Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) won a typically entertaining Moto3 race, leading a Honda monopoly of the first seven positions, which had the first seven riders crossing the finish line covered by 1.045 seconds
The 21-year-old Spaniard beat 19-year-old Italian Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers Honda NSF250RW) by 0.240 seconds, with Ramirez’s team-mate Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) completing the podium, a further 0.134 seconds down, but more importantly increasing his lead in the World Championship.
The 22-year-old Italian led much of the 17-lap race, but was happy with his fourth podium from the last five races. He now leads the points chase by 14 points from Aron Canet, who was knocked off by a falling rival, recovering to 13th place at the finish.
The race was frantic throughout, with the lead changing constantly as riders fought for the advantage by attacking Silverstone’s high-speed curves as fast as they dared and also using the slipstream effect on the straights.
Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) took the flag in fourth place, just 0.051 seconds behind Dalla Porta and 0.070 seconds ahead of Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) who scored his best result since May’s Spanish GP.
Team-mates Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) and John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) also featured in the battle for victory, ending up fifth and sixth, respectively eight tenths of a second and one second behind the winner.
The domination of NSF250RW riders also increased Honda’s advantage in the Moto3 Constructors World Championship.
Moto3 rookie Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) enjoyed a stirring ride to tenth place, after briefly leading the race at one point, which was his first time out front in a World Championship event. The racing was incredibly close, with multiple contacts as riders fought for position, and a couple of contacts with rivals lost Ogura several places. The fact that the 18-year-old from Tokyo finished the race just 1.3 seconds behind the winner proves that he has the speed to race with the world’s fastest Moto3 riders.
His team-mate Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) had a less satisfying day. The 19-year-old from Fukuoka, who won the season-opening Qatar GP and has figured in the lead group at many other races, had a below-par weekend here, qualifying 18th and finishing 20th. Toba will use the two weekends off between this race and the next to refocus and ensure he returns to action with some of his early season speed.
The next Grand Prix, the San Marino GP, takes on September 15 and is followed immediately by the Aragon round, in Spain, on September 22.