Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) crowned his superb Moto3 World Championship victory with a fine ride to second place in the soaking-wet first race of the day. The 20-year-old Spaniard crossed the line four seconds behind Can Oncu, who simultaneously became the youngest-ever Grand Prix winner (at 15 years and 115 days old), the first Turk to win a Grand Prix and the first rider to win on his debut since Noboru Ueda won the 1991 Japanese 125cc Grand Prix at Suzuka.
There were numerous tumbles in the treacherous conditions, with Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) the first to go at the fourth corner of the first lap, taking with him Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) and Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW).
The early leader was pole-starter Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda NSF250RW) who led the first 11 laps, eking out a narrow lead over Oncu. But on lap 12 of 23 he fell at the tricky turn four – the first right-hander of the anti-clockwise circuit with a downhill entry to the corner, which makes it easy to lose grip. The 18-year-old Italian was distraught after his tumble, which robbed him of a potential first Grand Prix victory.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) battled with Martin for a podium finish for much of the race, until the 20-year-old Italian made a small error. He eventually finished fourth, to make sure of the runner-up position in the riders championship, giving Fausto Gresini’s team a title one-two. Honda had already won the constructors crown, its 18th in Moto3/125cc class. Martin’s riders title success was Honda’s 17th Riders World Championship in the category.
Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) splashed his way through the conditions – which caused 15 crashes, none of which was serious – to take the chequered flag in fifth place to complete the 2018 season fourth overall, ahead of first-lap fallers Dalla Porta and Canet, who nonetheless finished the year fifth and sixth overall, making it six NSF250R riders in the top six of the championship.
Front-row starter Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) finished the race in eighth place, his best-ever Grand Prix result. Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) was 11th.
MotoGP winter testing begins at Valencia on Tuesday. The two-day outing is followed by another two-day session at Jerez later this month. Next year’s testing starts at Sepang, Malaysia, in February.