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Leopard Racing’s Marcos Ramirez became the 12th different Moto3™ winner in a row after he escaped a chaotic Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya to earn his first Grand Prix win, with Championship leader Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) and SKY Racing Team VR46’s Celestino Vietti completing the podium.
Polesitter Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) didn’t get the start he would have been looking for but third place Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) did as the Italian grabbed the holeshot, Rodrigo initially slipped to seventh with Canet making a good start from P5 to take the lead on the opening lap.
However, the Moto3™ race would see big drama in the opening handful of laps. From P10, Championship contender Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) had made a cracking start to come through to the lead, but at the end of Lap 3, the Italian suffered an issue on board his Honda machine and was forced to retire. Then, a couple of laps later on Lap 5, disaster struck for a number of the riders in the leading group. Can Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) got all sorts of crossed up heading into Turn 4, with the Turk making contact with Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team’s Albert Arenas and Raul Fernandez and Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0), with Vicente Perez (Reale Avintia Arizona 77) and Redox PrüstelGP’s Filip Salac also going down.
Öncü's big incident in Moto3™
It was quickly becoming a race of attrition with a group of 15 riders all battling for the lead, but for the second time, a leading Honda rider suffered a mechanical problem. Arbolino the victim this time with the Italian having to retire with 10 laps remaining.
The pace wasn’t that quick and because of this we soon saw the top 18 riders covered by less than a second. Even by Moto3™ standards, this was turning into an extraordinary Barcelona battle. Turn 1 then claimed a victim as another title contender slipped out of contention, Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) crashing while battling with Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) with 8 to go.
The riders who were left upright were embroiled in a ferocious fight at the front, the likes of Ramirez, Canet, John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing), home rider Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Rodrigo all taking turns to lead. However, the latter’s race would end prematurely at Turn 10, with Rodrigo and Binder hitting the deck with just two to go.
Heading onto the final lap, Honda Team Asia’s Kaito Toba had taken the baton from 24th on the grid and it was looking promising for the Japanese rider to take his first podium since winning the Qatar GP. But, like so many of the other riders in Barcelona, crashed out. Turn 10 the corner, with McPhee miraculously saving a highside on the exit of Turn 10, his hopes of a podium ended. This left Ramirez leading into the final sector and despite a last corner pass attempt from Canet, Ramirez would hold on to create history – the first time in lightweight class history there have been seven different winners in the first seven races of the season. Vietti came through to make a Valentino Rossi-esque pass on Lopez at the final corner to claim the final podium place.
Could this be the save of the year?
Lopez had to settle for fourth, this his equal best Moto3™ result, with Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) taking P5. Second on the grid Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) would come home to take P6 in Barcelona, with Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) doing well to take P7 after lingering outside the points for the opening half of the race. Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing), wildcard Ryusei Yamanaka and Jakub Korfeil (Redox PrüstelGP) completed the top ten.
After running wide at Turn 1 mid-race, Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) settled for P11, with current Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Championship leader and wildcard Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Arizona) coming P12. McPhee salvaged P13 after his monster save, with fellow Brit Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power) picking up his first Grand Prix points in 14th ahead of teammate Binder. The South African getting back on board his KTM to take the last point.
Wow. A breathless Barcelona Moto3™ race ends with yet another different winner. That’s 12 in the last 12 now, how many more can there be? We now pack up and head to Assen for Round 8 of the year, with Canet stretching his Championship lead to 23 points over Dalla Porta.
1. Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing)
2. Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) + 0.119
3. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.146
4. Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) + 0.235
5. Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.947
6. Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) + 1.008
7. Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) + 1.068
8. Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 1.358
9. Ryusei Yamanaka (Estrella Galicia 0,0) + 1.984
10. Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP) + 2.472
In 10 mins: Catalan GP Moto3™ highlights
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