Khairul Idham Pawi produced one of the great Moto3 performances to take his first Grand Prix victory in treacherous conditions at Termas de Rio Hondo. The 17 year old rookie became the first ever Malaysian winner in any class with a stunning breakaway ride, pulling clear on a damp track to win by 26 seconds ahead of Jorge Navarro.
Heavy morning rain left a sodden race track for the pre-race warm-up and Pawi was dominant, topping the timesheets by 1.5 seconds, but that still didn’t prepare anyone for what followed in the race itself. Much of the circuit remained damp but a dry line was emerging by the time the race got underway with all-but one rider starting on slicks but Pawi appeared to be riding on a different track to the rest, opening up a sizeable lead over Livio Loi, the one rider to gamble on wets.
As conditions moved towards the dry tyres, Loi gradually fell back with Pawi pulling out a 15 second lead within six laps. The Belgian rider held onto P2 until the eighth lap when the slick-shod Navarro breezed past but Pawi was now completely out of reach, 20 seconds to the good.
Navarro actually his hands full with another Malaysian rookie as Adam Norrodin shadowed the Spaniard in the battle for second. On the approach to turn five on the last lap, the Drive M7 SIC rider slipstreamed past but Navarro refused to give up, regaining the place at the penultimate corner as Norrodin high-sided his Honda. The heartbroken rookie pushed his machine across the finish line to salvage some points in eleventh but a maiden podium had slipped away.
A first win was in little doubt for Pawi who crossed the line 26 seconds clear of the dramatic fight for second, won by Navarro. Brad Binder inherited third to take the championship lead while Andrea Locatelli edged out Leopard teammate Joan Mir for fourth, despite starting 20th on the grid. Hiroki Ono was sixth ahead of John McPhee who took full advantage of the slippery conditions while Jorge Martin took eighth for Aspar.
Jakub Kornfeil finished ninth after winning a close battle with Qatar winner Niccolo Antonelli while Loi’s tyre gamble backfired as he slipped out of the points altogether.
Moto3 Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina (Race Result)
|1||89. Khairul Idham Pawi||Honda||Honda Team Asia||41:35.452||25|
|2||9. Jorge Navarro||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+26.170||20|
|3||41. Brad Binder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+30.060||16|
|4||55. Andrea Locatelli||KTM||Leopard Racing||+30.339||13|
|5||36. Joan Mir||KTM||Leopard Racing||+30.506||11|
|6||76. Hiroki Ono||Honda||Honda Team Asia||+30.736||10|
|7||17. John McPhee||Peugeot||Peugeot MC Saxoprint||+32.493||9|
|8||88. Jorge Martin||Mahindra||ASPAR MAHINDRA Team Moto3||+40.596||8|
|9||84. Jakub Kornfeil||Honda||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||+45.667||7|
|10||23. Niccolo Antonelli||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||+45.893||6|
|11||7. Adam Norrodin||Honda||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||+46.173||5|
|12||58. Juanfran Guevara||KTM||RBA Racing Team||+51.434||4|
|13||20. Fabio Quartararo||KTM||Leopard Racing||+57.893||3|
|14||6. Maria Herrera||KTM||Team Laglisse||+1:05.983||2|
|15||65. Philipp Oettl||KTM||Schedl GP Racing||+1:08.426||1|
|16||11. Livio Loi||Honda||RW Racing GP BV||+1:10.165|
|17||33. Enea Bastianini||Honda||Gresini Racing Moto3||+1:11.664|
|18||8. Nicolo Bulega||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+1:11.791|
|19||19. Gabriel Rodrigo||KTM||RBA Racing Team||+1:12.151|
|20||5. Romano Fenati||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+1:12.270|
|21||10. Alexis Masbou||Peugeot||Peugeot MC Saxoprint||+1:12.382|
|22||64. Bo Bendsneyder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+1:12.522|
|23||21. Francesco Bagnaia||Mahindra||ASPAR MAHINDRA Team Moto3||+1:18.884|
|24||98. Karel Hanika||Mahindra||Platinum Bay Real Estate||+1:25.115|
|25||4. Fabio di Giannantonio||Honda||Gresini Racing Moto3||+1:31.975|
|26||95. Jules Danilo||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||+1:38.400|
|27||24. Tatsuki Suzuki||Mahindra||CIP-Unicom Starker||+1:38.784|
|28||43. Stefano Valtulini||Mahindra||3570 Team Italia||+1:39.051|
|29||16. Andrea Migno||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+1:44.035|
|30||40. Darryn Binder||Mahindra||Platinum Bay Real Estate||+1 Lap|
|31||77. Lorenzo Petrarca||Mahindra||3570 Team Italia||+1 Lap|
|32||3. Fabio Spiranelli||Mahindra||CIP-Unicom Starker||+1 Lap|
|NC||44. Aron Canet||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+3 Laps|