Lorenzo Dalla Porta extends Moto3 title lead with Motegi victory, Aron Canet crashes
Lorenzo Dalla Porta extended his Moto3 championship lead to 47 with victory at Motegi, while chief rival Aron Canet crashed out with only a handful of laps remaining.
Dalla Porta salvaged sixth in qualifying after a troublesome weekend with his Leopard Honda that saw it cut out continuously across the weekend.
The team found the issue ahead of the race though, and the Italian began his quest to extend his title lead over Canet.
He remained cautious across the opening laps, but after seeing Canet charge his way towards the front decided to go after him, shadowing him as the pair made their way towards the leading Tatsuki Suzuki.
Unable to sustain a consistent challenge on the Japanese rider, Canet dropped behind Dalla Porta-who became the first man to lead over than Suzuki when he passed him at around a thirds distance.
The pair would continue to swap the leading position throughout the rest of the contest, while Canet struggled to hang on.
The MAX Racing Team’s race really unravelled due to a battle with John McPhee that dropped them away from the leading five, forcing Canet to push harder to make up lost ground.
This culminated in him tucking the front of his KTM at Turn 9, sliding into the gravel. He was able to re-join, but pulled into the pits a couple of laps later due to the level of damage to his bike being too great.
This allowed Dalla Porta to foucs on securing victory out in front, with Suzuki as well as Albert Arenas putting massive pressure on him.
This all came to a head on the final lap, as Suzuki failed to make a move and dropped behind Arenas through the Turn 7/8 esses.
Arenas looked for a way past Dalla Porta heading into the final few corners, but despite the Leopard man running wide at Turn 11 was unable to challenge-allowing him to bag a well-timed second win of the year.
Arenas had to settle for second, while Celestino Vietti snatched the final rostrum position from Suzuki at the final corner with a brave move down the inside, leaving the home hero fourth just ahead of Estrella Galicia rookie Sergio Garcia.
McPhee came home sixth after being unable to make up the time lost in his battle with Canet, while Jaume Masia came out on top of the battle for seventh with Marcos Ramirez and Alonso Lopez who took eighth and ninth respectively.
Andrea Migno rounded out the top ten a long way further back, leading a long train that included pole-man Niccolo Antonelli-who suffered to 12th due to injury-as well as third-placed qualifier Makar Yurchenko.
Dalla Porta’s championship lead therefore balloons to 47 points with only 75 left on the table across the final three events, Canet now needing a miracle to salvage the title after the latest of his recent string of set-backs.