Rain was the talk of the paddock all weekend and just like any lead actor, it arrived five minutes before the start of the intermediate class event and caused chaos on the grid. The downpour was initially localised, causing a delay and lots of question marks ahead of the shortened 16-lap race, but then the deluge truly arrived halfway into proceedings and brought out the red flag. Rain halted several attempts to restart the race and race direction eventually had to admit defeat and award a second victory of the season to Tony Arbolino. Filip Salac also thrived in the tricky conditions and was one corner away from victory but still secured his first podium in the intermediate class. Aron Canet befitted from a lightning start and gave himself a late birthday present with a third place podium.
There was tension from start to finish, rain intensifying just as the race got underway and expectations were particularly high with the home hero in pole position. Somkiat Chantra made a good start from the front of the grid and quickly extended a two-second gap at the front but soon ended up being the reason for one of multiple yellow flags early on, going down at turn four on some standing water. Alonso Lopez inherited the lead ahead of a fast-starting Canet, who had gone from 18th on the grid to third by lap two, the two Spaniards having a one second advantage over Jake Dixon and Salac. Ai Ogura made a cautious start in fifth but had Arbolino and Joe Roberts waiting to pounce, while Augusto Fernandez kept pretty quiet at the bottom of the top 10 and teammate Pedro Acosta lost a lot of ground over the opening lap to drop to 13th.
Once riders settled in the tricky conditions, gaps started to close at the front and Canet attacked for the lead on lap four, helped by Lopez running wide at turn five. The mistake also allowed Dixon and Salac to join the party and the duo slid past Lopez next time into turn one. Despite a sluggish start, Arbolino was the quickest man on track in these early stages, the Italian pushing to join the leaders and bringing Ogura with him, leaving Roberts two seconds back.
Back at the front, Salac attacked for the lead at the end of lap five, while a hairy moment for Canet soon dropped him over a second behind. The Spaniard didn’t have much time to compose himself, as Arbolino had already joined the provisional podium positions and attacked Canet one lap later, being left with one second to find over the remaining 10 laps to challenge Salac for victory.
Arbolino didn’t need much time to get that job done, already on the leader’s tail one lap later and attacking the Czech rider at the final corner, helped by Salac running wide. However, he did not enjoy much time in the limelight, as the red flag started waving immediately, calling riders back into pitlane due to the heavy rain and poor visibility.
The intention was to restart the race for a five-lap sprint, but rain kept dropping in at the worst of times, leading to several delays and eventually race cancellation, with half points awarded due to two thirds distance not being completed. With Arbolino, Salac and Canet climbing into a very wet podium, Dixon settled for fourth place ahead of Lopez, with title contenders Ogura and Fernandez in sixth and seventh positions. Roberts, Keminth Kubo and Celestino Vietti rounded out the top 10, with Acosta in a lowly 16th.
At the end of the tense burst of action, Fernandez leaves Thailand with an advantage of one and a half points over Ogura in the world championship standings, with Canet an unsightly 53.5 points behind the leader.
|11||4||Sean Dylan Kelly||Kalex||0.000|
|17||84||Zonta Van Den Goorbergh||Kalex||0.000|
|23||42||Marcos Ramirez||MV Agusta||0.000|
|24||24||Simone Corsi||MV Agusta||0.000|
|19||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Kalex||15:05.5980|