Moto3 World Championship hopeful Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) won his first Grand Prix of the year to move into the lead of the Riders World Championship and strengthen Honda’s advantage in the Constructors World Championship.
The race was a breathtaking contest for victory between up to a dozen riders, with the lead changing several times each lap, with riders jostling for position and waiting for the all-important final corners of the final lap.
Dalla Porta, who had finished second in four of the first eight races, couldn’t have chosen a better time to climb to the top step of the podium. The 22-year-old Italian led the race on numerous occasions, but his most important move came at the penultimate corner of the last lap when he swept past leader and title rival Aron Canet, followed by team-mate Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW). Their team one-two moved Dalla Porta into the series lead by two points from Canet.
Honda riders dominated the lead group, with seven of the first nine riders aboard NSF250RW machines. Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) scored his best result of the season, taking fourth place, less than a tenth of a second off the podium. Two positions and another few tenths behind came French Grand Prix John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) and impressive rookie Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW). This was another strong result from the 18-year-old Tokyo rider who has finished, sixth, sixth and seventh in the last three races.
Ogura’s team-mate Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) wasn’t so fortunate – the 19-year-old from Fukuoka had another fall, tumbling out of the lead group at two-thirds distance.
Ogura was chased over the finished line by compatriots Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) and Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW). Yesterday Sasaki became the first Japanese rider to start a 125cc/Moto3 race from pole since Youichi Ui in 2003.
Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) finished 11th, missing the top ten by a fraction of a second, while Spanish GP winner Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) was 12th and Mugello and Assen victor Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) finished 15th; just six seconds behind Dalla Porta, proving once again the tightness of Moto3 racing.
The MotoGP now takes its traditional summer break, with three weekends off before the back-to-back Czech and Austrian rounds on August 4 and August 11.