Tony Arbolino has kicked off his winning ways in Moto3 in the best possible way. Not only was this his maiden victory, but it was secured at his home track of Mugello.
The Milan-born rider took a crucial pole position during Saturday’s qualifying, however it was Lorenzo Dalla Porta who had led for much of the race. Arbolino was able to secure the victory thanks to a brilliant slipstream, which allowed him to sneak ahead of Dalla Porta on the line. The two Italian riders were joined on the podium by Jaume Masia.
In total, we saw over six different riders at the front of the pack, starting with Gabriel Rodrigo, who shot into the lead from second on the grid. Tatsuki Suzuki and John McPhee also enjoyed fantastic starts to the race. Suzuki quickly rose from ninth to third, whilst McPhee quickly found himself in sixth, having started seventeenth.
Suzuki’s fantastic race continued as he found himself leading the grid after a brilliant pass on Rodrigo and Arbolino. He has now lead a lap in each of the last four races. However, by the end of the same lap, Suzuki was shuffled back down the order after a moment on the straight.
With the leading group squabbling, often racing at three or four abreast, it was soon Dalla Porta who took a commanding lead over the field on his Leopard Racing machine. For much of the race, it looked as though he may be impossible to catch as he pulled out a sizable lead.
Ten laps before the chequered flag and the leading group had caught back up to Dalla Porta. He was now being put under massive pressure from a mammoth leading group of around ten bikes. In the subsequent laps, the leading group chopped and changed positions more times than you could count.
Naturally, this led to some causalities, most notably being two previous winners at Mugello, Andrea Migno and Romano Fenati, who ended up in the kitty litter together. Less than half a lap later saw Kaito Toba and Ayumu Sasaki crash on the exit of turn 3. Prior to this, on the third lap of the race, Rodrigo was the first man to crash out of the leading group, binning it on turn 4.
As the riders started the final lap, there was still no clear winner and the leading pack were jostling harder than ever to take the Italian crown. Arbolino was sitting at the front for much of the lap, before Dalla Porta snatched this from him at the Correntaio corner. However, thanks to a phenomenal slingshot out of the final corner, Arbolino was able to secure the win by only 0.029s.
Having now completed six of the nineteen rounds, the standings remain unchanged after Le Man. Aron Canet is sitting pretty at the top of the championship, with his lead over Lorenzo Dalla Porta now reduced to just three points. Niccolo Antonelli remains in third place, recovering some much needed points after his non-finish in Le Man, last time out.
After a brilliant podium this weekend, Jaume Masia is now fourth in the standings, ahead of the Italian pairing of Celestino Vietti and today’s winner, Tony Arbolino, who sit in fifth and sixth respectively.
After his non-finish today, Kaito Toba has dropped from fourth to seventh, just seven points ahead of Brit rider, John McPhee. The top ten is currently rounded out by a further two non-finsihers from today, Andrea Migno and Gabriel Rodrigo.