Viñales takes victory in Assen thriller

Saturday, 30 June 2012

In one of the most hotly contested Moto3™ races this season at the Iveco TT Assen it was Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales who stormed to victory in sunny conditions ahead of Sandro Cortese and Danny Kent.

It was Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Kent and Bankia Aspar’s Hector Faubel that got the best start, with Kent’s teammate Cortese dropping back to fourth from pole. The first three laps were a frantic affair, with Cortese, Viñales and San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Niccolò Antonelli all fighting their way to the front. They were however soon put under pressure by TT Motion Events Racing’s Niklas Ajo, Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi and RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom.

Caretta Technology’s Jack Miller was handed a ride-through for a jump start, while IodaRacing Project’s Jonas Folger’s bad weekend got even worse as he crashed out with 18 laps remaining. With 15 laps to go, Kent, who had slowed briefly, pushed his way up the field again and passed his teammate Cortese for the lead. This was short lived however as Viñales took advantage of the two fighting and nipped into the lead.

With 12 laps to go a leading group of six riders started to pull out a small gap at the front with Viñales and Cortese leading the pack, pursued by Kent, Salom, Rossi and Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins. A lap later Miller was shown the black flag for ignoring the ride-through penalty, putting an end to his race. A few laps after, Ambrogio Next Racing’s Giulian Pedone retired from the race with mechanical issues. It was misery for Antonelli with nine laps left, as he crashed out of what had looked like a promising race for the youngster, as did Mahindra Racing’s Danny Webb.

As the scrap at the front got harder towards the end, Cortese and Kent were going fairing to fairing in their pursuit of the leading Viñales, with Cortese almost taking out his teammate at one point. The group would not settle down however, with many aggressive passes being made in the final laps in a nail-biting finale.

The last lap was one of best ever seen in the Moto3 class as positions changed frantically in the final corners, with Viñales getting the final slingshot over the line, with a photo analysis required to decide the positions between Salom, Kent and Cortese.

With Viñales taking the win, second place went to Cortese, with Kent taking the final step on the rostrum; his first ever podium of his Grand Prix career. They were followed by Salom, Rossi, Rins, Caretta Technology’s Alexis Masbou, Ajo, JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez and Rins’ teammate Miguel Oliveira.

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