Antonelli Eases to Motegi Moto3 Victory


Niccolo Antonelli led every lap of a shortened Moto3 race at Motegi to take his second Grand Prix victory of the season. The Italian took the lead at the start and was never threatened while Danny Kent took another giant step towards the title with sixth place, one spot ahead of nearest rival Enea Bastianini.

The Grand Prix went ahead an hour later than originally scheduled after morning rain and mist prevented the medical helicopter from taking off. With the organisers keen to avoid a delay to the MotoGP race, the decision was taken to shorten the races preceding it, presenting the Moto3 riders with just fourteen laps to deal with the treacherous conditions.

The situation was already looking positive for Antonelli after post-qualifying penalties saw Miguel Oliveira and Jorge Navarro demoted three grid positions, promoting the Ongetta rider to the front row, and Niccolo took full advantage by outdragging polesitter Romano Fenati on the approach to turn one.

His chief rivals in the early stages came in the form of wet-weather specialist Livio Loi and home favourite Hiroki Ono but both saw their podium hopes washed away in the opening laps. Ono had climbed to third before losing control at turn three, a corner that also accounted for Fenati seconds later, while Loi’s search of a second GP win came to an abrupt halt when he tumbled on lap five.

Danny Kent had managed to keep his Leopard Honda upright but it came at a cost, the Briton dropping all the way back to sixteenth on lap one, but as the conditions improved, he soon made progress. Despite some brutal manoeuvres from Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Karel Hanika, Kent made it up to seventh and with a lap to go, he was staring at the rear of his title rival. Bastianini did everything he could to keep Kent at bay but as they approached turn seven, Danny scythed through to secure sixth place.

Antonelli had matters under control up front and cruised to victory ahead of Oliveira and Navarro who atoned for their qualifying penalties by finishing on the podium. Isaac Vinales had a rostrum spot in his hands before tumbling two laps from home but still remounted to finish fourth while Zulfahmi Khairuddin finished a fine fifth ahead of Kent and Bastianini.

After losing his battle with Kent, Karel Hanika was forced to settle for eighth with John McPhee and Efren Vazquez rounding out the top ten.

 

MOTO3 MOTUL GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN – RACE RESULT (13 LAPS)

PosRiderConstructorTeamTime/Gap
123. Niccolo AntonelliHondaOngetta-Rivacold28:03.391
244. Miguel OliveiraKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo+1.053
39. Jorge NavarroHondaEstrella Galicia 0,0+8.529
432. Isaac VinalesKTMRBA Racing Team+11.074
563. Zulfahmi KhairuddinKTMDrive M7 SIC Racing Team+13.043
652. Danny KentHondaLeopard Racing+15.224
733. Enea BastianiniHondaJunior Team Gresini Moto3+15.873
898. Karel HanikaKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo+17.563
917. John McPheeHondaSaxoprint-RTG+18.153
107. Efren VazquezHondaLeopard Racing+18.556
1188. Jorge MartinMahindraMapfre Mahindra Team+19.896
1284. Jakub KornfeilKTMDrive M7 SIC Racing Team+20.892
1324. Tatsuki SuzukiMahindraCIP+25.145
1455. Andrea LocatelliHondaJunior Team Gresini Moto3+28.455
1521. Francesco BagnaiaMahindraMapfre Mahindra Team+28.849
1691. Gabriel RodrigoKTMRBA Racing Team+29.988
1741. Brad BinderKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo+30.719
1829. Stefano ManziMahindraSan Carlo Team Italia+31.949
1995. Jules DaniloHondaOngetta-Rivacold+32.146
2016. Andrea MignoKTMSky Racing Team VR46+35.048
2158. Juanfran GuevaraMahindraMapfre Mahindra Team+47.242
2296. Manuel PaglianiMahindraSan Carlo Team Italia+48.796
2365. Philipp OettlKTMSchedl GP Racing+49.372
2448. Lorenzo Dalla PortaHusqvarnaHusqvarna Factory Laglisse+56.860
2527. Keisuke KuriharaHondaMusahi RT Harc-Pro+59.731
266. Maria HerreraHusqvarnaHusqvarna Factory Laglisse+1:07.035
2740. Darryn BinderMahindraOutox Reset Drink Team+1:19.621
285. Romano FenatiKTMSky Racing Team VR46+1:29.664
2922. Ana CarrascoKTMRBA Racing Team+1:52.305
NC2. Remy GardnerMahindraCIP+3 Laps
NC11. Livio LoiHondaRW Racing GP+9 Laps
NC76. Hiroki OnoHondaLeopard Racing+11 Laps
NC34. Ryo MizunoHondaMusahi RT Harc-Pro+12 Laps
NC10. Alexis MasbouHondaSaxoprint-RTG+12 Laps
NC19. Alessandro TonucciMahindraOutox Reset Drink Team+12 Laps
NS20. Fabio QuartararoHondaEstrella Galicia 0,0Injured