ASSEN. VNE Snipers’ Tony Arbolino claimed his second victory of the season in a last-lap battle against compatriot Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) at the Motul TT Assen, with third place going the way of Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP) despite receiving a long lap penalty with just two laps to go.
Polesitter Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) grabbed the holeshot as the lights went out, with Arbolino launching well from P3 on the grid to hold his position off the line before getting himself up to second. His teammate Romano Fenati was a big mover in the opening exchanges, the Italian getting himself up to 4th from P13 as both VNE Snipers riders were at the forefront.
However, they weren’t the only ones there. In fact, the top 25 were all line astern and covered by just three seconds as the lightweight class treated us to another unbelievable battle. The lead and positions inside the top five were changing all the time but Arbolino was a constant threat at the front, with Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) and the SIC58 Squadra Corse machines of Antonelli and Tatsuki Suzuki up there too. Dalla Porta then started to make strides after a quiet opening exchange, the Italian now swarming inside the top five.
The race was impossible to call and with the likes of Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) coming through from P25, it really was anyone’s to claim and with 12 to go, the top 25 looked like they were chained together.
Drama then started to unfold. Championship hopeful Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) had a mechanical issue with seven to go and then on the following lap, four riders went down at Turn 5. Suzuki, Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team), Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Toba – while going for the same piece of track – all crashed out of contention. This left the top seven with a gap to the rest and soon enough, Kornfeil had control of the race.
The Czech rider had a lead of 0.4 over Dalla Porta and to duo stretched away from the pack after a bit of dicing. However, Kornfeil was then given a long lap penalty after exceeding track limits at the Geert Timmer chicane – drama with two laps to go. Kornfeil took the long lap route but still emerged third due to his advantage, but this left Dalla Porta and Arbolino as the candidates for the win in Assen. Dalla Porta held a half second advantage but Arbolino was able to reel his compatriot in and on the last lap, there was nothing between them.
Dalla Porta held P1 but heading into the fourth and final sector of the race, Arbolino got himself tucked into the slipstream and dived underneath his fellow Honda rider at Turn 16. A hard, brave and race winning move. Arbolino held on into the Geert Timmer chicane to take his second win of the season, Dalla Porta had to settle for his fourth P2 of the year. Kornfeil did brilliantly to hold on to third, the experienced Czech stands on the podium for the first time since the 2018 Czech GP, with Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) recovering from a mid-race tangle to grab P4. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) produced a sterling ride to claim P5 after starting 20th, the Brit beats Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) and Catalan GP winner Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) in P6 and P7 respectively. Behind the latter trio in the fight for the podium was poleman Antonelli, he claimed P8 after taking the long lap penalty route half-way through the race. Fellow Italian Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) completed the top ten. Fenati ended P11 after looking strong throughout, with Championship leader Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) having a quiet race to come home 12th.
Binder crashed out of the leading group at Turn 5 with just a few laps to go – rider ok. Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power) crashed out of the battle for the points in the early stages.
Tony Arbolino: P1
"I am very happy, another victory after a hard race. I always fought to stay ahead, without losing the contact with the firsts. In the final part, after a contact with another rider, I lost contact and I thought it was finished. I gave everything, by risking a lot, to catch Dalla Porta once again. In the last lap, I knew perfectly where to overtake him, as I tried that before, and I did it. I thank my team for the excellent job done".
Lorenzo Dalla Porta: P2
“I believe the victory is close. It’s been a difficult race but I have to be happy because we’ve done a very good one, we’ve gotten another podium and we have to keep working like this. At the beginning of the race my bike did a wheelie, I lost many positions and at that point I thought I was going to have a difficult day. But then I felt better, I was able to recover some spots while fighting with my rivals and I knew I could be in front. When I did it, I tried to push but in this track wind is very important and so is slipstream. Arbolino has beaten me practically on the line and I couldn’t win this time, but I believe victory will arrive soon and I’m pleased with the work we’ve done. The important thing is we’ve reduced the distance with Canet on the standings and we’ll try again in Sachsenring, in a few days. Many thanks to the team, they’ve done an incredible job”.
Jaume Masia: N.C.
"It is always a pity to finish a race with 0 points even more if it is for technical problems and when you are on the top group but there is nothing we can do except for thinking in Germany and ending the first half of the season with good feelings!"