The intermediate class closed the show in Portugal, under clouds as grey as the tarmac that offered a dauting preview for the two-part race that ensued. All was nice and dry when Cameron Beaubier got the holeshot off the line ahead of poleman Aron Canet, with Tony Arbolino also briefly challenging Canet soon after. Somkiat Chantra, Ai Ogura and Augusto Fernandez closely followed the leaders, while Sam Lowes dropped to 11th position, just ahead of championship leader Celestino Vietti.
Just as Canet attacked to retrieve the lead at the start of lap two, spots of rain started showing but not significant enough to cause trouble just yet. Beaubier kept close to Canet, while Chantra climbed up to third but soon dropped to eighth after serving his long lap penalty on lap three. That tasked Arbolino with closing the half second gap to the two leaders, with Ogura and Fernandez in tow, while Chantra was the fastest man on track despite the rain flags and had already made his way into the lead of the next group, one second down the road, keeping Jake Dixon and Joe Roberts at bay.
The hierarchy seemed to settle after a handful of laps, although the gaps started to change amongst the leaders, Canet and Beaubier under pressure from Ogura, while Fernandez got past Arbolino, who was dropping time on the trio ahead. Chantra and Dixon were also part of the pursuit, leaving Roberts almost two seconds behind by lap eight, ahead of Lowes, who was making slow progress into 9th and Vietti, who was making no progress from 11th.
Disaster struck at the start of lap nine when rain turned the second corner into a terrifying bowling lane, with most of the leaders heading straight for the gravel at high speed. Thankfully all riders were generally okay, but with many of the bikes looking pretty second hand and even the ones making it back to pitlane missing the five-minute deadline, none of the riders who crashed were able to make the restart after the red flag. Although the rulebook was getting some frantic attention, the likes of Canet, Beaubier, Arbolino, Ogura, Chantra, Fernandez, Arenas and Lowes were out of action for part two of the race.
After the track cleared and the weather settled, a new seven lap race got underway, with grid positions based on standings as of lap eight, placing Dixon on pole, ahead of Roberts and Vietti. The British rider made a great start from faux pole but didn’t get to enjoy it for too long, losing the front at turn seven and handing the lead to Roberts, who took the opportunity and ran with it, extending a solid two second advantage over the first couple of laps, on the likes of Fermín Aldeguer, Marcel Schrotter, Vietti and Jorge Navarro. Roberts continued to extend his lead while the group started attacking each other, Navarro taking over the pursuit from Schrotter and having a four second gap to bridge with four laps remaining. Vietti also attacked Schrotter soon after and was on the provisional podium with three laps remaining.
Roberts started the final lap over three seconds ahead of a seven-man chase and cruised to an impressive maiden victory, while Vietti took advantage of a mistake from Navarro to rob him of second place at turn 11 on the penultimate lap. Schrotter and Manuel Gonzalez joined the top five, with Jeremy Alcoba, Aldeguer, Bo Bendsneyder, Barry Baltus and Gabriel Rodrigo completing a pretty lucky top 10. With most of his title rivals out of commission, Vietti fully embraced the opportunity to extend his lead in the championship to 34 points over Ogura and 36 over Arbolino, with Roberts climbing into fourth, 41 points back and tied with Canet.
|13||4||Sean Dylan Kelly||Kalex||24.669|
|84||Zonta Van Den Goorbergh||Kalex||0.000|
|19||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Kalex||0.000|
|42||Marcos Ramirez||MV Agusta||0.000|
|24||Simone Corsi||MV Agusta||0.000|