Sterilgarda Max Racing Team’s Romano Fenati won his first race since the 2019 Austrian GP after emerging victorious in another stunning Moto3™ race. The Italian got the better of second place Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) to make it an Italian 1-2 at the Gran Premio TISSOT dell'Emilia Romagna e della Riviera di Rimini, with Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) once again finishing on the podium to close down fourth place Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) in the Championship.
Polesitter Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) got the initial launch off the line but Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) fired his way into Turn 1 as the race leader as his Honda machine was lightning quick as the Italian clicked up the gears. Championship leader Arenas made a good start from the second row to grab P3, with Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46) dropping one place to P4 from the front row. Arbolino led but not for long, Fernandez was through at Turn 5 before Arenas was also past Arbolino, a cracking move around the outside at Turn 13.
Further back, third in the Championship John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was 17th after the opening couple laps having started P18, with rival Arenas hounding Fernandez. The Spaniard, who had shown great pace all weekend, was looking good but Arenas and third place Arbolino were through on Lap 4, with fourth place Vietti now harassing Fernandez, with the top 17 covered by two seconds.
After crashing out seven days prior, Arenas was looking for redemption. The Spaniard was leading from the front as Styrian GP winner Vietti was making good progress. Vietti got the better of Fernandez and then a lap later made an aggressive move stick on Arbolino, costing the latter a couple of places, but this was changing all the while. Fernandez and Vietti swapped P2 and P3 on Lap 7 a couple of times, with rookie sensation Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) up to 4th. Vietti then led on Lap 7 at Turn 13, Arenas demoted to second.
Vietti then led for a fair chunk of time on home territory, with Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) making good ground to get the better of Fernandez into P3, Arenas still shadowing Vietti in P2. McPhee was starting to recover some ground at the halfway point, the top 11 were all joined at the hip and the British rider was at the back of that, with Ogura one place ahead of him. Two seconds behind McPhee, Arbolino had dropped from the race lead to 13th and it seemed the Italian didn’t have the pace to stick with the leaders. Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power), who started P19, was also in the lead group – a standard Sunday morning for the South African.
Into the final 10 laps, Vietti was keeping P1 his own. Masia was now his immediate threat as Binder and Alcoba came into contact heading down the back straight before Turn 11 – a close call. With eight laps remaining, Binder wasn’t fazed and was up to P4 behind Vietti, Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) and Masia, with Arenas then getting the better of Binder for P4 as 11-bike strong freight train roared around Misano. A change of the lead then happened with seven laps to go as Masia was up the inside at Turn 8 – with Rodrigo and Vietti lucky to stay upright as Rodrigo came into the contact with the Italian’s rear tyre.
With five laps to go, Arenas was almost down at Turn 1 and just behind, Binder suffered a huge highside. Vietti was still your race leader though heading into the final three laps it was all to play for in the lead group. At this stage, Ogura had made his presence in the top three known as he got the better of Arenas. With two to go, Masia led into Turn 1 – the start of some serious, fairing-bashing action. Arenas then made a huge lunge into Turn 4 and grabbed the lead, but Vietti was aggressive up the inside at Turn 5 as contact was made between the duo. Further back, Alcoba made contact with McPhee at Turn 4 which left the Scot down in P10.
It was all changing. Vietti led over the line to start the last lap at the front from Arenas and Fenati, with Masia and Ogura inside the top five. Arenas got a good run down into Turn 8 and was alongside the race leader, but Vietti was late and strong on the brakes. Then, Arenas made a classy move stick into Turn 10 and led with half a lap to go, but the slipstream played its part and heading into Turn 11 as Masia stormed up the inside of Vietti – who in turn was looking for a way through on Arenas – and leader Arenas, as the riders got breathtakingly close at high speed. And, after leading heading onto the straight, Arenas found himself down in P5 just seconds later as Masia, Vietti, Fenati and Ogura made their way through.
So, Turn 14 reared its head and Masia – your race leader – went defensive. That didn’t stop Vietti from having a lunge up the inside and the Italian was out of shape. Contact was made, the top two were wide and taking advantage was third place Fenati. The latter said grazie mille and swept through to take the lead, with Vietti just holding off Ogura to keep P2. Masia was forced down to P5 with Arenas also getting through. At the final corner, Vietti couldn’t find a way through on Fenati and the experienced Italian took the chequered flag to win by 0.036 seconds, handing Husqvarna their maiden Grand Prix victory.
Ogura claimed his sixth podium of the season to now sit just two points behind Arenas in the Championship, Arenas finishing P4 after his crash a week ago. Masia will be disappointed to finish 5th after leading with three corners to go, Fernandez finishes P6 for the fourth time in 2020 to end the race just 0.4 from victory. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) showed fantastic late-race pace to finish seventh, with Migno and Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) also less than a second from the race win in 8th and 9th, the duo finished ahead of McPhee. Contact with Alcoba – who was handed a three-second penalty at the end of the race – on the penultimate lap cost McPhee a chance of the podium fight – he now drops to 21 points off Arenas in the standings.
Another absolute barnstormer of a Moto3™ race. The title race is taking twists all the time as Ogura and Arenas head into Barcelona just two points apart, with Vietti leapfrogging the injured Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) into 4th – 12 behind McPhee. The lightweight class go again in less than a week’s time at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya!
1. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)
2. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.036
3. Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) + 0.121
4. Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) + 0.199
5. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) + 0.280
6. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.439
7. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) + 0.678
8. Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.791
9. Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.939
10. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 1.125
Click here for the full results!