Moto3 star Tatsuki Suzuki won an emotional first Grand Prix victory this morning, achieving this great moment for the team owned by Paolo Simoncelli at the track named in honor of his son Marco, who lost his life at the 2011 Malaysian GP.
The 21-year-old from Chiba rode a perfect race from pole position, battling for position throughout the 23 laps. He never got a moment to rest, with six or seven riders fighting with him for much of the race. Even on the last lap he was side by side with runner-up John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) and third-place finisher Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers Honda NSF250RW). The trio took the flag separated by two tenths of a second.
There was heartache for Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW), who was right with the leaders halfway through the final lap when he was taken out by another rider, through no fault of his own. The 18-year-old had worked so hard during the race to escape from the second group and catch the leaders. There was no doubt that Ogura had the pace to win, or at the least finish in the top three.
The all-Honda podium of Suzuki, McPhee and Arbolino increased the manufacturer’s lead in the Constructors World Championship to 60 points with six races remaining. Honda is currently chasing a hat-trick of constructors prizes.
At the same time Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) increased his advantage in the Riders World Championship. The 22-year-old Italian spent much of the race with the leaders, slipping back slightly to cross the finish line in fifth place, but then he was penalized three seconds for exceeding track limits, which relegated him to eighth. Dalla Porta now leads the series by 22 points from Aron Canet, who failed to finish today’s race due to machine issues.
The riders who benefitted from Dalla Porta’s sanction were Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) and Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), who won last time out at Silverstone. They finished sixth and seventh.
Ogura’s team-mate Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) completed a disappointing day for their team when he was knocked down by another rider at the very first corner, through no fault of his own. This was a great shame for the 19-year-old from Fukuoka who had been fastest in morning warm-up.
The MotoGP paddock has no time to rest after today’s racing as it travels westward towards the Aragon region of Spain for round 14 at MotorLand Aragon, near the ancient town of Alcaniz.