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Antonelli claims maiden Moto3™ victory

 Antonelli claims maiden Moto3™ victory

Niccolo Antonelli takes his career first GP victory in a re-started 12-lap race ahead of Enea Bastianini and Brad Binder.

Ongetta-Rivacold’s Niccolo Antonelli claimed his maiden Moto3™ victory in a exhilarating 12–lap race after the original was red flagged. The Italian took the race win by just 0.152s from Gresini Racing Team Moto3’s Enea Bastianini, with Brad Binder completing the podium on the Red Bull KTM Ajo.

There were dramatic scenes at the legendary Automotodrom Brno as the original race saw two four-rider crashes on the opening lap, with the second resulting in the red flag being shown. The first incident occurred at turn 1 and involved Tatsuki Suzuki, Niklas Ajo, Phillip Oettl and Jules Danilo. The second was at turn 3 and saw Andrea Locatelli, Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Gabriel Rodrigo and Hiroki Ono crash. Rodrigo and Ono were taken to the Medical Centre for checks on their left leg and right foot respectively, with Rodrigo being taken to Brno Hospital for further checks and both riders missing the restart. Ajo and Locatelli also failed to re-take their starting spots on the grid.

The re-started race saw a number of riders switch to the soft rear tyre option due to the reduced length. The race itself was a frantic sprint which saw 11 riders break away at the front and open up a 2 second gap after the first 7 laps. The 138,000 fans at the circuit were treated to an incredible spectacle, as at times riders were eight abreast entering into corners and the lead swapped hands multiple times between leading group.

Antonelli hit the front with 2 laps remaining and didn’t look back, going on to claim his first GP victory, and his first podium finish on his 62nd attempt. His compatriot Bastianini fought his way back from 15th on the grid to claim second. It was an incredible ride by the Italian and he almost timed his charge on the final corner perfectly, only just missing out on the race win in the drag to the line by 0.152s. South African Brad Binder had been dicing for the lead the entire race, and fought aggresively on the final lap to secure third, with just 0.376s seperating the top three.

Leopard Racing’s Efren Vazquez (+0.540s) crossed the line in fourth, ahead of the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda of Jorge Navarro (+0.560s). Romano Fenati (+0.821s) on the SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM had a brilliant race to finish in sixth. The Italian had to claw his way through the field after starting from 22nd due to receiving a 3-place penalty from Race Direction for riding slowly on the racing line during Qualifying. On lap 6 he was up to eighth, and was as high as second on the final lap before dropping back to sixth in the last few corners.

Championship leader Danny Kent (Leopard Racing) looked like he was managing the race superbly from the middle of the leading group. Unfortunately contact with Navarro on the penultimate lap knocked the British rider out of his rhythm and he could only manage to finish in seventh.

Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo), local hero Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC), and Scottish rider John McPhee (SAXOPRINT RTG) completed the top ten.

Fabio Quartararo, Isaac Viñales, Karel Hanika and Jules Danilo crashed out on just the second lap, with the latter two managing to re-join to finish 26th and 27th respectively. Alexis Masbou crashed out of the leading group later on in the race, while wild card Kevin Hanus also recorded a DNF.

Kent (199pts) still tops the Moto3™ standings but his lead over Bastianini (154pts) has been reduced to 41 points with 7 races remaining. Fenati remains in third with 122 points.

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

Moto3, 2015, bwin GRAND PRIX ČESKÉ REPUBLIKY, RAC, Enea Bastianini, Niccolò Antonelli, Brad Binder, Ongetta-Rivacold

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