The Championship pendulum swung again in the Moto3™ class as Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP) took a stunning third win of the season, beating Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) and Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) on the run to the line as double disaster hit for Del Conca Gresini Moto3. Championship leader Jorge Martin crashed out of contention pushing to fight at the front and his lead was cut to a single point, with teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio also suffering a fall and likewise, failing to score.
Pole man Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) got the launch as the lights went out to lead into Turn 1, with Bezzecchi slotting in behind the Argentine rider after John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) got a slightly sluggish get away from P2, thus allowing Martin to make up one place from P4 on the grid. The front four initially threatened to make an early getaway but it soon became a group of thirteen at the front, with the lead of the race chopping and changing between the two main title contenders, along with the likes of Rodrigo and the hard-charging Binder.
Then on Lap 14, there was a massive moment for Martin heading into Turn 11 as both Binder and Bezzecchi attacked – one each side – and the Spaniard made slight contact with his Championship rival. But the Honda rider somehow managed to stay upright on without losing too much time.
This left Binder to lead with Bezzecchi and McPhee slotting in behind, Martin dropped down to fifth. However, a lap later with five to go, disaster struck. Trying to get back on terms with the leaders, Martin lost the front of his Honda and crashed out of contention battling Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) – and that after the drama for teammate Di Giannantonio, who suffered a huge highside at Turn 12.
This left Bezzecchi in prime position to take full advantage and with three laps to go the Italian had created a half-second lead, but that was soon extinguished by Binder and the chasing pack, setting the scene for a frantic finish.
Bezzecchi led onto the last lap but Binder made his move at Turn 5 and then held station until the final corner. However, heading out of the aptly named ‘Victory Corner’, Bezzecchi got the superior run and fired his KTM past Binder to snatch a vital victory at the line by just 0.041 seconds, with Dalla Porta also getting a devastating drive to deny Binder of second by an even smaller margin of 0.001. A stunning end to a magnificent Moto3™ race and one of the closest Grand Prix podiums of all time.
Foggia had another great ride to come home P4, he beat McPhee to the chequered flag by 0.039, who in turn got the better of Arbolino. Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) came home P7 and polesitter Rodrigo would end up P8 at the line after losing touch with the leaders in the latter stages. Battered and bruised home hero Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) made it a solid finish in ninth after staying with the leadig group for most of the race, and rounding out the top ten was Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP).
Heading into the final three races of the season, the gap at the top of the Championship sits at just one point, with Martin holding the smallest of advantages of Bezzecchi. Will we be in for more drama in Australia? There’s only a week until we find out!
Moto3™ Race Results
1 – Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) KTM 39’35.653
2 – Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA) HONDA +0.041
3 – Darryn Binder (RSA) KTM +0.042
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