Moto3: Bastianini wins in chaotic battle
Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) took his first victory since Motegi 2016 in a dramatic Moto3™ race at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, with Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrüstelGP) taking second by just 0.003 from Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider), who secured his first Grand Prix podium and Argentina’s first GP podium since Sebastian Porto in 2005.
The lightweight class race in Barcelona was full of drama for two World Championship protagonists. Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) crashed out of the lead on lap 9 at Turn 9, and fellow Championship challenger Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was also involved in a crash - going down at Turn 5 on lap 16 after contact with Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team), and Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) also involved in the incident.
Then, on lap 18 of 21, there was more drama as Jaume Masia (Besta Capital Dubai) collided with Andrea Migno (Angel Nieto Team) down into Turn 1.
Before the drama and back the start, Martin got the perfect getaway, taking the hole shot and immediately breaking away - with Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) the only rider able to shadow the Spaniard. The gap was consistent at two seconds, but when the number 88 went down, Bastianini and co closed down Suzuki to create a leading group of 11 riders.
An almighty battle at the front developed, with John McPhee (CIP Green Power), Bastianini, Bezzecchi, Rodrigo and Suzuki the five riders left at the front in the final three laps. McPhee led over the line onto the final lap, but it was ‘The Beast’ who expertly slipstreamed his way to the front, with Rodrigo and Bezzecchi also getting past the Scot. Bastianini rode a flawless last lap to take a much-needed victory, with Championship leader Bezzecchi pipping Rodrigo on the line to grab second place. McPhee had to settle for fourth, but it's his best result of the season so far.
Suzuki was an excellent fifth by the flag, with the top rookie another top performance from Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) to grab sixth over the line, but was demoted two places for exceeding track limits, promoting Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) into P6 and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) picking up what looked like an impossible top ten finish in seventh – the Italian having dropped down to 26th on lap four after running wide at Turn 5.
Reigning FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Champion Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) picked up his best result of the season in ninth, with wild card, current FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship leader Raul Fernandez (Angel Nieto Team), getting a fantastic top ten finish.
Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Kazuki Masaki (RBA BOE Skull Rider), Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai), Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) all crashed out - riders ok.