Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) made it four wins so far this season with an impressive victory in the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, attacking on the final lap to escape the huge fight for second. Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) took his first ever Grand Prix podium in second, with Jaume Masia (Mugen Race) completing the podium after a stunning comeback from last on the grid. The Spaniard didn’t get away for the Warm Up lap and faced a mountain to climb.
It was Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) who took the holeshot from second on the grid – or it seemed so – but Arenas had different ideas as the KTM rider shot through from third into the lead out of Turn 1. Polesitter Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) was quick to attack, however, taking over at the front and Suzuki then following him through. The Japanese rider took over at the front not long after as the freight train settled in, but drama wasn’t far away.
A few laps in it was Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) heading the race but the Argentinean then suddenly highsided from the lead, with Suzuki unable to avoid him and immediately caught out before Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) also hit the stricken bike. That left a gap in the group and a gaggle of four up ahead – Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46), Dalla Porta, Albert Arenas (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) and a stunner from Masia, who was up from the back.
On the chase there were a few fast names, however, and sure enough the likes of Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers), John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Garcia and Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) closed them back down, recreating the freight train.
And so, back to a ten-rider fight for the win, from Dalla Porta and Vietti to Ramirez in P10, the heat was on as the elbows started to come out. By the final lap it was a smaller squabble but some familiar names at the front, with Dalla Porta leading over the line for the penultimate time – and Vietti looking a likely candidate to challenge him to the wire.
Into Turn 1, the rookie struck for the lead but the World Champion was quick to respond at Turn 4 as Vietti struggled to keep it under control, initially losing the position but then able to turn that into a counter attack to slice back into the lead. Dalla Porta again fought back, this time at Turn 9, and that would be all she wrote for the race win as Vietti then got shuffled a couple more places back just behind him.
The number 48 shot towards the final corner with a healthy enough gap and a little breathing space, but there was little of that in the fight to complete the podium. With Garcia, Arenas, Vietti, Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia), Ramirez and McPhee all within at least a shout of a rostrum, the last corner was the decider and earlier for some.
Arenas was the man who lost out first as he slid out of contention, with Garcia coming out on top in the fight for second and Masia completing his pretty fairytale-esque race as he completed the podium from the very back of the grid. Ogura got the better of Vietti and ensures the Rookie of the Year fight rolls on to Valencia, with the Italian left off the rostrum despite an impressive race.
Ramirez recovered to sixth after running off avoiding the early race Rodrigo-Suzuki-Lopez incident, getting the better of McPhee as the Scot took a solid seventh. Canet was a little further back in P8 although he pulled out a few tenths on Arbolino, with Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) completing the top ten as he continues he fight back to full fitness.
Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) took P11 ahead of Arenas, who managed to remount and take points, with Filip Salač (Redox PrüstelGP), Raul Fernandez (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) and Riccardo Rossi (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) completing the points.
Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Andrea Migno (Mugen Race) and Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) crashed out in an incident, with Darryn Binder (CIP-Green Power) another man who’d been in the fight before crashing out. Sasaki was declared unfit due to a hand fracture.
Dalla Porta now has the most victories of anyone with one more chance to add to that count in Valencia – and the Rookie of the Year battle rolls on, as does the fight to take second overall. Who will do it? Find out in two weeks at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta: “I said it to the media in pitlane and in the interviews on the grid that I just wanted to enjoy this race and win, so I did simply that – enjoy it and take victory in the race. It’s fantastic to do it, and thank you to all of my team and to my family!'”
1 – Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA – Honda) 38’01.355
2 – Sergio Garcia (SPA – Honda) +0.401
3 – Jaume Masia (SPA – KTM) +0.803
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