By Lisa Lewis
Moto3 rookie Romano Fenati's race win was the first by an Italian rider in the junior grand prix category since Andrea Iannone in 2009, but the wait had been much longer for an Italian team.
Fenati's win for Team Italia FMI, which boasts former 125cc world champion Roberto Locatelli as its technical director, made them the first Italian team to stand on the top step of the entry grand prix class since the Gresini team at Misano in 1987.
The new Moto3 class, which features 250cc four-stroke machinery, may only be two races old but it is already showing signs of shaking up the smallest class of grand prix racing. Moto3 replaced the 125cc two-stroke class, which ran from 1949-2011.
Fenati had put his FTR Honda on the podium by finishing second in the season opener in Qatar and went one better this weekend in Jerez, where he had previously finished fourth in the 125cc Spanish championship in 2011.
The Italian youngster's massive 36 second victory in Jerez could signal a move away from the Spanish dominance that was especially prevalent in the latter stages of the lifespan of the 125cc class.
Hopes will be up in Italy as individual riders such as Iannone have shone through in recent years but the Italian Federation have been looking at ways to improve grass roots motorcycling and entry into minor classes, in the hope of discovering a talent as huge as Valentino Rossi
This step in the right direction clearly meant a lot to Team Italia FMI president Paolo Sesti:
"The Team of FMI Italy wins in Spain and gets on top of the world. [It has] not happened for many years. We are pleased with this result because we have demonstrated that our project is serious and structured. My thanks to all those who have worked in the shadows for the past few months and Romano moved us with his race. The road is very long and we want to remain humble.”
Fenati now leads the championship by ten points from Losail winner and pre-season favourite Maverick Vinales.
Moto3 action resumes on Friday with practice in Estoril, Portugal.