Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) secured his first win of the season at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. Only 17 out of 30 riders finished a Moto3™ race marked by a myriad of incidents. The Italian had been absent from the podium’s top step since Motegui 2016, and beat fellow countryman Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP). Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) crossed the finish line third to claim his maiden World Championship podium. Since neither Jorge Martín (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) nor Arón Canet (Estella Galicia 0,0) finished the race, Bezzecchi builds a healthy 19-point lead in the overall standings.
The race included a string of crashes, a few of them involving the frontrunners. In what seemed a repeat of his race in Mugello, last year winner Jorge Martín lead off the line and got the holeshot with the intention of pulling away, with Japanese rider Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) hot on his wheel. The Spaniard ended up in the gravel in lap 8 and lost all podium chances.
Suzuki was quickly overhauled by a large chasing group including 11 riders fighting for victory. With 8 laps to go, Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) went down. Shortly after, Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team Moto3) run into Arón Canet, who in turn collected Nicolò Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46).
With four laps remaining, rookie Jaume Masià (Bester Capital Dubai) and Italian Andrea Migno (Angel Nieto Team Moto3) kissed the gravel goodbye. By then, only 5 riders were left in contention: John McPhee (CIP –Green Power), Marco Bezzecchi, Gabriel Rodrigo, Enea Bastianini and Tatsuki Suzuki. The wisest of them all was Enea Bastianini: in the home straight going into the final lap, he pushed into a lead he was not to relinquish.
A great day for Enea Bastianini: after three out of six races outside the points and a sole podium finish (Austin) this season, this victory must have felt heavenly to him. Surely enough, second-placed Marco Bezzecchi will leave the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with a grinning face, as he banks a bunch of points to consolidate his lead in the overall standings. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3), with 84 points, seems very far from his 103, after Martín and Canet crashed out today. Jorge Martín (80 points) and Enea Bastianini (68 points) are 3rd and 4th in the Championship tables.
Outstanding performance for Spanish-Argentinian rider Gabriel Rodrigo, who had never been on podium and is the first Argentinian in 32 years to be crowned in this series. Rodrigo went into the home straight in P2, but Bezzecchi brushed past him and took P2 by 3 thousands. Jaume Masià renewed the racetrack record on a 1m49.005s lap.
Shortly before the race, a one-minute silence was observed in tribute to young Reale Avintia Academy rider Andreas Pérez, who tragically passed away last Monday after a crash during the FIM CEV race. Homages to Pérez were seen repeatedly over the weekend, including team-mate Vicente Pérez racing on his 77 number. Vicente Pérez, unfortunately, was unable to take the start as a consequence of a heavy crash in qualifying. Niccolò Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was also absent from the grid after falling in FP3 dislocating one shoulder.