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Moto3: Stones and hares not able to stop Martin in tactical Mugello encounter


Flying stones and suicidal hares couldn’t get in the way of Jorge Martin at Mugello, who took his first victory since COTA in April on Sunday morning, holding off home heroes Marco Bezzecchi and teammate, Fabio Di Giannantonio.

Unlike in previous years, the race was far more spread out and the leading three soon broke clear of the chasing, peloton-style pack, led by numerous different riders as the race wore on, including a rejuvenated Nicolo Bulega.

Soon, an interesting dynamic was occurring; neither Gresini Honda rider looked like they had the straight line speed, whilst Marco Bezzecchi’s well-geared KTM had bags of top end pace, seemingly going past both Jorge Martin and Fabio Di Giannantonio without the need of a slipstream.

There was a massive high side for young Malaysian rider Adam Norrodin, who was thrown from his Honda, which in-turn was utterly destroyed in the accident, flipping in a heap of broken fairing and smashed wiring as it bounced down the track on the exit of turn five. Norrodin was relatively OK, which was more than what could be said about the bike.

The leading three continued to swap places and by the mid-race point, it looked like Bezzecchi’s KTM was starting to become a bit of a handful in the corners, whilst the straight line speed was keeping him in the race down the straights.

During the race, the trio encountered a hare running across the circuit. It narrowly missed being hit by Jorge Martin, leaping literally for it’s life onto the grass with just millimetres between survival and a gruesome death. Fortunately, as far as we know, the hare watched on from the grandstands – although track staff did escort it away for questioning, as it did not have a valid ticket for that particular section of circuit.

Tony Arbolino had come through the field from 19th on the grid and ran fourth for a while, whereas fellow Italian, Enea Bastianini, had come from 14th to 5th; the Italians further down had obviously worked out a much better strategy come race day. 2017 Moto3 winner Andrea Migno ploughed through from 15th and was also running with Bastianini and Arbolino, who, along with Gabriel Rodrigo, had broken clear of the chasing group.

Jorge Martin’s late-braking at turn one seemed almost impossible but he managed to make the apex every single time, hinting at the class and sophistication to come. On the last lap, Bezzecchi closed right in on the Gresini Honda men, as ‘Diggia’ and Martin cost each other time with their battling.

Coming onto the straight, Bezzecchi had a chance; he got past fellow countryman Di Giannantonio before slotting back in the slipstream of Martin. Gaining and gaining before drawing alongside, Bezzecchi couldn’t pass Martin and it would be the Spaniard taking victory, following a tremendously though-out exit from turn 15. All three riders came across the line with less than half a tenth covering them. Argentina’s Gabriel Rodrigo achieved a well earned 4th place from 12th on the grid, with Migno, Bastianini, Arbolino, Dalla Porta, Antonelli and Pagliani completing the top ten, making it eight Italians in the first ten places.

Championship challenger Aron Canet could only manage 11th, losing massive ground of Marco Bezzecchi – who remains the championship leader by three points from Martin. Britain’s John McPhee was 12th, with Darryn Binder, Le Mans winner Albert Arenas and Marcos Ramirez completing the points-scoring positions.

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