The first recital at the Ring came from the lightweight class and it finished with a strong solo performance from Jorge Martin, the championship leader taking his sixth Grand Prix win after escaping a scrap with his main title rival. Once Martin made his escape, Marco Bezzecchi fended off John McPhee for the second podium position, with the CIP rider joining the rostrum in third, only half a tenth behind the Italian at the flag.
Poleman Martin had made an excellent start, keeping his position ahead of Marcos Ramirez while the other front row starter Enea Bastianini was getting swallowed up after a few turns. Bezzecchi had a great launch off third row and joined the top three, taking Tony Arbolino with him. If an early escape was in Martin’s plan, that did not work out as scheduled and the Spaniard was soon being threatened by first Ramirez and then Bezzecchi, with a characteristically massive group behind them.
Ramirez took the lead for the first time on lap three but it took less than a lap for Martin to retrieve his favourite position. Bezzecchi took his turn at the front one lap later and despite the pack still being tightly held together, the Italian together with Martin and Arbolino were the featured acts in the podium battle for the early part of the race.
By lap six, Arbolino took the lead briefly and Di Giannantonio decided to finally mingle at the top, with McPhee, Jaume Masia, Gabriel Rodrigo, Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Raul Fernandez, Aron Canet, Albert Arenas and Ramirez also edging a few tenths ahead of the following group led by Bastianini, who kept moving back and forth from the leaders’ group. The Italian lost ground all the way down to 15th position but all was not yet lost as the leaders were not really escaping at the front.
By lap ten, there was finally a hint that a select group could stretch a gap at the front, including Martin, Bezzecchi, Mc Phee, Di Giannantonio and Arbolino. Canet was leading the chasers a second down the road but he seemed to have the pace needed to catch up, soon posting the fastest lap of the race. The Spaniard latched to the back of the leading pack by lap 12, taking Arenas, Rodrigo and Ramirez with him. Meanwhile, Bastianini kept going backwards, down to 17th place.
At the halfway point of the race, the leaders’ advantage vanished once again and there were minuscule gaps in the top 19. The group did lose a member soon after, Di Giannantonio tagging the back of his teammate while making a move for the lead and crashing out, with Martin lucky to keep going and only lose a couple of places. Arenas inherited the lead but not for long as Martin and Bezzecchi were determined to fight this out amongst themselves. Only a few tenths behind that battle for the lead, Philipp Oettl was starting his charge and joined the top five with ten laps to go, with Bastianini finally going upwards to 11th as Arbolino started going backwards drastically and out of point scoring positions.
With eight laps left, Martin looked like he was finally making his escape, holding half a second over the still lengthy pursuing group. That group lost Arenas on the next lap and the podium contenders reduced to eight riders as Bastianini struggled to keep up with the people ahead and then joined the crash list soon after.
No such problems for Martin, whose advantage extended to one second with five laps left, Bezzecchi also stretching half a second’s gap on McPhee. With three laps to go, Martin had two seconds in hand but McPhee looked very threatening to Bezzecchi, with a big enough gap to the sharks led by Canet waiting to join the podium battle in case of a mistake.
In the end, Bezzecchi managed to fend off McPhee, while Ramirez picked up Canet at the penultimate corner in the battle for best of the rest. Masia finished sixth, ahead of Jakub Kornfeil and Oettl. Fernandez looked out of contention for points after being run wide by a naughty Dalla Porta halfway through the race but the Red Bull KTM stand-in did an admirable job to climb back into ninth. Ayumu Sasaki completed the top ten, with Adam Norrodin, Andrea Migno, Dalla Porta, Nicolo Bulega and Kazuki Masaki also taking points home.
With this masterfully controlled win, Martin takes a seven point lead in the championship into the summer break, with Bezzecchi still a serious contender in second position. It was a costly afternoon for Di Giannantonio and Bastianini, both dropping behind Canet in the standings, the Estrella Galicia rider climbing into third, 38 points down on the leader.
|13||48||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Honda||+10.027|
|19||Gabriel RODRIGO||KTM||3 Laps|
|32||Ai OGURA||Honda||3 Laps|
|33||Enea BASTIANINI||Honda||5 Laps|
|72||Alonso LOPEZ||Honda||5 Laps|
|75||Albert ARENAS||KTM||7 Laps|
|77||Vicente PEREZ||KTM||9 Laps|
|41||Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAPAT||Honda||11 Laps|
|21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Honda||12 Laps|
|24||Tatsuki SUZUKI||Honda||22 Laps|