Fenati Dominates in Japan to Keep Title Hopes Alive

by Louis Suddaby

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

15. Romano FenatiHondaMarinelli Rivacold Snipers29:22.27825
223. Niccolo AntonelliKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo+4.14620
312. Marco BezzecchiMahindraCIP+5.01316
424. Tatsuki SuzukiHondaSIC58 Squadra Corse+8.76713
544. Aron CanetHondaEstrella Galicia 0,0+12.82711
665. Philipp OettlKTMSüdmetall Schedl GP Racing+14.86510
721. Fabio Di GiannantonioHondaDel Conca Gresini Moto3+15.4829
884. Jakub KornfeilPeugeotPeugeot MC Saxoprint+15.6258
964. Bo BendsneyderKTMRed Bull KTM Ajo+15.9477
1017. John McPheeHondaBritish Talent Team+16.2166
1141. Nakarin AtiratphuvapatHondaHonda Team Asia+16.4145
128. Nicolo BulegaKTMSky Racing Team VR46+18.7834
1316. Andrea MignoKTMSky Racing Team VR46+19.0573
1442. Marcos RamirezKTMPlatinum Bay Real Estate+19.5362
1588. Jorge MartinHondaDel Conca Gresini Moto3+21.2081
1633. Enea BastianiniHondaEstrella Galicia 0,0+22.731
1736. Joan MirHondaLeopard Racing+23.879
1895. Jules DaniloHondaMarinelli Rivacold Snipers+23.935
1911. Livio LoiHondaLeopard Racing+33.663
2040. Darryn BinderKTMPlatinum Bay Real Estate+34.695
2127. Kaito TobaHondaHonda Team Asia+39.533
224. Patrik PulkkinenPeugeotPeugeot MC Saxoprint+48.473
2314. Tony ArbolinoHondaSIC58 Squadra Corse+1:30.837
2470. Tom ToparisKTMCube Racing+2:18.580
NC58. Juanfran GuevaraKTMRBA BOE Racing Team+2 Laps
NC19. Gabriel RodrigoKTMRBA BOE Racing Team+4 Laps
NC71. Ayumu SasakiHondaSIC Racing Team+4 Laps
NC7. Adam NorrodinHondaSIC Racing Team+7 Laps
NC96. Manuel PaglianiMahindraCIP+12 Laps
NC48. Lorenzo Dalla PortaMahindraMahindra Gaviota Aspar+13 Laps
NS75. Albert ArenasMahindraMahindra Gaviota AsparInjured

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