Leopard’s Dennis Foggia completed a dominating day at Buriram as he led from lights to flag in the Moto3 Thai Grand Prix.
Sterilgarda Husqvarna’s Ayumu Sasaki and Sic58’s Riccardo Rossi completed the podium celebrations after a late-race battle, with the trio over six seconds clear of the pack across the line.
Having topped morning warm-up, Foggia lined up at the head of the lightweight class grid as the 22-lap hot and humid race prepared, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jaume Masia and Sasaki alongside. Championship leader Izan Guevara sat in 11th position on the Aspar GasGas with teammate Sergio Garcia further back, in 20th. British riders John McPhee, Scott Ogden and Josh Whatley started 8th, 22nd and 27th respectively.
Foggia secured the holeshot as the lights went out, MTA’s Stefano Nepa up to second in the initial action as Masia and Diogo Moreira fought for fourth. Drama finding Garcia on the deck at turn 12 as the opening lap concluded after a highside for Adrian Fernandez.
Foggia pulled a gap on the pursuing pack half way round the second lap as a seven-rider group battled for the runner-up position. Sasaki in the hotseat and defending hard from Nepa as David Muñoz joined the fight on the BOE. CIP Green Power’s Kaito Toba suffering two crashes in the opening laps with the second ruling him out of the remainder of the race.
The four-way battle for third found Masia, Moreira and Muñoz dropping Rossi as the race continued, McPhee crashing out at turn five before rejoining at the back.
Muñoz was up to third and breaking free of the rest as lap seven unfolded, Tatsuki Suzuki suffering a technical retirement moments later. Rossi dragging the second group of three back into contention as the leading pack returned to six.
Further back Guevara headed his own seven-strong fight for seventh as Foggia defended hard out front. Masia beginning to drop off the back of the commanding quintet at the halfway stage.
Garcia sat in the middle of the second group with 12 laps remaining despite his early fall and running a lap down. VisionTrack’s Ogden fighting for the final points position as he tackled CIP’s Joel Kelso, CFMoto’s Xavi Artigas and Sic58’s Lorenzo Fellon.
Rossi was up to second next time around before Muñoz, Sasaki and Moreira dropped him back to fifth, the battle allowing Foggia to pull a half-second gap out front. Tech3’s Deniz Öncü collected a long lap penalty for track limits with ten to go as Sasaki briefly dispatched the Italian for the lead after the Leopard Honda ran wide at turn 12.
Regrouped down the back straight, Foggia returned to command with a four-tenth lead. Garcia brought into pitlane before returning to the action, this time clear of the group.
Rossi ran second with eighth to go as Sasaki and Muñoz remained in check. Masia dropping out of contention as the second group swallowed him up after contact with Guevara. The KTM finding himself on the back of the top ten as the series leader maintained control from sixth.
The leading trio crossed the line over five seconds clear with four to go as Munoz began to fade. Guevara up to fifth as Moreira found himself dropped to ninth.
Sasaki took the advantage as the next lap began, Rossi likewise dispatching his countryman before the positions shuffled again with Foggia back in charge. Rivacold Snipers’ Andrea Migno and Muñoz battling hard behind for fourth.
Foggia secured his fourth win of the year by a commanding 1.5s lead, from Sasaki and Rossi. The battle for fourth finding seven riders inseparable with repeated contract through the final lap, Nepa winning out from Guevara, Migno, Moreira, Masia and Muñoz with Ryusei Yamanaka completing the top ten. Kelso, Carlos Tatay, Artigas and Ogden collected the final points with Once the first to finish unrewarded.