Enea Bastianini finally ended his wait for a second career victory by defeating Brad Binder in a thrilling last lap battle at Motegi. The Italian got the better of the newly crowned world champion to become Moto3’s ninth different winner of the season, putting him in pole position to end the campaign as championship runner-up.
Bastianini went into today’s race four points behind Jorge Navarro in the race for second spot but the Spaniard didn’t make it too far into the Grand Prix, making contact with Joan Mir at the very first corner and crashing out. The Estrella Galicia rider was collected by Gabriel Rodrigo and John McPhee, suffering a dislocated shoulder in the process, and his participation in the remaining flyaway races is now in doubt.
Binder grabbed a first lap lead from polesitter Andrea Migno and while the Sky VR46 rider disputed second place with Bastianini for lap after lap, the world champion calmly led the way. With six laps remaining, Binder enjoyed a 0.7s lead but before the slipstream was broken, Bastianini finally broke away from the pack behind, enabling him to launch a last lap assault on the South African.
Under braking for the downhill turn eleven, Bastianini dived for the inside and judged his move to perfection, easing Binder aside and although the KTM was locked into his slipstream on the run to the finish line, Bastianini held on to win by 0.017s.
Migno fell into the clutches of home favourite Hiroki Ono and when a last lap move at turn eight backfired, sending the pole-man to the floor, Ono was clear to claim his maiden Moto3 rostrum. In a heartbreaking development post-race though, the Team Asia Honda failed to meet the minimum weight, handing the podium place to Nicolo Bulega. Just behind, Philipp Oettl pipped Fabio Di Giannantonio for fourth.
Francesco Bagnaia ran with the leading group early on before fading to sixth while Livio Loi beat the Leopard KTMs of Fabio Quartararo and Joan Mir for seventh.
Moto3 Motul Grand Prix of Japan (Amended Race Result)
|1||33. Enea Bastianini||Honda||Gresini Racing Moto3||39:24.273||25|
|2||41. Brad Binder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+0.017||20|
|3||8. Nicolo Bulega||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+4.002||16|
|4||65. Philipp Oettl||KTM||Schedl GP Racing||+5.119||13|
|5||4. Fabio Di Giannantonio||Honda||Gresini Racing Moto3||+6.288||11|
|6||21. Francesco Bagnaia||Mahindra||Gaviota Mahindra Aspar||+7.739||10|
|7||11. Livio Loi||Honda||RW Racing GP BV||+7.749||9|
|8||20. Fabio Quartararo||KTM||Leopard Racing||+8.344||8|
|9||36. Joan Mir||KTM||Leopard Racing||+8.880||7|
|10||23. Niccolo Antonelli||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||+9.037||6|
|11||48. Lorenzo Dalla Porta||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+12.332||5|
|12||7. Adam Norrodin||Honda||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||+13.525||4|
|13||84. Jakub Kornfeil||Honda||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||+18.818||3|
|14||12. Albert Arenas||Peugeot||Peugeot MC Saxoprint||+21.263||2|
|15||24. Tatsuki Suzuki||Mahindra||CIP-Unicom Starker||+21.291||1|
|16||95. Jules Danilo||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||+21.727|
|17||42. Marcos Ramirez||Mahindra||Platinum Bay Real Estate||+34.475|
|18||64. Bo Bendsneyder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+39.950|
|19||89. Khairul Idham Pawi||Honda||Honda Team Asia||+40.177|
|20||3. Fabio Spiranelli||Mahindra||CIP-Unicom Starker||+46.804|
|21||77. Lorenzo Petrarca||Mahindra||3570 Team Italia||+49.085|
|22||40. Darryn Binder||Mahindra||Platinum Bay Real Estate||+52.570|
|23||6. Maria Herrera||KTM||MH6 Team||+52.682|
|24||16. Andrea Migno||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+1:16.774|
|25||58. Juanfran Guevara||KTM||RBA Racing Team||+1:22.102|
|26||13. Shizuka Okazaki||Honda||UQ & TELURU KOHARA RT||+1:51.623|
|DQ||76. Hiroki Ono||Honda||Honda Team Asia||Disqualified|
|NC||88. Jorge Martin||Mahindra||Gaviota Mahindra Aspar||+10 Laps|
|NC||44. Aron Canet||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+11 Laps|
|NC||55. Andrea Locatelli||KTM||Leopard Racing||+16 Laps|
|NC||43. Stefano Valtulini||Mahindra||3570 Team Italia||+17 Laps|
|NC||9. Jorge Navarro||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+20 Laps|
|NC||17. John McPhee||Peugeot||Peugeot MC Saxoprint||+20 Laps|
|NC||19. Gabriel Rodrigo||KTM||RBA Racing Team||+20 Laps|
|NS||15. Rei Sato||Honda||41 Planning IodaRacing Japan||Injured|