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Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira claimed a career first Moto3™ victory, and becomes the first Portuguese winner in Grand Prix history.
It was a frantic 16 rider battle for the majority of the Moto3™ race, with riders frequently heading into Turn 1 four or more abreast. The slipstream saw them able to jump from ninth to first down the straight, and kept a multitude of riders in the leading pack. Both Romano Fenati and Danny Kent led the race on multiple occasions, despite being outside the top ten just a lap before.
One would not have expected victory from Oliveira at the start of the race as he found himself in 13th on the opening laps. However, the slipstream and fierce fighting at the front allowed him to close the gap. Oliveira led for the majority of the final laps and even into the last corner, a risky move at Mugello where the slipstream can be so beneficial. Despite this, he claimed victory by 0.071s and is the first Portuguese rider to win at any level in GP racing. “I was afraid I’d be caught at the end. I knew from practice I was strong in the last corner. I didn’t want to be first in the last lap but we had no choice, it’s a great day for me,” commented Oliveira.
Throughout the race, Danny Kent bounced around in the leading group, dropping outside the top ten on multiple occasions. Kent demonstrated his maturity as he rode a careful race to avoid the risk of contact with any over eager riders and put in a strong closing lap to secure the podium. This is Kent’s fifth podium of the year and extends his championship lead to 46 points over Bastianini, who was fifth. “I didn’t want to lead into the last corner because of the slipstream. There were 15 people trying for the podium so to get here is good. We increased our championship lead which is the main aim, we’re here for the long run,” reflected Kent.
Completing the podium was Romano Fenati, resplendent in the colours of the Italian flag in a special livery for his KTM machine. The home rider led at the early stages but echoed Kent as he too dropped down the order before bouncing back, which unfortunately caused increased wear in his Dunlop tyres. Just 0.003s split Fenati in third from former teammate Francesco Bagnaia in fourth in what was a classic Mugello slipstream finish. “The tyre dropped very hard very fast. The bike didn’t feel quite right in Warm Up and the bike felt a bit better in the race. The podium is important for the championship,” commented Fenati who has found his form again after a tough start to the year.
Hiroki Ono had started in second and led into Turn 1 on the opening lap, but unfortunately, the Japanese rider did not have the pace to stay with the leaders over the course of the race. He would eventually finish in 11th, equalling his best finish of the 2015 season.
Mugello was another disappointing round for Fabio Quartararo, the rookie falling while in the leading pack. He now drops to seventh in the championship. There were also falls from Vazquez and Hanika on the last lap, the duo both OK. Juanfran Guevara aggravated his collarbone injury sustained in Jerez, as he too fell from the race.
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