Leopard’s home hero Dennis Foggia claimed his third Misano World Circuit Moto3 victory in a row on Sunday morning.
Victorious in five of the past six Moto3 races on Italian soil, Foggia celebrated a dramatic and hard-fought win after defending from Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jaume Masia and Gaviota GasGas Aspar’s Izan Guevara. Tech3’s pole-sitter Deniz Öncü narrowly missing out, in fourth, after battling the pain barrier throughout.
The lightweight drama fired up a little earlier than planned as VisionTrack’s Josh Whatley took a trip through the gravel on the sighting lap on his way to the grid. The now 17-year-old lining up 29th with Australian’s Harrison Voight and Joel Kelso either side on the 10th row.
With the anticipated thunderstorms failing to materialise on Sunday morning, Red Bull Tech3’s Öncü headed the Moto3 grid for the first of the day’s race action. Fellow KTM rider Daniel Holgado and MT Helmets’ Diogo Moreira completed the front row with championship leader Sergio Garcia back on row five. Having confirmed his promotion to Moto2 for next season, Leopard’s Dennis Foggia led Sterilgarda Husqvarna’s John McPhee from seventh and eighth as the Italian strove for his third consecutive victory in front of a home crowd. Scott Ogden sitting 22nd for the 23-lap race.
Öncü maintained control as the lights went out, Max Racing’s Ayumu Sasaki and Avintia’s Nicola Fabio Carraro crashing out at turn four with Aspar’s Guevara into second on the opening lap, teammate Garcia under investigation after contact with Adrian Fernandez in the opening melee.
Guevara hit the front as the two rookies bickered for position narrowly behind, Öncü dropped to sixth as Foggia and David Muñoz capitalised with McPhee going backwards, to 15th. Rivacold Snipers’ Andrea Migno was the next to succumb, at his home circuit, with a turn one crash on lap three.
Foggia was in podium contention next time around as he trailed Moreira with Guevara quarter of a second out front. Holgado, Muñoz, Öncü and Garcia running fourth to seventh with Leopard’s Tatsuki Suzuki holding off KTM’s Jaume Masia at the back of the leading group. The class leader collecting the rear wheel of the Tech3 and running off track before rejoining in the path of MTA’s Stefano Nepa. The race continued to deteriorate for the Aspar rider with a turn four slide next time around as his disastrous morning came to an early end. A nasty crash for Mario Aji finding the Honda Team Asia rider in the gravel mid-way through lap five.
Guevara’s lead was almost half a second as he avoided the chaos out front. Foggia looking to reel him in from second with Holgado holding on for the final podium position. Moreira dropped to eighth with Masia moving his way through the pack to sit sixth by lap seven before the KTM found himself on the back of the podium as the next revolution concluded with the fastest lap of the race so far.
McPhee was just adrift of the top ten as the tenth lap began. Local rider Riccardo Rossi narrowly ahead on the Sic58 machine as another Italian took charge overall. Foggia put his head down as he attempted to break free of Guevara’s challenge, the Aspar rider refusing to give up with Holgado and Masia maintaining their hold as the leading quartet looked inseparable. Teammate Suzuki leading the second group and facing his own challenges from Öncü, Muñoz and Moreira.
McPhee took charge of group three as he attempted to bridge the two-second gap inherited. Nepa, Rossi, Ryusei Yamanaka and Ivan Ortola now in his slipstream and instantly looking to hit back, with the Scot dropped from 9th to 13th moments later.
Nine to go and Foggia continued to control as the leading group grew to six. Öncü and Suzuki joining the fight at the front as Masia took his shot for the final podium position. Garcia black flagged for irresponsible rider after rejoining the action in the middle of the pack and ignoring blue flag commands.
An intense battle began between the top four as the GasGas bettered Foggia before the Leopard hit back. Masia up to second from Guevara and Holgado with Öncü and Suzuki safe behind.
Öncü was in the hunt for the podium as the final three laps began, the Turk digging deep despite his injured shoulder as he broke the riders behind him and place himself firmly in contention. Foggia picked up a track limits warning as the race counted down. Guevara briefly taking charge once again before the Italian returned to command.
Foggia, Masia and Öncü held the podium positions with two to go, CFMoto’s Carlos Tatay crashing out at turn one as McPhee rejoined the top ten to run eighth in the final lap.
A brave move up the inside briefly saw Öncü up to second before the duo behind struck back and demoted him to fourth. Foggia crossing the line for his third victory in a row to the delight of the home crowd with Masia and Guevara holding off a disappointed Öncü for the final podium celebrations. The Aspar rider taking control of the title standings in the process following his teammate’s disapointing day.
Holgado led Suzuki home for fifth and sixth with Moreira heading the group behind from seventh. Ortola, McPhee and Nepa completed the top ten while Rossi, Muñoz, Yamanaka, CIP’s Kelso and Avintia’s Elia Bartolini collected the final points. VisionTrack’s Whatley and Ogden met the flag in 24th and 25th respectively after the latter was forced to pit midway through the race before returning to the action at the back.