Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) was back on the top step of the podium for the first time in over a year at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, the Italian veteran judging a last lap battle to perfection to pip compatriot Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46). In doing so, Fenati takes Husqvarna‘s first Grand Prix victory and becomes the most successful rider in the Moto3™ class, overtaking both Joan Mir’s win count and Enea Bastianini’s podium record. He also becomes only the second Moto3™ rider to win more than once at Misano, alongside Alex Rins. Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) completed the podium behind the home heroes, moving to within two points of Albert Arenas’ (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) Championship lead.
Polesitter Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) got the initial launch off the line but Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) ultimately fired his way into Turn 1 ahead, with Championship leader Arenas making a good start from the second row to grab P3. Arbolino’s lead didn’t last long though, with Fernandez through at Turn 5 before Arenas was also past the Italian around the outside at Turn 13.
Further back, third in the Championship John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was 17th after the opening couple of laps, not making great headway after having started P18. As Fernandez fought it out with Arbolino, Arenas and Vietti near the front though, the top 17 were still covered by two seconds.
After crashing out seven days prior, Arenas was on a mission. The Spaniard was leading from the front early doors, before Vietti took the baton and led for a fair chunk of time. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) was making good ground up to get the better of Fernandez and move into the top three too, and McPhee was starting to recover by the halfway point; the top 11 locked together and the British rider just behind Ogura at the back of that.
Into the final 10 laps, Vietti was making P1 his own, with Masia was now his immediate threat. Darryn Binder (CIP – Green Power) and Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) came into contact heading down the back straight before Turn 11 – a close call – but with eight laps remaining, Binder wasn’t fazed and was up to P4 behind Vietti, Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) and Masia. Arenas then got the better of Binder for P4 in the 11-bike freight train, before a change came courtesy of Masia at Turn 8. Rodrigo and Vietti were lucky to stay upright too, as Rodrigo came into the contact with the Italian’s rear tyre.
With five to go, Arenas was almost down at Turn 1 as he ran out of room in the slipstream and just behind, Binder suffered a huge highside as he got shuffled by it too, the South African’s stunning Sunday charge over. With three to go, Vietti was still the race leader but it was all to play for in the lead group, with Ogura was making his presence in the top three known as he got the better of Arenas. With two to go, Masia then led into Turn 1 – and it was the start of some serious, fairing-bashing action. Arenas lunged into Turn 4, but Vietti was aggressive up the inside at Turn 5 and some contact was made between the duo. Further back, Alcoba made contact with McPhee at Turn 4 as well, which left the Scot down in P10.
Vietti led over the line to start the last lap, from Arenas and Fenati, with Masia and Ogura inside the top five. Arenas got a good run down into Turn 8 and was alongside the race leader, but Vietti was late and strong on the brakes. Then, Arenas made a classy move stick into Turn 10 and led with half a lap to go, but the slipstream played its part and heading into Turn 11 as Masia stormed up the inside of Vietti – who in turn was looking for a way through on Arenas – and it got breathtakingly close at high speed. After leading heading onto the straight, Arenas then found himself down in P5 just seconds later as Masia, Vietti, Fenati and Ogura stormed their way through.
At Turn 14 Masia went defensive in the lead, but that didn’t stop Vietti lunging up the inside and the Italian ended up a bit out of shape, some slight contact was made, and the top two were wide. Reading that perfectly and slicing through was Fenati, the veteran now in the lead and looking to defend it. That he did, as Vietti couldn’t find a way through and was forced to settle for second, just holding off Ogura to keep P2 as well. Masia was forced down to P5 with Arenas getting through, although the latter just holds onto the points lead…
Fernandez finishes P6 for the fourth time in 2020 to end the race just 0.4 from victory, with Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) showing fantastic late-race pace to finish seventh. Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) were also less than a second from the race win in 8th and 9th respectively, the duo finishing ahead of McPhee who now drops to 21 points off Arenas in the standings after a tougher race.
That’s it from Misano, with another twist in the title race as Ogura and Arenas head into Barcelona just two points apart. The lightweight class go again in less than a week’s time at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – tune in!
Romano Fenati: “The final lap was really crazy, in the last part of the track I thought immediately on the last lap that I didn’t know where they’d overtake me, it was a bit scary! But the feeling with the bike was really good, we were really strong on braking, I’m really happy and now it’s important to be consistent and to always be strong.”