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Viñales takes close-fought victory at Italian GP

Viñales takes close-fought victory at Italian GP

At this weekend’s Gran Premio d’Italia TIM at Mugello it was Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales who recorded a narrow victory in the Moto3™ race ahead of local favourite Romano Fenati and Sandro Cortese.

It was AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin who got the best start as he led the frantic opening stages with JHK Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins and Viñales in tow. There was drama early on as Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi crashed out on lap two, almost taking out Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Danny Kent.

Team Italia FMI’s Fenati started to charge up the field three laps in, taking the lead in front of Red Bull KTM’s Sandro Cortese. While the racing was keeping the crowd entertained, further down the group Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Alberto Moncayo and RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom crashed out of the race, putting an end to their charge.

With 15 laps left, Rins, Cortese and Vázquez used the slipstream down the home straight to take the lead, while Cortese’s teammate Arthur Sissis retired from the race with a mechanical issue. Turn one at the end of the home straight proved the most popular overtaking zone after a tow down the straight, as a lap later the lead changed once more with Viñales taking to the front. On the same lap, Rins’ teammate Miguel Oliveira suffered a crash as he was chasing the leading group.

IodaRacing Project’s Jonas Folger suffered further misery to his season as he had to pit with a bike problem on lap 13. Two laps later San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Niccolò Antonelli made his charge to front, as Fenati and him led the group dicing for first spot. On the same lap, Moto FGR’s Jasper Iwema pulled into the pits with a mechanical issue, ending his race prematurely.

A group of seven riders had formed at the front with nine laps remaining, with all riders switching positions frequently as the win and final podium positions were being hotly contested, while Khairuddin led the group for eighth. A lap later Viñales made his way into the lead and tried to pull out a gap to the front, with Cortese and Rins doing their best to stick with him. Fenati however put the hammer down and joined Viñales and Cortese at the front, as a battle for the top three spots ensued.

With four laps to go Fenati slipped into second to start attacking Viñales, yet Cortese looked content to stalk the pair in third. The trio stuck together and were nearly wheel-to-wheel heading into the last lap, where Cortese tried to push his way through on turn one. This however let Fenati into the lead, yet Viñales fought straight back. Cortese then muscled his way into second, after which they entered onto the final home straight almost side by side.

In the end it was Viñales who won the drag to the line to take the chequered flag by a mere two hundredths of a second, with Fenati and Cortese completing the podium. Cortese still retains the championship lead, although Viñales has now cut it to nine points. The winning trio were followed by Antonelli, Kent, Vázquez, Rins, Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta’s Jakub Kornfeil, Khairuddin and Mapfre’s Héctor Faubel.


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