A partially sunny and fully dry Ricardo Tormo Circuit was a pleasant sight for the intermediate class after a gloomy weekend, but it did mean that riders were heading into the unknown without much dry practice time. Marco Bezzecchi worked that to his advantage, the Italian one step ahead of the competition and taking victory by nearly two seconds as his rivals faltered around him. Jorge Martin inherited second after some championship drama unfolded, while Remy Gardner joined them on the podium in third position.
Poleman Xavi Vierge had made a solid start ahead of front row starter Joe Roberts, while Bezzecchi, Gardner and Martin got past Sam Lowes, who had to fight back from an underwhelming start. Also in the title battle line-up, Luca Marini dropped from 7th on the grid to 10th on lap 1, while Enea Bastianini climbed from 15th on the grid to 9th, just ahead of rival Marini.
Roberts got ahead of Vierge by the end of lap 1 and attempted an escape but the American pushed too soon and crashed out of the lead at turn 2, leaving Bezzecchi in charge of proceedings. The Italian got pushing at the front and only Gardner seemed to have the pace to go with him, Vierge over eight tenths down by lap four and under attack from Lowes and Martin, with Bastianini making swift progress only seven tenths behind them. The Italtrans rider had made quick work of Lorenzo Baldassari, Hector Garzo and Marcel Schrotter, who were keeping safely ahead of Marini.
Bezzecchi and Gardner continued to extend their advantage at the front, starting lap 5 over a second ahead of the battle for third, where Lowes finally made it stick on Vierge and with Martin waiting to pounce on the poleman. The Spaniards swapped places one lap later, when Bastianini, Baldassarri and Garzo also joined the group and it suddenly turned from the battle for third to the victory battle, as Lowes managed to bridge the gap to the two leaders and dragged the rest of the chasing pack with him. Canet was leading the next group two seconds down the road, after getting the best of Schrotter and Marini for 9th position.
Status quo was maintained for the next few laps as the top 8 men were posting nearly identical times and waiting to see how tyre choices would pan out. Lowes was the man on the move, taking Gardner for second on lap 10, which encouraged Martin to have a go at turn 4, putting the Australian off the provisional podium. Bezzecchi, Lowes and Martin looked like the strongest met at the halfway point of the race, but Gardner, Vierge, Bastianini, Baldassarri and Garzo were still in with a shot and red sector times were being posted all over the timing screens.
Bezzecchi did well to keep Lowes around half a second behind, with Martin and Gardner closely following the British rider, but Vierge was dropping back to over a second and Bastianini still struggled to find a way past the Spaniard. The Italian finally made his move at turn 11 with 11 laps remaining and compatriot Baldassarri followed his example at turn 14. It was a costly lap for Vierge as Garzo also got past soon after.
A metaphorical storm hit the championship battle with 10 laps remaining, when Lowes got caught out at turn 6 and crashed out of second position. That left Martin with the mission of reeling in Bezzecchi, who had a six tenths advantage at the front but that gap continued to grow to over a second with five laps remaining. Gardner in turn had a second to find if he was to challenge Martin but his podium position seemed secure as the next group was over two seconds down the road, where Baldassarri was giving Bastianini headaches and the Italtrans rider had to find a way past his compatriot for the final handful of laps. To make things worse for Lowes, Marini found some late race speed and climbed up to seventh position, pushing to catch up with the Baldassarri, Bastianini and Garzo group for the final handful of laps. Bastianini saw the threat coming and swiftly got past Baldassarri with 2 laps to go and the duo built a bit of a gap over Garzo and Marini. Marini made his move on Garzo at turn 1, heading into the final lap in sixth spot.
Bezzecchi made amends for the mistakes of late with a fine ride to victory, crossing the finish line almost two seconds ahead of Martin and with Gardner completing the podium. Bastianini held onto fourth to claim the championship lead, with Baldassarri a solid fifth place ahead of Marini and Garzo. Nicolo Bulega, Vierge and Jorge Navarro completed the top ten.
Bastianini heads to the penultimate race of the season 6 points ahead of Lowes, with Marini closing the gap to 19 points, with Bezzecchi 29 points down following his victory.
|10||9||Jorge Navarro||Speed Up||+11.930|
|11||44||Aron Canet||Speed Up||+12.451|
|15||62||Stefano Manzi||MV Agusta||+19.284|
|18||27||Andi Farid Izdihar||Kalex||+22.965|
|20||19||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Kalex||+34.173|
|22||Sam Lowes||Kalex||7 Laps|
|35||Somkiat Chantra||Kalex||16 Laps|
|24||Simone Corsi||MV Agusta||20 Laps|
|21||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Speed Up||23 Laps|
|16||Joe Roberts||Kalex||24 Laps|
|55||Hafizh Syahrin||Speed Up||24 Laps|