Honda Moto3 riders John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) scored a superb one-two finish at the end of a hectic Moto3 race.
Halfway through the final lap the remarkable Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) looked like making it an all-Honda podium, until the 19-year-old rider from Tokyo was barged wide by a rival just four corners from the chequered flag. That incident was heartbreak for the Qatar GP winner, who had fought his way from 12th place on lap seven to join the lead group in the final stages and briefly take the lead with two laps to go. Despite the collision, Toba managed to cross the finish line in sixth place, just 1.4 seconds behind winner McPhee.
This was the 24-year-old Briton’s second Moto3 victory and his first since the 2016 Czech GP. After starting from pole position he spent most of the 22 laps at the back of the lead group, only moving forward during the closing stages to engage in a breath-taking battle with Dalla Porta, Toba, Andrea Migno and others.
Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW), who finished second to team-mate Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) at the Spanish GP earlier this month, dominated the first half of the race. The 21-year-old from Chiba lost the lead when he ran wide at turn seven on lap 15, but he was soon in front again, only to lose the lead once again when he crashed at the first chicane, taking Tony Arbolino (Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) with him. Sadly, Antonelli also crashed out of the race, but retains third place overall.
Dalla Porta’s second-place result, just one tenth of a second behind McPhee, puts him a strong second in the World Championship. Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) was Honda’s next finisher in fourth place, just two seconds outside a podium finish.
Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) led the first day of practice here and was with the leaders when he fell on the first lap.
The MotoGP circus travels south west from Le Mans to Italy, for the Italian GP at Mugello on June 2.