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5 days ago
By motogp.com

Title race on: Foggia punishes profligate rivals

The Italian profited from a heartbreaking crash for Romano Fenati while his Championship rivals had an off day

It was a story of contrasting fortunes for the two form riders in the Moto3™ Championship, with Dennis Foggia profiting from Romano Fenati’s (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) heartbreaking crash to romp home for back-to-back victories and keep the his title hopes well and truly alive at the Octo Grand Prix of San Marino. The Leopard Racing man sprayed the bubbly from the top step of the rostrum alongside an all-Italian podium, with Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia VR46 Academy) and Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) the other top three finishers.

The opening exchanges

Having sat on pole and taken three podiums in his last four races, it looked like we were in for another faultless Fenati performance as the Italian took the holeshot into the first corner, batting away the close attention of Antonelli. There were good starts also from Migno, Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) and Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing), but it was Foggia who sat in third as we completed the opening corners.

There were battles all over the circuit with Antonelli responding to a Foggia cut back to keep himself in P2, while Garcia and Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) rubbed shoulders at Turn 8, with the Aspar rider’s machine producing smoke at Turn 8. It was a fascinating watch, but as the lightweight class traded blows, it allowed the fastest man on track to open up a gap of four-tenths to Antonelli in second, and seven-tenths to Foggia in third by the close of the third lap.

Further back, the race lost its first rider as Elia Bartolini (Bardhal VR46 Academy) crashed out of his home Grand Prix at Turn 4. Further back, it was clear Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) would have an off day, as he lost touch with the lead group early on and began a damage limitation mission.

Over the course of the next few laps, Fenati continued to widen the gap despite Antonelli’s best efforts to keep in touch. The VR46 rider then got it horribly wrong ten laps in, going in too hot at Turn 4, and dropping to P7 while Fenati’s lead at the front was almost two seconds.

Over the course of the next few laps, Fenati continued to widen the gap despite Antonelli’s best efforts to keep in touch. The VR46 rider then got it horribly wrong ten laps in, going in too hot at Turn 4, and dropping to P7 while Fenati’s lead at the front was almost two seconds.

It looked for all the world that the Italian would romp home to a second victory of the season, but then disaster struck on the 15th lap. Comfortably leading with a 2.6 second gap to second, Fenati lost the front at the Turn 15 left-hander, and in an instant, his victory chance had vanished as he was on the cusp of bringing himself back into the Championship picture.

A six bike battle for victory

Suddenly the podium battle became one for victory, with Foggia now leading Migno and Binder with Garcia, Masia and Antonelli all chasing the rostrum. However, like his predecessor, the rider occupying P1 would waste no time in opening up a lead over the chasing pack. Garcia and Binder traded overtakes with the Spaniard sitting third, and then set his sights on Migno in second, but when. He made his move at Turn 8 with six laps remaining, he went in too wide and dropped to P4, with Masia moving into the final podium place. The podium battle continued in the same vein for the remainder of the race, with Antonelli also getting involved as he hunted down a fourth podium of the season.

With just a few laps remaining, Foggia’s lead was unassailable, but the podium battle was well and truly alive, with Antonelli rediscovering his early pace to move ahead of Masia and Garcia, and then taking Migno on the penultimate lap, relegating his compatriot to P3. And that’s how the top three would finish after a sensational battle, with Garcia, Masia and Binder just missing out.

The rest of the point scorers

It was an excellent salvage job from Acosta to take P7, as he had the likes of Carlos Tatay (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3), Stefano Nepa (BOE Owlride) and Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) snapping at his heels all race. The race result means that the title leader's Championship advantage is now down to 42 points with Foggia and Garcia in pursuit. Further back, Ricardo Rossi (BOE Owlride) took points at his home Grand Prix, as did Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) and John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing). Japanise duo Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) and Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) round out the top 15.

Top 10:

1. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) - 1:41.753
2. Niccolò Antonelli (Avintia VR46) + 0.565
3. Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 0.817
4. Sergio Garcia (GAVIOTA GASGAS Aspar Team) + 2.140
5. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 3.098
6. Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 7.633
7. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 9.991
8. Carlos Tatay (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) + 10.184
9. Stefano Nepa (BOE Owlride) + 10.341
10. Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM T3) + 10.344

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