Young Moto3 star Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) scored the first Grand Prix victory of his career in the first race of the day, coming out on top of a frantic race in which numerous riders fell.
Ramirez’s maiden success continues Moto3’s remarkable run of 12 different winners from the last 12 races, all the way back to last October’s Thailand Grand Prix.
The lead pack consisted of more than a dozen riders throughout the 21 laps, with the top ten separated by just one second at half-distance and the first seven men over the finish line covered by one second.
The result was in doubt until the chequered flag was being readied. Qatar GP winner Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) rode a superb race, once again staging a fantastic fightback, this time from 27th on the grid, to take the lead at three-quarters distance. On several occasions Toba was repassed by rivals but he retook the lead on the penultimate lap and was still ahead with four corners to go, when he slid off at the turn-ten hairpin. The 19-year-old from Fukuoka was bitterly disappointed, although he had once again proved he has race-winning speed.
When Toba fell, 21-year-old Spaniard Ramirez seized the advantage to take the flag 0.119 seconds ahead of points leader Aron Canet.
Another 21-year-old Spaniard Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) took fourth place, equalling his best-ever result, less than a tenth of a second behind third-place man Celestino Vietti.
Honda NSF250RW riders filled six of the top nine positions, with Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) also in the lead group and finishing sixth, 1.008 seconds down on Ramirez. Right behind the 18-year-old from Saitama were Romano Fenati (Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW), Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) and Ryusei Yamanaka (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW).
Seventeen-year-old Yamanaka was contesting only his second Grand Prix, after making his debut in Qatar, where he finished 25th. This year his full-time task is contesting the Moto3 Junior World championship, which is based mostly in Spain. He currently lies eighth overall in that series after taking victory in the recent Valencia round.
Today’s Moto3 race didn’t go well for Honda’s other title hopefuls. Pole-starter Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) crashed out on the penultimate lap, while Tony Arbolino (Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) had technical issues.
Today’s racing was the 930th Grand Prix event since motorcycling’s World Championships began in 1949. The first-ever championship races took place at the 1949 Isle of Man TT, with the 350cc race on June 13 and the 250cc and 500cc races on June 17.