Romano Fenati ensured the Moto3 championship battle will continue on to Australia after dominating the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi. The Italian produced another wet-weather masterclass to take an unchallenged victory to close Joan Mir’s championship lead down to 55 points after the Leopard rider failed to score.
The Moto3 race was subject to a lengthy delay following an engine failure for Sky VR46’s Andrea Migno in the morning warm-up, the KTM spilling oil throughout the first half of its out lap before grinding to a halt. As a result, with the schedule so condensed, the Moto3 race was shortened by a third to thirteen laps with full points awarded.
Continuing a miserable morning for Sky VR46, polesitter Nicolo Bulega fell backwards from the start, losing fourteen places on the opening lap, as Niccolo Antonelli hit the front from Fenati and Aron Canet. Antonelli’s resistance lasted until lap three as Fenati managed to wrongfoot the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider through the fast turn 6/7/8 sequence, enabling him to take a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
Antonelli held onto second in a rare bright spot amid a season of pain for the young Italian while a disastrous season for Mahindra finally brought some joy courtesy of young Marco Bezzecchi who converted his career-best grid position into a maiden Grand Prix rostrum, just edging out home favourite Tatsuki Suzuki on the SC58 Honda.
Canet dropped to fifth ahead of Phillip Oettl who stormed through from 21st on the grid to sixth while Fabio Di Giannantonio consolidated fourth in the championship with seventh, narrowly beating the Peugeot of Jakub Kornfeil, Bo Bendsneyder and John McPhee.
As for Mir, the championship leader made scant progress from the seventh row of the grid and only crashes ahead of him lifted him up the order. Mir trailed home out of the points in seventeenth, meaning he will have to try again in Australia as he looks to wrap up the championship.
Moto3 Motul Grand Prix of Japan: Race Result
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