Niccolo Antonelli claimed his first ever Moto3 victory after a typically frenetic Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno. The Italian converted pole position into maximum points although his route to a maiden win was by no means straightforward as over ten riders fought over the lead throughout.
The sense of urgency among the riders was heightened by a pair of crashes on the opening lap which brought out the red flags, shortening the race distance as a result. The drama started at turn one with Tatsuki Suzuki, already riding injured after a qualifying crash, tumbling along with Niklas Ajo, Philipp Oettl and Jules Danilo.
All four were unhurt but a second pile-up at turn three forced race direction to call a halt to proceedings with Gabriel Rodrigo requiring medical attention, the Argentine tangling with Hiroki Ono, Andrea Locatelli and Lorenzo Dalla Porta. Rodrigo was later given the all-clear but following the lengthy delay while the youngster was treated, the restarted race would now be run over just twelve laps.
The re-run came as a relief to Danny Kent who had botched the initial start but despite making a better fist of it second time around, the Briton was forced to take a back seat as the fight for victory took place ahead of him. For much of the race, the lead switched hands between the Red Bull Ajo KTMs of Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira but with two laps remaining, Antonelli used the horsepower of his Honda to blast past the South African to take a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
Romano Fenati, who had started down in 22nd after a grid penalty, briefly held second after some aggressive overtaking but his compatriot Enea Bastianini would eventually take the place after timing his final lap move to perfection. Binder held on to third ahead of Efren Vazquez and Jorge Navarro while Fenati was shuffled back to sixth, one spot ahead of championship leader Kent.
Oliveira lost even further ground in the closing stages to wind up eighth while John McPhee built on his maiden rostrum last weekend with tenth, right behind home favourite Jakub Kornfeil.
MOTO3 bwin GRAND PRIX ČESKÉ REPUBLIKY: RACE RESULT (12 LAPS)
|1||23. Niccolo Antonelli||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||25:56.866|
|2||33. Enea Bastianini||Honda||Junior Team Gresini Moto3||+0.152|
|3||41. Brad Binder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+0.376|
|4||7. Efren Vazquez||Honda||Leopard Racing||+0.540|
|5||9. Jorge Navarro||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+0.560|
|6||5. Romano Fenati||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+0.821|
|7||52. Danny Kent||Honda||Leopard Racing||+1.179|
|8||44. Miguel Oliveira||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+1.188|
|9||84. Jakub Kornfeil||KTM||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||+1.420|
|10||17. John McPhee||Honda||Saxoprint-RTG||+3.385|
|11||88. Jorge Martin||Mahindra||Mapfre Mahindra Team||+5.751|
|12||21. Francesco Bagnaia||Mahindra||Mapfre Mahindra Team||+5.846|
|13||16. Andrea Migno||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+5.910|
|14||58. Juanfran Guevara||Mahindra||Mapfre Mahindra Team||+6.173|
|15||65. Philipp Oettl||KTM||Schedl GP Racing||+6.268|
|16||40. Darryn Binder||Mahindra||Outox Reset Drink Team||+7.648|
|17||2. Remy Gardner||Mahindra||CIP||+7.702|
|18||11. Livio Loi||Honda||RW Racing GP||+8.207|
|19||48. Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Husqvarna||Husqvarna Factory Laglisse||+14.302|
|20||24. Tatsuki Suzuki||Mahindra||CIP||+16.013|
|21||12. Matteo Ferrari||Mahindra||San Carlo Team Italia||+16.127|
|22||63. Zulfahmi Khairuddin||KTM||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||+16.742|
|23||6. Maria Herrera||Husqvarna||Husqvarna Factory Laglisse||+16.927|
|24||29. Stefano Manzi||Mahindra||San Carlo Team Italia||+18.967|
|25||19. Alessandro Tonucci||Mahindra||Outox Reset Drink Team||+31.460|
|26||98. Karel Hanika||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+37.086|
|27||95. Jules Danilo||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||+1:01.665|
|NC||86. Kevin Hanus||Honda||Team Hanusch||+3 Laps|
|NC||10. Alexis Masbou||Honda||Saxoprint-RTG||+4 Laps|
|NC||20. Fabio Quartararo||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+5 Laps|
|NC||32. Isaac Vinales||KTM||RBA Racing Team||+11 Laps|
|NS||97. Maximilian Kappler||FTR Honda||Saxoprint-RTG||Non Starter|
|NS||76. Hiroki Ono||Honda||Leopard Racing||Non Starter|
|NS||55. Andrea Locatelli||Honda||Junior Team Gresini Moto3||Non Starter|
|NS||91. Gabriel Rodrigo||KTM||RBA Racing Team||Non Starter|
|NS||31. Niklas Ajo||KTM||RBA Racing Team||Non Starter|