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)
[table id=525 /]