Valresa GasGas Aspar’s Izan Guevara claimed victory in the Moto3 Catalan GP after a dominant late performance at Barcelona-Catalunya.
All eyes, however, were on a new rookie sensation as BOE SKX’s David Muñoz put up a stellar fight to second on just his second race in the championship. Leopard’s Tatsuki Suzuki completed the Parc Fermé celebrations in third after denying series leader Sergio Garcia in the closing stages.
The lightweight grid lined up behind Dennis Foggia’s Leopard with Mugello poleman Deniz Öncü and almost-victor Guevara alongside. Sic58 dominating the second row with Ryusei Yamanaka splitting Lorenzo Fellon and Riccardo Rossi on the sole MT Helmets KTM.
21 laps got underway with Foggia maintaining his advantage out front. Guevara bettering the Tech3 as Öncü dropped to fifth, Rossi and Garcia capitalising on the Turk’s misfortune. Sterilgarda Husqvarna’s John McPhee ran tenth before his previous replacement now stand-in teammate David Salvador overtook for position. VisionTrack’s Scott Ogden running 13th by lap two.
Garcia battled his GasGas teammate as the second lap played out, the two Aspar machines continuing to swap places as Foggia pushed hard out front. Rossi leading the best of the rest charge from the second Leopard of Suzuki with Öncü and Yamanaka in check.
Suzuki was into podium contention next time around as Ogden began to drop down the field, to 23rd. McPhee and Salvador climbing the group, to eighth and ninth, as Suzuki took charge overall. Guevara followed the Japanese rider through on the leading Italian with Garcia mirroring the move moments later. Foggia off the podium and running fourth after as many laps.
The leading quartet continued to bicker as the race bedded in, the places flickering as Guevara took control from Garcia with Suzuki heading Foggia and Salvador. Öncü ran fifth, less than a tenth separating him from the Max machine with Yamanaka, Jaume Masia, McPhee and David Muñoz completing the rapid top ten.
Rivacold Snipers’ Andrea Migno continued his difficult Catalan weekend from 21st in the hard-charging train, the Italian just 2.4 seconds adrift of the lead as Suzuki returned to the front. A heartbroken Foggia retiring from the action for the second consecutive weekend with a technical issue at turn ten.
Suzuki led from Garcia and Öncü as Guevara dropped to fourth. Yamanaka and Salvador remaining in the hunt from fifth and sixth as Masia and Muñoz circulated narrowly behind. The MT Helmets rider attempting an ambitious move before being shuffled back down to tenth.
The impressive run was over for Salvador as lap nine concluded as the Spaniard crashed out as a trio tangled at turn ten. Yamanaka able to rejoin after tagging the back of the unsuspecting Husqvarna, KTM Ajo Daniel Holgado skittled out in the aftermath. The drama continued as Honda Team Asia lost both riders from the race in the same lap as Mario Aji and Taiyo Furusato suffered separate falls. Track limit warnings beginning to yield penalties as Josh Whatley was handed the first long lap before the teenager retired three laps later.
Championship rookie Muñoz took the lead on just his second race of his Moto3 career with ten laps to go. Guevara spoiling the 16-year-old’s shine slightly as he demoted him back to second with the second Tech3 of Adrian Fernandez up to third. The BOE star was back in charge next time around as Suzuki dropped though the leading group to sixth. Öncü and Masia narrowly ahead with McPhee behind before Fernandez took his turn in the spotlight out front.
The Tech3 rider’s reign was short-lived as the shuffles continued and the action fired up. Suzuki back in domination from Öncü and Masia with Munoz and Guevara heading Fernandez in the top six. Migno was issued a long lap penalty with the Snipers rider cutting the line before entering pitlane to retire at the end of the lap. Fellon the next recipient as the penalties kept coming.
Guevara returned to the front with six to go, half second clear of Garcia and Öncü before Masia and Muñoz displaced the Tech3 for fifth. McPhee dropping from sixth to tenth as the race wound down.
Suzuki looked to spoil the all-Spanish top four before being relegated back to sixth. CIP Green Power’s Kaito Toba up to seventh from Fernandez, Carlos Tatay and Rossi before the Japanese rider crashed out at turn ten.
The Aspar riders held station for a one-two as Guevara maintained his six-tenth lead over Garcia, Muñoz aiming for his maiden podium three-tenths adrift with a further half-second breathing space back to Suzuki as the last three laps began. The Leopard was on a charge, however, as the gap quickly disappeared. Muñoz quick to defend as he pushed the pace to reel in the duo ahead.
The final lap saw Muñoz through on the championship leader with Suzuki doing likewise moments later. Guevara holding a near-second lead out front as the podium challengers continued to squabble. Contact raising the stakes in the final two sectors as Guevara claimed the victory he so nearly celebrated last weekend.
Muñoz secured second in his second start in World Championship racing, Suzuki clinching consecutive podiums to deny Garcia by a mere 0.051s at the line.
Öncü met the flag in fifth ahead of PruestelGP’s Tatay and McPhee while Masia, Rossi and Fernandez rounded out the top ten. Xavi Artigas, Joel Kelso, Matteo Bertelle, Ogden and Fellon completed the points finishers. The two Sic58 riders were demoted after the flag, to 11th and 20th respectively, a track limits infringement for Rossi with Fellon failing to dispatch an earlier long lap penalty.