Tony Arbolino took his first win of the season after pulling out a lead on the last lap to win the Moto3 Valencia Grand Prix ensuring the title race goes all the way to the final round.
The Rivacold Snipers rider had sat in the chasing group after the early part of the race echoed last week at Ricardo Tormo with an early crash, this time for Tatsuki Suzuki and Kaito Toba, which saw Raul Fernandez break again at the front.
The chasing five became a lead trio when Arbolino and Sergio Garcia had the pace to chase and catch Fernandez down.
The Honda rider shadowed the Spainard, working out where and when to pounce and showed his cards on the penultimate lap. Once in front he held firm, eventually pulling out a gap while his rivals raced each other out of the win, leading over the line by 1.142s.
The Italian has given himself a slim title shot too, eleven points behind Albert Arenas at the race end, all the more impressive as the record tenth different winner of the season missed a round after being on a plane with someone who tested positive for Covid-19, though negative himself.
Valencian Sergio Garcia won the battle for second at a track where he won last year for Estrella Galicia 0,0.
Winner of the European round just last week, Fernandez found himself third this time out after leading the way for so long. He was the top KTM for Red Bull Ajo.
Albert Arenas had a tough fight on his hands for fourth, which he won despite big competition for the place from pole man Darryn Binder and Denis Oncu.
Leading the championship and keeping ahead of Ogura in the race did nothing to calm the Gaviota Aspar rider’s style and after a long tussle for position the determined Spaniard passed and blocked his rivals to take fourth. Catching the lead trio was off the cards after the break at the front so leading the chasing group over the line was the best result possible for Arenas.
Binder rode maturely and smoothly to take fifth for CIP Green Power, with top rookie Oncu’s sixth a best finish for the Red Bull KTM Tech 3 rider.
Andrea Migno could not bridge the gap back to the riders ahead but lead the next trio of bikes over the line to take seventh for Sky Racing Team VR46.
Ai Ogura also had a go at trying to catch up in an effort to minimise his points defecit to Arenas, which stands at eight after the Honda Team Asia rider was passed by Migno but just held off Leopard’s Jaume Masia in an incredibly tight finish for the three.
Jeremy Alcoba (Kommerling Gresini) found a way around John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) late in the race for tenth, though they were three seconds behind the riders in front. That move guaranteed Alcoba the Moto3 rookie of the year title.
Romano Fenati was the next to see the chequered flag in twelfth, the top Husqvarna for Sterilgarda Max Racing Team.
The remaining points went to Stefano Nepa (Gaviota Aspar) in 13th, Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) in 14th and Ryusei Yamanaka (Estrella Galicia) in 15th.
An early crash put an end to Celestino Vietti’s slim title hopes. The Italian remounted his Sky bike to finish 24th.
Maximilian Kofler fell on the first lap. Khairul Idham Pawi, Alonso Lopez and Gabriel Rodrigo all also crashed out of the race.
Filip Salac was absent from the race due to the injuries sustained in his practice crash on Friday.