Marco Bezzecchi snatched victory in the final corner to cut the lead atop the Moto3 World Championship to a single point after Jorge Martin crashed out of the race in Motegi.
Starting from third and fourth respectively both Bezzecchi and Martin got away in the leading group to try and minimise the risks for the both. The nature of the circuit in Motegi promotes close Moto3 racing with long straights and tight corners.
In a leading group with the likes of Red Bull KTM’s Darryn Binder, Leopard Racings Lorenzo Dalla Porta and CIP’s John McPhee, Martin and Bezzecchi both took turns leading the race.
After his win in Buriram two weeks ago, Fabio Di Giannantonio brought himself into the title fight, however his poor qualifying session saw the Italian starting from down in fifteenth place. Trying to work his way through the field, the Italian crashed out of the race and seemingly his chances of truly joining the battle for the Championship went with them.
All eyes were on the front and in particular Bezzecchi who tried to put some distance into the field on his KTM and whilst not managing to break away from the field, the Italian did stretch the leading group. Desperate to stay with the Italian, Martin was uncharacteristically unsettled on his Gresini Honda.
Martin narrowly avoided taking Bezzecchi out with seven laps to go in the downhill 90-degree corner after coming in way too hot. One lap later, Martin wasn’t so lucky. Once again in the 90-degree corner, Martin lost the front end of his Honda and crashed on his own.
With Martin out, the onus was now on Bezzecchi to bring his KTM home and cut the gap at the top of the World Championship, however he didn’t have it all his own way and it looked as if he wasn’t going to capitalise on the opportunity presented to him by Martin.
Going through victory corner on the final lap, it was the Red Bull KTM of Binder leading the group with Bezzecchi and Dalla Porta closely behind. Coming out of the final corner, Bezzecchi lined himself up and drove to the line, out dragging both Binder and Dalla Porta to the line to take the chequered flag by just 0.041 seconds.
The Leopard man got a perfect drag to pip the South African to the line as the Red Bull KTM man went from leading out of the final corner to finishing third losing out on the silver medal spot by just 0.001 seconds, although he was delighted to claim his first ever World Championship podium.
Dennis Foggia was fourth, holding off the experienced of McPhee, Tony Arbolino and Enea Bastianini. Pole sitter Gabi Rodrigo was eighth on his RBA KTM with home rider Ayumu Sasaki and Jakub Kornfield rounding out the top ten.