The Italian just defeats Öncü, with Sasaki taking the final step on the podium to gain back some momentum
Moto3™ brought the serious drama at MotorLand, with three Championship contenders all finding bad luck or trouble on race day. The first was for Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) as he was forced into the gravel, then Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crashed and, right as he seemed set to make huge gains, so did second overall Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team). But one contender held firm and avoided it all, with Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) pulling off a tactical masterclass to take his third win of the year and move back into third overall.
The Italian just defeated another stunner from Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3), the Turkish rider impressing once again but forced to wait for that first win. Completing the podium was Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3), the Japanese rider digging deep and taking an emotional second rostrum after a difficult few months of injury, bad luck and more.
Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) kept the lead initially as the South African held on for the holeshot, but Garcia was quick to attack. As ever though, the moves came thick and fast and a leading freight train formed. Öncü took over at the front, with Acosta, Garcia and Binder shadowing in the early stages.
Drama hit on Lap 5 for Silverstone winner Fenati. Front row starter Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) suddenly crashed in front of the Italian, and he was forced to take avoiding action into the gravel – rejoining well down the order, a postcode off the points.
There was also an early touch between Xavier Artigas (Leopard Racing) and Acosta but no harm done. Meanwhile Öncü rolled on at the front, able to stay ahead down the back straight too as a group of nine formed at the front followed by SIC58 Squadra Corse duo Lorenzo Fellon and Tatsuki Suzuki.
After chipping away at it, they tagged onto the back to make it 11 riders fighting for the win, but it was a costly push for Fellon as the French rookie then got a Long Lap penalty for track limits. Taking it dropped him back in behind the chasing trio of Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia VR46 Academy), double 2020 winner at the track Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Stefano Nepa (BOE Owlride).
Antonelli and Nepa were next to tag on, but then drama whittled the group down again… and key drama. After a season of history making, Acosta made his first big race day error of the year, heading up the inside of Artigas and then losing it, skittling both out. And he couldn’t rejoin, leaving Garcia with an open goal…
Starting the final lap, Foggia led Öncü led the two GASGAS machines of Garcia and Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team). Öncü then hit the front, the Turk digging in on the search for that elusive first victory, and even more drama soon hit just behind. Despite the huge chance to home in on Acosta, it just wasn’t to be. Garcia suddenly slid out as he fought to gain more ground, rider ok and able to rejoin but no points coming his way.
Meanwhile, Öncü remained ahead and the Turk led heading onto the back straight – as he had a good few times during the race, able each time to keep it too. But this time, Foggia had the legs and the incredible straight-line speed of the Leopard Honda struck, the number 7 slicing past. Öncü tried to reply on the drag to the line and almost did, but he’s forced to settle for another second, just 0.041 off the win.
After a weekend of more muted timesheets at times from Sasaki, the Japanese rider played his cards to perfection on race day. Making moves through the group late on, the number 71 took his second Grand Prix podium by just 0.064, denying Guevara as the Spanish rookie was forced to wait for that first podium once again, just as at Silverstone.
Antonelli stormed the latter stages the come home in fifth, able to pull out a few tenths on compatriot Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team), who nevertheless bounced back after a tough-to-take technical DNF at Silverstone. Binder took seventh nearly a second further back, with Nepa half a second behind him. Suzuki lost out to the Italian by 0.101 as he took ninth, with Masia completing the top ten a couple of seconds off the front group, not finding his 2020 MotorLand magic this time around.
Ryusei Yamanaka (CarXpert PrüstelGP) took P11 with a little breathing space ahead of Adrian Fernandez (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), with Syarifuddin Azman (Petronas Sprinta Racing) only a tenth and a half off the number 31 by the flag. No mean feat, and the Malaysian impressively scores points on his Grand Prix debut.
Rather stunningly, behind him came Fenati. The veteran Italian dug in to try and gain ground back after being forced wide, and gain ground he did. Making up the gap to the next riders, passing them, and then rinsing and repeating, the number 55 took 2 points for 14th.
Riccardo Rossi (BOE Owlride) just pipped Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) to the final point, with a late crash seeing Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) and Fellon both fail to make the flag.
A dramatic day several times over comes to a close at MotorLand with zero change in the Championship standings when it comes to the top two. But behind, Foggia moves into thirs just ahead of home turf at Misano – now only 58 points off the top. What will the Riviera di Rimini bring? We’ll find out next weekend..
1 Dennis Foggia – Leopard Racing – Honda – 37.53.710
2 Deniz Öncü – Red Bull KTM Tech3 – KTM – +0.041
3 Ayumu Sasaki – Red Bull KTM Tech3 – KTM – +0.644
Dennis Foggia: “It was incredible, specially the last lap with Deniz. He was so strong braking, but my bike was so fast on the straight. I wanted to win, but also to open up the Championship. On the last lap I saw on my dash that Acosta was out, and on the last lap Garcia crashed… winning is special. I’d like to thank my team for the bike, my family who support me and also my dad.”
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