Jorge Martin’s prayers were answered at the Cathedral of Speed whereas Marco Bezzecchi’s fell on deaf ears after a costly late mistake from Bezzecchi hands Martin the championship lead.
Martin had the dream start for as he soared off into the distance leaving Enea Bastianini and Nicolo Bulega in his wake, building a gap between himself and the pack in moments. If Martin’s start was a dream then Bulega’s was certainly a nightmare as the lanky Italian’s couldn’t get away from his third spot on the grid in time before he was swallowed up by the pack, dropping him back down to 12th. Bezzecchi made a storming start to make up four places, going from eighth to fourth during the first lap as Aron Canet and Fabio Di Gianantonio did battle for fourth. Di Gianantonio tried to make up places after qualifying in seventh, uncharacteristically low for the Del Conca Gresini rider, but was pushed wide by Canet as he defended his position.
Bastianini felt the squeeze during the start of lap two with Canet and Bezzecchi sweeping through into second and third respectively as CIP Green Power rider John McPhee threw his hat into the ring and joined the race long five-man fight for the lead and eventually the win. Bulega’s day went from bad to worse as he dropped even further down the grid to 13th behind Tony Arbolino who had gone for an interesting and slightly daring tyre choice with the hard which evidently didn’t pay off.
Alonso Lopez was the first rider of the day to pick up a penalty for taking shortcuts The Spanish rookie collected a 1.5 second penalty after only six laps but his woes didn’t end there as he was handed another penalty of 1.4 second for the same offence during lap 13, adding a heartbreaking 2.9 seconds to his post-race time. SIC58 rider Nicolò Antonelli was the second penalty sufferer, collecting a 1.7 second addition to his final time during lap seven.
With the race leader constantly changing at every corner and five hungry men chasing victory, there was no room for mistakes. Unfortunately, lap eight race leader Bezzecchi’s lapse in judgement caused him to run wide and open the door for, not only Martin, but Bastianini and also McPhee. McPhee didn’t let Martin hold onto the lead for long as he swept in and stole the position from the Spaniard during lap 11, continuing to build a gap to the remaining pack into lap 12 but the gap wasn’t enough and he was caught by Martin, Bastianini and Bezzecchi, dropping him back to fourth.
The Cathedral of Speed wasn’t the haven that everyone wanted as, with only two laps remaining, McPhee lost the front end of the bike and tumbled into the gravel, dragging him out of the fight for the win and the race. The young Scot wasn’t the last of the crashers as championship leader Bezzecchi lost the rear of his KTM machine at turn 10 and crashed out, taking his championship points lead into the gravel with him.
An elated Martin crossed the finish line in first, followed by Canet in second and Bastianini in third. Rookie Jaume Masia claimed an amazing fourth position, making up an incredible 16 places, his most impressive result of the season so far. Kornfeil recovered from his 12 place qualifying penalty to bring his KTM powered Redox Prudestel GP bike home in fifth ahead of Lorenzo Dalla Porta in sixth. Darynn Binder put in a spectacular performance to take seventh with Gabriel Rodrigo 0.394 seconds behind in eighth and Di Gianantonio in an uncharacteristically low ninth.
Bulega recovered three places to end the morning in 10th and, despite receiving penalties for course cutting, Marcos Ramirez (1.3 second) and Dennis Foggia (2 second) finished 11th and 12th respectively. Tatsuki Suzuki maintained his 0.504 second gap to Albert Arenas to finish 13th whilst the Le Mans winner had to settle for 14th. Kaito Toba finished in 15th and Arbolino’s tyre gamble didn’t pay off as he only managed 16th.
Antonelli finished the race in 17th alongside Jerez winner Philipp Oettl, who also received a penalty of 1.8 second, in 18th position. The German rider will be hoping to find regain some luck for his home race in a two weeks time and reenact that fantastic win under the Spanish sun. Countrymen Ayumu Sasaki and Kazuki Masaki finished in 19th and 20th respectively with Malaysian rider Adam Norrodin in 21st. Nakarin Atiratphuvapat brought his Honda-powered machine home in 22nd whilst Japanese wildcard Ai Ogura and his Honda claimed 23rd.
Livio Loi once again failed to deliver on race day and finished 24th ahead of rookie Lopez in 25th. Andrea Migno’s abysmal weekend continued as the Italian, who graced the podium in Le Mans, finished the race in 26th, two places back from where he had qualified. Migno will have to dig deep to find some pace for German or he will have a lot of homework to do during the upcoming summer break.
Rookie Stefano Nepa and Dutch wildcard Ryan Van De Lagermaat round out the grid in 27th and 28th.
The post-race interviews were a display of mixed emotions, from sheer joy to bittersweet acceptance.
CatalanGP winner and third place man Bastianini said he was ‘happy for the podium but the victory was near’. Unfortunately for the Italian, it wasn’t meant to be as he found Martin ‘impossible to catch’ but always one to look forward, he ended the interview by simply saying ‘see what happens next time.
Second place man Canet was less enthusiastic about his position, stating that he was ‘not happy’ and he ‘could (have had) the win’ but, like Bastianini stated, Martin was ‘impossible to catch’.
Martin was visibly moved by the win, unable to wipe the smile off his face as he opened the interview with ‘it’s the 88th Dutch GP’ almost as if the win was fate. He went on to say it was an ‘amazing feeling’ to take another win and take the championship lead and he will ‘try to carry on next time’. The closest thing to a mistake Martin made today was his slight overbalance and save during the interview as he nearly took a tumble in Parc Fermé.
The championship is now separated by two points and everyone has a point to prove. Can Bezzecchi claw it back or has Martin’s luck turned again?
Full results here.
Next up, Sachsenring.