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Loi takes maiden Moto3™ victory

Loi takes maiden Moto3™ victory

Belgian Livio Loi takes his first Moto3™ win as rain causes chaos at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.

RW Racing GP’s Loi made history as he became the first Belgian rider to win in the lightweight class after taking victory in a rain-affected race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Loi finished 38.860s ahead of second placed John McPhee on the SAXOPRINT RTG Honda, with Schedl GP Racing’s Phillip Oettl (+57.781s) claiming the last podium spot a further 17-seconds back. Championship leader Danny Kent was caught out by the weather conditions and eventually crossed the line in 21st.

The formbook was thrown out of the window before the race began as a heavy shower meant that it was declared wet. All of the riders lined up on the grid on wet tyres before Livio Loi, Jules Danilo, Andrea Migno and McPhee decided to switch to slicks before the race, with Loi the only rider to make the decision in time to start from his original grid position while the others had to start from Pit Lane.

This proved a masterstroke as the rain stopped as the lights went out and the track dried rapidly, with riders pouring into the pits to change to slicks from the end of the very first lap. Loi managed to take the lead on lap four and never looked back, managing his lead perfectly. McPhee and Oettl also rapidly made their way through the field and for the majority of the race they were the only two riders not to be a lap down on the leader Loi.

While the rain returned with a few laps to go, it was not heavy enough to make a difference to the result, and Loi went on to take his first career Moto3™ victory by a massive margin. The victory would have been made even sweeter by the fact that the Belgian was forced to miss the race at Indianapolis last year after he had been released from his contract with the Marc VDS team at the German GP.

McPhee’s second placed finish came after he had qualified down 18th place and it was his first career Moto3™ podium, in a season that has proven rather tricky for the Scotsman. It was also Phillip Oettl’s first Moto3™ podium finish too, just 19 years and 2 months after his father Peter Oettl’s last GP win at Mugello in 1996.

Sky Racing Team VR46’s Romano Fenati (+1’15.296) finished in fourth, 17 seconds further back from Oettl, with Isaac Viñales filling in for the injured Ana Carrasco on the RBA Racing Team KTM taking fifth spot.

Enea Bastianini managed to close the gap on leader Kent in the standings by 10 points to 56 after he crossed the line in 6th on the Gresini Racing Team Moto3 Honda. The Italian coming out on top of an excellent battle with Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) in seventh, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in eighth and Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) who finished in ninth.

Mapfre Team Mahindra’s Jorge Martin completed the top ten in a race that saw his teammate Francesco Bagnaia given a ride through penalty for a jump start before crashing out at turn 4 on lap 14. Efren Vazquez had earlier topped Warm Up on his Leopard racing Honda, but also crashed out at turn 9 on lap 16.

Leopard Racing's Kent was a one of a number of top riders to be caught out by the weather conditions and be forced to pit to change to slicks during the race. With only one bike per rider in Moto3™ the process of physically changing the tyres and rejoining the race took on average just under two minutes, which is why so many riders found themselves so far back behind the leader after their stops. Unlike the man who started second on the grid, Red Bull KTM Ajo's Miguel Oliveira (15th), poleman Kent was not able to salvage any championship points and eventually crossed the line in 21st.

The result means the Danny Kent (190) still leads the Moto3™ World Championship standings despite his first non-points scoring finish of the season, but his advantage has been cut to 56 points by second-placed Enea Bastianini.

Check out the full Moto3™ race results, and the latest Moto3™ World Championship standings.

Tags:
Moto3, 2015, RED BULL INDIANAPOLIS GRAND PRIX, RAC, Livio Loi, Philipp Oettl, John McPhee, RW Racing GP

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