Romano Fenati takes stunning wet Moto3 win at Jerez
Romano Fenati claimed victory in only his second Moto3 race as mixed conditions produced a thrilling but treacherous race at Jerez
While Fenati ran at the front throughout, set a flurry of fastest laps at the end and lapped several riders on the way to a 30-second victory that also gave him the points lead, his win also owed to the high number of riders who fell foul of the circuit conditions - with just 17 riders able to finish the race.
The tone of the race was set from the start, as three riders - including Jack Miller from second - all high-sided at the damp Turn 9.
Two laps later and Jakub Kornfeil, who was leading, lost the rear of his Ongetta FTR-Honda on the final corner. He managed remarkably to hang on to the bike and stay upright, only to drop the machine on the wet astroturf as he attempted to rejoin.
That left Alex Rins, Fenati and Louis Rossi in a three-way fight for the lead, and it was Rins who looked the most likely of the trio as he began to stretch away.
His advantage was undone when he too slipped off track and was passed by both Fenati and Rossi. The order lasted all of one lap, as Rossi then dropped his FTR-Honda at Turn 1 and surrendered what would have been a career-best finish.
Fenati then began to pull away from Rins, before the Spaniard dropped it at Turn 1. Once again he was able to get going, but his fight for victory was over as he slipped back into the chasing pack of Sandro Cortese, Luis Salom and Alexis Masbou.
The quartet traded places almost corner by corner in the final laps - their battle a direct contrast to the serenity of Fenati, 34s down the road - with Salom eventually claiming second ahead of Cortese and Rins.
Qatar race winner Maverick Vinales was another early victim, running through the gravel on lap three, but the championship favourite staged a remarkable recovery and fought his way back to sixth at the finish.
Alberto Moncayo, Niccolo Antonelli and Hector Faubel rounded out the top nine, having been locked in a fight for sixth throughout the race.
Results - 23 laps: Pos Rider Team/Bike Time/Gap 1. Romano Fenati Italia FMI FTR-Honda 43m50.885s 2. Luis Salom RW Kalex-KTM + 36.139s 3. Sandro Cortese Ajo KTM + 36.895s 4. Alex Rins Monlau Suter-Honda + 37.061s 5. Alexis Masbou Caretta Honda + 49.036s 6. Maverick Vinales Avintia FTR-Honda + 55.857s 7. Alberto Moncayo Aspar Kalex-KTM + 57.505s 8. Niccolo Antonelli Gresini FTR-Honda + 1m03.683s 9. Hector Faubel Aspar Kalex-KTM + 1m15.351s 10. Zulfahmi Khairuddin Ajo KTM + 1m35.650s 11. Alessandro Tonucci Italia FMI FTR-Honda + 1 lap 12. Alex Marquez Monlau Suter-Honda + 1 lap 13. Ivan Moreno Laglisse FTR-Honda + 1 lap 14. Alan Techer Technomag-CIP TSR-Honda + 1 lap 15. Giulian Pedone Ambrogio Oral + 1 lap 16. Marcel Schrotter Mahindra + 1 lap 17. Jasper Iwema FGR-Honda + 1 lap Retirements: Adrian Martin Laglisse FTR-Honda 15 laps Kenta Fujii Technomag-CIP TSR-Honda 15 laps Danny Webb Mahindra 14 laps Louis Rossi Germany FTR-Honda 9 laps Isaac Vinales Ongetta FTR-Honda 6 laps Josep Rodriguez BST FTR-Honda 4 laps Miguel Oliveira Monlau Suter-Honda 3 laps Arthur Sissis Ajo KTM 3 laps Jakub Kornfeil Ongetta FTR-Honda 2 laps Brad Binder RW Kalex-KTM 2 laps Efren Vazquez Laglisse FTR-Honda 2 laps Niklas Ajo TT Motion KTM 2 laps Toni Finsterbusch MZ FTR 2 laps Luigi Morciano Ioda 2 laps Jack Miller Caretta Honda 0 laps Danny Kent Ajo KTM 0 laps Simone Grotzkyj Ambrogio Oral 0 laps
Alex Rins grabs Moto3 pole as drying Jerez leads to frantic finish
Sandro Cortese beats Maverick Vinales to Estoril Moto3 pole