Against all odds and/or forecasts, the lightweight class lined up on the Misano grid with largely decorative umbrellas and enjoyed sunny conditions for the 23-lap rollercoaster. The end of the ride saw Dennis Foggia do the hat-trick on home soil and celebrating his brand new Moto2 contract in style. Jaume Masia put in another strong race after a more underwhelming qualifying performance and bested Izan Guevara by only four hundredths of a second at the finish line.
Although he ultimately did not make the podium, poleman Deniz Öncü was one of the stars in Misano, making a strong start from pole, ahead of rookies Dani Holgado and Diogo Moreira. Despite the rapid launch off the line, Öncü started losing some ground after the opening lap, when Guevara attacked him for the lead, and the Turkish rider dropped down to sixth position by the end of the second lap.
With Guevara back in his favourite position at the front of the field, Moreira and Foggia became his closest rivals, with the likes of Holgado, fast-starting David Muñoz and Öncü not far behind. Also amongst the early leading group was Andrea Migno, but the Italian soon crashed out at turn one, which allowed Sergio Garcia to join the top 10. A scrappy few laps for the Spaniard dropped him one second behind the leaders after the first few laps and the rush to recover saw him tumble out of contention on lap five, throwing away the lead in the championship at turn four. Although Garcia tried to rejoin the action, he was soon shown a black flag for interfering with the battle for points and had to retreat to the pits.
While mayhem was unfolding behind, with a couple more riders following Garcia’s example in the gravel, Guevara extended his advantage at the front to over half a second over Foggia and Holgado, while Öncü was hanging in there and fending off Muñoz, Masia, Tatsuki Suzuki and Moreira. Masia was the most eager of the lot at this stage, steadily working his way through the group, while a set of mistakes from Öncü lost him a couple of positions over the next few laps and eventually dropped him to the back of the leading group. Meanwhile, Stefano Nepa was leading the chasing group two seconds down the road.
Foggia first hit the front halfway through lap 10, while the halfway point of the race saw the leaders’ ranks reduced even more, with Foggia, Guevara, Holgado and Masia extending a one second advantage over Suzuki, Muñoz, Öncü and Moreira. Although Foggia and Guevara hogged the limelight at this stage, the KTM Ajo boys were close behind and biding their time for an attack. Status quo was maintained amongst the foursome for the next few laps, while Öncü and Suzuki were trying to bridge the gap and ever so slightly ditching Moreira and Munoz from the battle for 5th. Despite the recent shoulder injury, Öncü pushed through the pain to rejoin the victory battle with nine laps to go and Masia quickly got the message from behind, finally making a move on teammate Holgado to join the provisional podium positions for the first time.
Guevara attacked Foggia at Quercia with seven laps to go but a three-wide approach at turn 10 saw Foggia reclaim the lead from Masia and Guevara. Despite continued challenges from behind, Foggia managed to hold onto the lead over the next few of laps, with Guevara, Masia and Öncü on his tail but steadily dropping Holgado. Lap 21 was rather unfortunate for Guevara, who got demoted to the back of the leading pack and started the final lap in the same position. Öncü attacked Masia on final lap and the Spaniard fought back straight away, but the exchanges allowed Foggia some breathing room at the front.
The Italian secured the win by almost three tenths of a second, while second place was sorted at turn 14, where Masia responded to Guevara’s earlier attack at Curvone and the two crossed the finish line separated by mere hundredths of a second. Öncü once again had to settle for a pretty impressive fourth, with Holgado holding off a late charge from Suzuki to keep fifth. Moreira and Muñoz fading over last handful of laps and dropped down the field, the Brazilian ending 7th and Munoz 12th, allowing Ivan Ortolá, John McPhee and Nepa to complete the top 10.
Despite missing out on victory, Guevara leaves Misano with a nice enough souvenir in the shape of the world championship lead, gaining an 11-point advantage over the unlucky Garcia. Foggia reduces his deficit to 35 points, while Masia has an outside chance, 57 points back.
|64||Mario Suryo Aji||Honda||07:02.6540|