Under perfect race conditions, Mugello treated us to an odd appetiser for a lightweight class race. If chaos is the word of the day on most Sundays for the youngsters, this time around the best of the best took off at the start and battled for the championship lead amongst themselves. At the end, Jorge Martin achieved the rare feat of winning from pole position on the Italian track, Marco Bezzecchi and Fabio Di Giannantonio bringing the fight to him until the very end - only four hundredths of a second the difference between a win and third place silverware.
Martin started off as favourite, launching into turn one in clear air at the start, while Bezzecchi and Di Giannantonio were already attacking the other front row men trying to keep up with the Spaniard. Meanwhile, Aron Canet had dropped towards the end of the top ten, next to Enea Bastianini and already setting the scene for his up and down race.
One lap in, Martin had half a second in hand on the pursuers and it already looked like only Di Giannantonio and Bezzecchi were able to keep up with the leader’s pace. Meanwhile, Canet came to the lead of the chasing pack by lap two but the massive group swallowed by slipstream whoever was trying to make an escape.
By the end of lap three, Bezzecchi caught up with Martin to briefly switch places at the front but the shenanigans in the lead trio did not slow them down too much, finding themselves already three seconds ahead of the chasers. The second group included Bastianini, Tony Arbolino, Gabriel Rodrigo, Jaume Masia, Canet, Tatsuki Suzuki and Ayumu Sasaki and despite a couple of them being faster than the leaders, they had serious trouble escaping the pack.
With Martin being the master in turn one, Bezzecchi and Di Giannantonio had to plan their stints at the front carefully and they both got their turn by lap six. The trio had few worries about their rivals behind, who were going backwards and merging with another big group, adding the likes of Darryn Binder, Andrea Migno, Nicolo Bulega, Philipp Oettl and Marcos Ramirez to the battle for fourth.
By lap eight, Martin was back in front and the leaders were keeping their powder dry, seven seconds ahead of the mammoth group behind. Finding himself in minority amongst the leaders, Bezzecchi had the occasional moment while keeping up with the Gresini teammates, who were swapping places ahead of him.
At the halfway point, the leaders were still doing their thing, with Bastianini fronting the finally reduced line-up in the battle for fourth. The Leopard rider was the fastest man on track at this point and he was successfully keeping Migno, Arbolino and Rodrigo at bay, while Dalla Porta had fallen two seconds back, together with the likes of Masia, Binder, Antonelli and Canet.
The Gresini men continued to battle for the lead while Bezzecchi was patiently holding on to the back of them. Meanwhile, Bastianini had brought the gap down to five seconds with five laps to go but the mountain was too high to climb and he soon got dragged in battle with Migno, Arbolino and Rodrigo. One lap later, Martin and Di Giannantonio finally unleashed some more speed to drop Bezzecchi slightly, although the Italian did not look totally out of the mix, always recovering the gap in the final sector.
With two laps to go, the championship leader slipstreamed back into contention and found himself in the lead as the trio started the final lap. That didn’t last long and the Italian got mugged by the Hondas again, Martin having the task of defending lead position all throughout last lap and did an excellent job of it to the line. Bezzecchi robbed Di Giannantonio for second, while Rodrigo was best of the rest ten seconds down the road.
The rest of the top ten was an all Italian affair, Migno and Bastianini scoring fifth and sixth place at their home race, with Arbolino just behind. Dalla Porta finished eight, with Antonelli and wildcard Manuel Pagliani completing the top ten.
Canet’s ride to 11th place has further hindered his championship charge, dropping him to fourth in the standings, 22 points down on Bezzecchi. The Italian just about kept the lead by three points ahead of Martin, with Di Giannantonio third, only eight points down and proving that the battle for Mugello is very much the battle for the championship as well.
|3||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||+0.043|
|8||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||+14.567|
|76||Makar YURCHENKO||KTM||2 Laps|
|5||Jaume MASIA||KTM||4 Laps|
|10||Dennis FOGGIA||KTM||14 Laps|
|81||Stefano NEPA||KTM||15 Laps|
|7||Adam NORRODIN||Honda||18 Laps|