Leopard’s Dennis Foggia claimed his second Moto3 victory of the year after fending off Sergio Garcia and the determined efforts of Romano Fenati in the Dutch GP at Assen.
The Italian secured his team’s 30th win in the Moto3 class with Fenati celebrating his boss, Max Biaggi’s 50th birthday with a hard fought podium after recovering from two long lap penalties.
Championship leader, Pedro Acosta, showcased equally impressive skills on his KTM once again, to recover from 22nd on the opening lap, after spending a night in hospital, to finish fourth at the flag. John McPhee completing Sunday’s opening race in sixth.
The lightweight class was hit with a raft of sanctions as the 22-lap race prepared on Sunday morning. Lorenzo Fellon, Andi Izdihar, Joel Kelso, Yuki Kunii, Jaume Masia and Takuma Matsuyama each received ride through penalties - for riding slowly and causing a disturbance at the first two corners after leaving pitlane in a group for Q1 - Matsuyama having already collected a long lap for riding slowly in the path of another during FP2. Riccardo Rossi was issued a pitlane start for participating in on-track activity at Assen within the 14 days running up to the race weekend while Ryusei Yamanaka received a long lap penalty for causing a crash in the GermanGP. Sterilgarda Max teammates Fenati and Adrian Fernandez each face a double long lap penalty after riding in an irresponsible manner during Friday’s FP1 followed by an altercation between the pair in the pit box upon their return.
All three riders involved in Saturday morning’s dramatic last corner crash - Acosta, Stefano Nepa and Rossi - were declared fit to continue after yesterday’s hospital visits and further medical checks this morning, with the championship leader finishing fifth in morning warm up.
Jeremy Alcoba lined up on pole as the grid prepared, Fenati and Foggia joining him on the front row with Acosta launching from 18th but as the lights went out it was Fenati who took the holeshot. Alcoba sat second from Garcia and Gabriel Rodrigo as Foggia dropped to fifth. McPhee falling to 14th on the opening lap as Acosta suffering in the mid-pack to 22nd.
Garcia was up to second from Foggia, Rodrigo and Xavier Artigas as lap two unfolded and the multiple penalties were officially issued. Fenati took his first as lap three began, Foggia taking over at the top as the Husqvarna returned in ninth. Artigas challenged for second as Binder advanced to fifth, the pole-man now sitting sixth from Kaito Toba, as Tatsuki Suzuki - who missed warm up due to a positive, then negative PCR test - advanced to ninth.
Garcia was in charge as the fifth lap began, Acosta having recovered to 11th, narrowly behind McPhee as the pair ran impressive pace, the rookie slicing through the pack as he continued his climb, finding ninth moments later with Andrea Migno ahead.
Binder advanced to third at the end of lap six, Foggia taking the lead as Suzuki too was on a charge, in fifth. The leading group covering 13 riders with Niccolò Antonelli at the back as Garcia returned to the lead taking Binder with him.
McPhee was up to ninth after as many laps as he battled with Acosta, Fenati advancing on the pair for eighth before taking Alcoba for seventh, both penalties now dispatched and Artigas the next in his sighs.
Foggia was back out front on lap 10, Binder firmly on his wheels from Garcia and Fenati as Acosta had a moment at turn five, Toba checking up at the same corner and resulting in Migno and Antonelli colliding into the gravel.
McPhee was up to seventh at the halfway stage, his teammate running second as Foggia continued to lead. Suzuki battling Fenati for fourth as Garcia took Binder for second. The Scot continued his progress to join his fellow Petronas in fourth and fifth before scalping him for the position with 10 to go.
Fenati was back at the sharp end as lap 14 began, sitting second from Foggia as the Italians repeatedly battled for the lead, Garcia joining the party next time around. Fernandez becoming the latest casualty of the TT circuit after crashing out at rapid pace on the exit of turn 15.
The lead group was down to nine with seven laps to go, Foggia still in charge with Acosta up to sixth as he advanced on the Petronas pair ahead. The KTM rookie setting the fastest lap of the race on his 16th attempt.
Contact with Binder saw Garcia drop to fourth, Fenati himself pushing through on the South African for second as Foggia remained two-tenths clear at the front and Acosta saved another dramatic moment from fifth.
Fenati returned to the lead with four laps to go, Foggia making a mistake as he dropped to second before recovering almost immediately, Binder choosing his moment to strike as he swept through from fourth to second as lap 19 reached its conclusion.
Foggia pulled the pin with three to go, Acosta advancing into the front group and up to fourth as Binder ran wide after a moment in the final sector before the top-three pulled away once again.
It was Foggia, from Garcia and Fenati as the final lap began, Suzuki heading Acosta in fourth and fifth with Binder and McPhee completing the top-seven. The KTM challenged the Sic58 rider at the mid-point of the final lap, with Binder taking them both as the chequered flag came into view.
Foggia secured the victory as Garcia pushed hard, 0.078s the gap across the line with Fenati settling for the final podium position, Binder looked to claim fourth from Acosta and Suzuki before the South African was demoted three positions after cutting track limits on the final lap, McPhee leapfrogging his teammate after the flag as he was dropped to seventh.
Rodrigo lead group two, over seven-seconds adrift of the Petronas ahead, with Artigas and Alcoba completing the top-10. Nepa, Izan Guevara, Toba, Antonelli and Deniz Öncü collecting the final points.