Laps|
|19||Gabriel RODRIGO||KTM||22 Laps|