Leopard’s Dennis Foggia claimed his second victory in seven days to head a triple home podium in Misano after a dramatic Moto3 San Marino GP on Sunday morning.
It looked to be a done deal for pole-sitter Romano Fenati after the Sterilgarda rider carved out a dominant lead before disaster struck on lap 14. Niccolò Antonelli and Andrea Migno completing the celebrations in front of the proud Italian fans.
The Moto3 race began amid controversy after Yuki Kunii’s disqualification from the race was upheld despite an appeal by the Honda Team Asia bosses. The Japanese rider was deemed to have been ‘riding irresponsibly and with deliberate actions’ that caused the crash of Alberto Surra at turn 11 during Saturday’s FP3. Gabriel Rodrigo declared unfit for this and maybe the next race weekend due to a broken left arm.
Fenati launched from pole and at the head of an all-Italian front row as the 23-lap race got underway, John McPhee starting from 19th on the grid. Antonelli looked to take the initial holeshot but Fenati hit back almost instantly to retain control as the opening lap unfolded. Foggia bettering Migno for third and fourth with Jaume Masia holding the top five. A difficult part saw McPhee caught in the group and circulating 22nd while Petronas teammate Darryn Binder fared better, rising to eighth and ahead of Pedro Acosta, by the end of lap one.
Elia Bartolini’s impressive wildcard came to an abrupt end at turn four on lap two as the Italian crashed out.
Fenati was looking strong out front as he built a half-second gap as lap three got going, Xavi Artigas challenging Masia for fifth as Sergio Garcia bettered his title rival in the battle for eighth. The KTM rider setting the fastest lap of the race so far as the pace increased.
Migno advanced on Foggia for third as Binder did likewise on Artigas for sixth as lap five played out, the Leopard riders both dropping as the lap concluded to sit fifth and eighth respectively.
The gap was up to six-tenths on lap seven as Fenati upped the pace with another fastest lap of the race. McPhee himself improving as he rose to 16th with Filip Salac, Tatsuki Suzuki and Carlos Tatay ahead.
Garcia was on the move further up as he made his way past Binder for sixth, Acosta struggling three places back and over a second adrift of the leading group.
The GasGas rider continued his climb on lap nine as he entered the top five, Foggia fighting back to third before a mistake from Antonelli saw the Avintia drop to seventh, with the Leopard gifted second in the aftermath. Artigas was the first to receive a long lap penalty as he dropped from the edge of the top 10 to outside the points.
The previous drama saw Fenati comfortably in the lead with a near-two-second gap as lap 11 began, McPhee regrouping in 12th at the halfway stage but with his own two-second gap now to bridge.
Disaster struck with nine laps to go as Fenati crashed out of a dominant lead at turn 15. Foggia collecting the rewards with Migno and Garcia now on for podium contention. That was until Binder saw his chance, the South African capturing third next time around.
Garcia struck back with seven to go and Masia joined the fun moments later, Binder dropping to fifth narrowly ahead of Antonelli as the top six fight heated up in the closing stages. The final third finding both Salac and Artigas retiring from the action.
Foggia maintained control as the race neared its confusion, Antonelli the biggest climber as he made his way into the top four with four to go, and back on to the podium one lap later. Masia was the next to challenge Garcia but the Aspar rider hit back to retain fourth.
The Avintia was back in second by the penultimate lap with eight-tenths separating him from the leader, Migno, Garcia and Masia circulating together as Binder sat three-seconds adrift in sixth.
The final lap saw contact between Garcia and Masia with the pair disrupted from their podium charge, Antonelli reeling in Foggia but he was just out of time. The Leopard rider claiming his second win in a week, this time by half a second, to lead an all-Italian podium at home. Antonelli and Migno joined the celebrations with Garcia and Masia competing the top five.
Binder held sixth at the flag from Acosta, Tatay, Stefano Nepa and Ayumu Sasaki. Riccardo Rossi, Izan Guevara, McPhee, Kaito Toba and Suzuki collecting the final championship points.