A dramatic final lap saw Valresa GasGas Aspar lock out the Moto3 race at Mugello with Sergio Garcia claiming the spoils.
Izan Guevara crossed the finish line first but track limits played their part and the Spaniard was demoted behind his battling teammate after the flag. Leopard’s Tatsuki Suzuki completed the podium celebrations.
The first race of the day faced a mostly dry track after the early morning rain, though damp patches still threatened a challenging opening few laps. BOE SKX’s Ana Carrasco continued to make history with her 54th Grand Prix start, the most of any woman in the World Championship.
Tech3’s Deniz Öncü lined up on pole alongside Red Bull KTM rookie Daniel Holgado with local favourite Dennis Foggia completing the front row on the Leopard. Sterilgarda Husqvarna’s John McPhee continued his impressive return from injury with a second row start, having been denied an even more favourable showing due to traffic on his final hot lap on Saturday afternoon. VisionTrack’s Scott Ogden and Josh Whatley lining up 14th and 27th respectively.
The Dunlop tyre of choice was soft as the pack prepared, just Rivacold Snipers’ Andrea Migno opting for an alternative front with three riders on hard rears as the lights released. Öncü claimed the holeshot from a hard-charging Diogo Moreira and Guevara. Ogden suffering an issue on the grid before being collected by riders behind and crashing out of the start. Foggia sat fourth from Garcia before Holgado advanced to the top five. McPhee dropping just adrift of the top ten as the first lap played out.
Suzuki and Migno advanced as lap two began, the pair claiming fourth and fifth respectively before Garcia joined the fight. Guevara utilising the slipstream next time around to capitalise on the Turk and take the lead as the Leopard pair locked out the back of the top five.
Öncü was back in charge as lap four fired up, McPhee circulating ninth and on the back of the second group as the leading trio failed to break free out front. Jaume Masia running off track and out of 14th after contact with Stefano Nepa, the MTA rider crashing out at turn 11.
Foggia was back in command of his home race with five laps dispatched. His teammate slotting into third with the pole sitter holding fast in second as the Italian began to push the pace. McPhee making moves on Migno for eighth as Guevara claimed the lead.
The 20-strong leading group saw the standings shuffle in the mid-pack as the race developed. Foggia returned to the front. Öncü, Suzuki, Garcia and Guevara completed the top five from Holgado with McPhee up to seventh as Riccardo Rossi, Moreira and Migno battled at the back of the top ten.
Guevara mastered the slipstream for an outside overtake as lap eight began but Foggia maintained the lead due to the GasGas failing to get it stopped at the first turn. Öncü and Suzuki bickering for the final podium position as Rossi rose to sixth. Masia’s fightback saw the Red Bull rider up to 21st with 21 laps to go but a mammoth 11 seconds between him and Mario Aji ahead.
Rossi’s progressed continued at the halfway stage as the Sic58 man claimed fourth then third with the fastest pace of the pack. Garcia now between him and Foggia before the Aspar rider was quickly dispatched.
The Italian had half a second between himself and his fellow countryman out front with ten laps to go. Öncü crashing out of fifth after contact with Suzuki through turn one. Disaster struck Foggia at turn seven with Carlos Tatay through the gravel trap as he looked to avoid the sliding leopard moments later with Holgado and McPhee down at 14 as the dramatic lap concluded. The Scot highsiding with the Red Bull rider behind nowhere to go in an incident reminiscent of teammate Ayumu Sasaki’s Friday fall, with both riders okay. Suzuki issued a long lap penalty due to his part in Öncü’s exit.
Back at the front it was Guevara in charge with eight laps to go. Migno capitalising next time around with Ryusei Yamanaka and MT Helmets teammate Moreira behind before the pack shuffled again. Rossi through for second with Migno third as Guevara returned to the lead.
Migno was back in control two laps later as he looked to replicate his 2018 victory resplendent in the Italian tricolore, Moreira and Guevara in check with the second Aspar of Garcia and Rossi neatly behind as the race counted down. A double tag team effort ensuing as MT Helmets and Valresa GasGas went head to head for the top four positions as Migno dropped to the back of the leading group.
Four to go and a regrouped Suzuki led from Garcia and Yamanaka as Migno circulated in seventh. Both Garcia and Rossi striking for dominance as the lap played out with the Sic58 rider taking charge down the home straight. Moreira winning out as the leading seven ran seven abreast next time around with Migno straight up to second. Öncü and Masia just adrift of the points after an impressive fight through the field from the back of the pack.
The final lap saw Suzuki muscle to the front as Moreira dropped to sixth, Guevara taking charge into the first chicane with the Leopard rider trailed by the Snipers before Garcia made it an Aspar one-two. The final sector action being the pair swap positions before Guevara sealed the deal at the flag, Suzuki completing the podium from a disappointed Migno with rookie Moreira crashing out of contention in a dramatic final corner after contact with the Sic machine.
Yamanaka claimed fifth from Rossi and Ivan Ortola with Elia Bartolini heading Avintia teammate Matteo Bertelle and Adrian Fernandez in the top ten. David Muñoz claimed five points with an 11th place finish on his Moto3 debut with Joel Kelso, Aji, Lorenzo Fellon and Öncü collecting the final scores on offer.
Further drama saw Guevara lose the victory due to a track limits infringement on the final lap with Garcia gifted the win. Masia completing his fightback from 17th, just a tenth shy of the points-scoring positions.