The Spaniard extends his lead in a true barnstormer of a bust up in Styria, with Masia and McPhee completing the top three.
Albert Arenas (Valresa Aspar Team) took another stunning win in the myWorld Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, reigning the Red Bull Ring with now-trademark consistency and a late attack for victory. He pipped Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) as the Spaniard bounced back from some tougher races to get back on the podium, with John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) completing the rostrum after some last minute penalties for track limits promoted the Brit past Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia), Darryn Binder (CIP – Green Power) and Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46).
It was Arenas who made it through into an early lead, with polesitter Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and McPhee tagging onto the back of the bolting Aspar machine and the three keeping it nice and tidy in the first few laps, with a little breathing space back to the group behind. That was headed by a duel between Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Vietti, but once Fernandez and McPhee attacked Arenas, the gap didn’t last long and we had another classic Moto3™ freight train at the front.
As the laps ticked on, there were two key protagonists at the front for a while: Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Deniz Öncü and Darryn Binder, who had stormed up from outside the top twenty on the grid, as the South African oft does. As they boxed it out, Arenas remained in the hunt, as did poleman Fernandez and Masia, whilst McPhee found himself shuffled down outside the top ten…
For ten or more laps from thereon out, absolute brutality reigned, with some moves seeing the likes of Binder and Öncü gain two or three places in one. Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) had made his way to near the front too, and McPhee was on the fight back… but there was no calling it and would be no calling it for some time as the lightweight class put on a truly stunning show.
Drama then hit late for Sasaki as the Japanese rider was given a Long Lap Penalty for track limits that demoted him down the order, with the fight at the front continuing with one less rider in the fray. Over the line for the final lap it was Masia in the lead but Arenas, Binder and Vietti were lurking and ready to hit back.
Binder struck for second into Turn 1, with Vietti following him through and Arenas therefore relegated to fourth. A stunning 2-for-1 move from the Spaniard propelled him back into second, however, and the race was then on to catch Masia. Behind. Ogura had fought through to third…
At the penultimate corner, Arenas struck to perfection and edged past, and Masia couldn’t find a reply, just losing out as they barrelled to the line. Arenas therefore extends his Championship lead once again, but the number 5 was nevertheless on the podium for the first time this season after a barnstorming performance. The battle for third remained tight to the end too. Ogura crossed the line just ahead of Binder and Vietti, but then the replay showed up: the Japanese rider and the South African had both exceeded track limits on the final lap and were each docked a position. Cue Vietti beginning to make HIS way to parc ferme, but then another penalty was given, this time to the Italian. That gave McPhee, who was perfectly inside the track limits at the final corner, another podium finish – and promotes him to second in the Championship by a single point over… Ogura.
The number 79 was classified fourth, Vietti fifth and Binder sixth, with Arbolino slotting into seventh ahead of the best finish for Öncü in P8. Fernandez took ninth ahead of Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse), who completed the top ten after a more muted weekend for the Japanese rider.
Kömmerling Gresini Moto3’s Gabriel Rodrigo came 11th, classified ahead of Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) after the Italian was another to get docked a place for track limits. Sasaki unleashed an absolute charge in the last three laps to slice through from outside the top twenty, where he’d emerged from his Long Lap, to take some points in P13. Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) was 14th after losing a place to a penalty, with Stefano Nepa (Valresa Aspar Team) completing the top 15.
That’s it from another breathtaking boxing match in the lightweight class. Arenas is now 28 points clear of McPhee in the standings, but the best thing is we get to do it all again next week… who will come out on top in the Styrian GP? Come back on Sunday the 23rd of August to find out.
1 Albert Arenas – Valresa Aspar Team – KTM 37:25.323
2 Jaume Masia – Leopard Racing – Honda +0.049
3 John McPhee – Petronas Sprinta Racing – Honda +0.447
Albert Arenas: “Really happy for the result but for sure the race was a bit crazy, from the beginning I tried to push and stay safe but it wasn’t possible, the engines are almost the same and in the braking points, the entry was on the limit. But in the race I had no expectations, just to stay there and be safe, do my best. And finally, I really enjoyed that last lap.”
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