As is tradition, the day began with the 250cc class, with local rider, Romano Fenati beginning his home race from pole position…
If he was feeling any pressure from the Italian crowd, he showed none of it as he hooked up the start well, and retained the lead coming out of the first few corners. However, try as he might, the SKY-VR46 rider was unable to establish a gap, and a train of nearly twenty riders formed behind him. Due to the relative lack of power the bikes are capable of producing (compared to Moto2 and GP), it is almost impossible for a bike to break the tow of following riders. As such, slipstreaming and positioning is paramount to success. The results of which meant we were treated to intense close racing for the duration of the race, as the field resembled a large snake, slithering its way around the circuit.
For Fenati though, his race ended after the tenth lap, when he pulled off the track, gesticulating at the drivetrain of his bike. As it turned out, his chain had broken. His retirement ensured that the ‘curse’ of being the Moto3 pole sitter, continued. It is now 11 races and counting since the last time a rider starting from pole position, claimed victory. Spanish rider, Jorge Navarrio, also fell casualty to the relentless battling on track, when he was forced off the track at the final corner, sent sideways into the gravel trap.
The racing was fierce and unrelenting throughout. Indeed, such is the desire and desperation to win in this category, that it was a common sight to see up to eight riders abreast, diving into the tight, sweeping corner at the start of each lap. Again, the importance of slipstreaming meant that overtaking was in abundance at most corners. The sheer skill level of the riders highlighted by a lack of crashes. All the more impressive, when one considers the majority of the field is aged 19 or under.
However, it was Brad Binder for the KTM team, who took the top honours. The South African forced his way to the front of the pack early from the start, and was never dislodged from the top five positions – who would all finish within a tenth of a second from each other. Speaking to British broadcaster, BT Sport, following the race, Binder described his win as “probably the hardest race of my life”. That, will probably make it all the sweeter.
Whilst the home crowd may have been denied a local winner, they still finished with plenty to cheer about. Italian rookie rider, Fabio di Giannantoni secured the second place on the podium, whilst fellow compatriot, Francesco Bagnaia, rounded out the top three. The latter continuing to back up his maiden victory earlier in the year, with his third rostrum of the championship.
1: Brad Binder – Red-Bull KTM Ajo – 39:49.382
2: Fabio di Giannantoni – Gresini Racing – +0.038
3: Francesco Bagnaia – ASPAR Mahindra – +0.069
4: Niccolo Antonelli – Ongetta-Rivercold – +0.075
5: Fabio Quattararo – Leopard Racing – +0.079
Full results available at http://www.motogp.com