Estrella Galicia Aron Canet recovered from a trip onto the grass and clawed back a three-second gap to take victory in a thrilling Moto3 race at the Assen MotoGP round that saw series leader Joan Mir go from leading to ninth place in a handful of corners on the last lap.
Mir had a fraction of a second advantage at the back of the circuit but made a small error and was then pushed and barged back through the pack while canny Aron Canet moved into second and then nipped past Romano Fenati on the brakes at the Geert Timmer chicane to take top spot by 0.035s.
“I’ve always said that this circuit is one of my favourites, along with Le Mans and Austin, and I have shown that with victory today. At the beginning of the race I was a little far back, but I was able to reach the first group again and maintain a good strategy from start to finish,” said Canet.
“I was able to set myself up very well for the last lap. After overtaking Joan Mir, Fenati got past me, but I planned to take advantage of his slipstream to get the lead on the last corner and it was perfect. This race has increased my self-esteem; I dedicate the victory to my team, as I greatly appreciate the great work they’ve done throughout the weekend.”
Fenati had come through from 15th place on the grid, carving his way to fifth on lap one while Team British Talent’s McPhee started four places further back. The Scotsman had to get himself into the second group and then just go with it as the pack began to catch the leading group and make it 11 riders vying for the lead.
McPhee went from fourth to the lead with five laps to go, passing Fenati, Mir and Marcos Ramirez to take the lead.
As is now normal in the final laps of the tiddler class, there was bumping and barging, and Jorge Martin was the first victim with five laps left as he put a pass on Marcos Ramirez but clipped his right handlebar, running well wide and re-joining at the back of the pack.
It took some work for the Gresini man to get back through but he put in some slick moves and fought through to fourth place, two-tenths behind the leader. Jules Danilo was another man who came from way down and Rivacold Snipers man looked to have podium pace but had to settle for fifth.
Mir and McPhee had a small gap with three laps left, the Spaniard taking the lead with three left at Hoge Heide but the Oban rider pushed back past at the Timmer chicane. Canet came through to nick top spot from McPhee but then it all kicked off with paint-swapping happened from first to 11th.
Ramirez had to settle for sixth, one ahead of Gabriel Rodrigo with Tatsuki Suzuki, Mir and Nico Bulega completing the top ten. Hometown hero Bo Bendsneyder had been in contention all through the clash but was pushed wide by Suzuki with seven to go.
He fought back but then, as they exited Timmer on the last lap, the Dutchman collided with Rodrigo and crossed the line just separated from his bike and was classified as a non-finisher, which promoted Bulega into the top ten.