Francesco Bagnaia made history by claiming his maiden Grand Prix victory at Assen, the first ever win for Indian manufacturer Mahindra. The 19 year old won a sensational scrap against four of his fellow countrymen as Italian riders filled the top five positions, Bagnaia taking the honours in a photo finish ahead of Fabio Di Giannantonio and Andrea Migno.
In a season full of dramatic races, Moto3 delivered another classic under sunny skies in the Netherlands with thirteen riders making up the leading group. That would drop to a dozen on lap sixteen as championship leader Brad Binder made his first significant mistake of the season, losing the back end of his KTM at Ramshoek and taking a detour across the grass. The South African returned to the track safely but any hopes of a fourth win in 2016 were dashed.
Polesitter Enea Bastianini was the next to drop out of contention after tripping over Nicolo Bulega at Mandeveen but five other Italians still harboured hopes of victory heading into the last lap. Bagnaia led across the line but was quickly outdragged on the way into turn one by Niccolo Antonelli’s Honda. The Ongetta-Rivacold rider’s spell in front was equally brief though as Romano Fenati breezed past on the back straight towards Ruskenhoek.
The Sky VR46 rider maintained the lead until the fast, sweeping Ramshoek corner as his teammate Migno muscled up the inside having overtaken three riders by exceeding track limits at turn thirteen. Crucially, Bagnaia followed through and after following Migno through the Timmer chicane, the Mahindra man edged ahead on the short sprint to the finish line.
Migno crossed the line in second but his earlier overtake was deemed illegal, costing him second to Di Giannantonio who had dived past Fenati at the final chicane. Migno still secured his maiden Moto3 rostrum in third with Fenati holding off Antonelli for fourth while Jules Danilo finished an excellent sixth on the back of the group.
Nicolo Bulega had to settle for seventh after tangling with Bastianini while Joan Mir saw off home favourite Bo Bendsneyder and Estrella Galicia stand-in Lorenzo Dalla Porta for eighth. Binder meanwhile trailed home in twelfth to rescue four championship points.
Moto3 Motul TT Assen (Race Result)
[table id=1214 /]
*One-place penalty due to illegal overtake