Just 0.021 seconds separated the GasGas team-mates at the finish line before there was another twist
Moto3™ World Championship leader Sergio Garcia has been declared the race winner at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley after fellow Valresa GASGAS Aspar Team Izan Guevara was penalised just after the finish. Guevara had beaten Garcia to the chequered flag by 0.021 seconds, and Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) by just another 0.012 seconds, but was issued a position drop for exceeding track limits in an exhilarating final lap at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello.
That was hardly the only drama in yet another Mugello classic in the lightweight class. Dennis Foggia looked strong on the other Leopard Racing Honda until he crashed out of the lead on Lap 11, the same lap that pole-sitter Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) fell into the gravel as a result of contact with Suzuki. Title contender Jaume Masia failed to make the points after a poor start to the race and then contact with Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) later on.
The early breakaway doesn’t last for long
When the lights went out, Öncü led the field to San Donato (Turn 1), while Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) and Guevara emerged in second and third for the initial run down the hill. They quickly broke away to a one-second lead on just the first of 20 laps but as that trio began to chop and change positions, it was not long before the chasing pack caught up.
That enabled Foggia, who had been the form man in practice and third-fastest in qualifying without a tow, to slipstream his way from fourth position into the lead at the start of Lap 5. However, Honda power meant he was less vulnerable to those chasing him up the main straight, and ‘The Rocket’ enjoyed a relatively long period at the very front of the field.
High drama at the halfway mark
The main contenders at that point appeared to be Foggia, Öncü, Suzuki, Garcia, and Guevara, although you could throw a blanket over the first 10 or so riders. Öncü, however, was out of contention for victory when contact with Suzuki as they rounded San Donato on Lap 11 sent the Turk onto the deck.
That was far from the only drama on that lap, either. Riccardo Rossi (Sic58 Squadra Corse) had gradually made his way up to second position, and found himself in first spot when Foggia lost the rear of his bike coming off Savelli (Turn 7). The Honda slid across the track and while the following riders managed to avoid it, Carlos Tatay (CFMoto Racing PruestelGP) had to take to the gravel to do so. Moments later, John McPhee (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) had a crash at Correntaio (Turn 12) and Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was unable to avoid him, taking another two potential race winners out of the fight.
Plenty more would-be winners put their hand up
Suzuki was soon in the race lead, but had to give it up when he served a long lap penalty for irresponsible riding, and it was Andre Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) into the box seat, ahead of Guevara, Ryusei Yamanaka (MT Helmets – MSI), Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI), Garcia, and Rossi. Then it was Guevara in front thanks to the slipstream until he ran wide at Correntaio on Lap 13 and dropped to fifth, putting Migno back in front.
Moreira hit the front for the first time as they ran up the hill at the start of Lap 16, at which time Suzuki had caught back up to what was a leading group of six. Garcia soon got back into first spot, but Suzuki had recovered to the point that he slipstreamed his way into the lead at the commencement of Lap 17.
Garcia’s aggression pays dividends
It was Rossi’s turn to head the peloton again as they ran into San Donato on Lap 18, then Migno tried to do the same on Lap 19 but ran wide and dropped to third, behind Moreira and Guevara. At the beginning of the final lap, it was a swarm of motorcycles heading towards Turn 1, from which Guevara emerged in front of Suzuki, Migno, Garcia, Yamanaka, Moreira, and Rossi.
Garcia was the aggressor on that last tour of Mugello, going past Migno at Arrabbiata 2 and then Suzuki at Scarperia (Turn 10). He also fired down the inside of his team-mate at the last corner of the race, Bucine (Turn 15), but it was Guevara that prevailed in the drag race to the chequered flag, as 0.033 seconds covered the podium.
However, as they rode back around the the pits after the finish, word came through of a track limits violation for Guevara, which replays confirmed had occurred at the exit of Biondetti 2 (Turn 14), on the final lap. That had the effect of reversing the positions of the GASGAS Aspar riders, with Suzuki a remarkable third despite a penalty of his own.
How the rest of the field finished
Migno was fourth, ahead of Yamanaka, Rossi, Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team), Elia Bartolini (QJMotor Racing Team), Matteo Bertelle (QJMotor Racing Team), and Adrian Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Tech3). Öncü salvaged a point by remounting and getting back to 15th, but Masia was only 17th. Moreira went down at the last corner of the race and Nepa apparently crashed out shortly after his contact with Masia. Scott Ogden (VisionTrack Racing Team) had a technical problem on the start line and hit the floor when he was clipped on the way past by Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia), who went on to finish 18th.
In the World Championship, Garcia is now 28 points clear of Guevara at the top, with Masia and Foggia tied for third at a further 14 points behind. After so many thrills and spills at Mugello, the battle resumes with Round 9, the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 3-5.
1. Sergio Garcia (Valresa GASGAS Aspar Team)
2. Izan Guevara (Valresa GASGAS Aspar Team) – Penalty
3. Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) + 0.033
4. Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) + 0.158
5. Ryusei Yamanaka (MT Helmets – MSI) + 0.255
6. Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 1.020
7. Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) + 5.408
8. Elia Bartolini (QJMotor Avintia Racing Team) + 5.498
9. Matteo Bertelle (QJMotor Avintia Racing Team) + 5.501
10. Adrian Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) + 5.768