For much of the Portuguese Grand Prix it was a five way battle for the win until Sergio Garcia took control of the final lap at a now sunny Portimao as Moto3 got the Sunday action underway for round five of the championship.

The  Valresa GasGas rider, who cited technical issues for his crash filled Saturday - he found himself in the gravel three times in Q2 - put qualfying behind him and got a great start, leading for much of the early part of the race. Reeled in by his team-mate Izan Guevara after finding a way around Mario Aji, he brough Ayumu Sasaki, Jaume Masia and Deniz Oncu through with him to form the lead group.

Sasaki lead to the line to start the last lap, but the Aspar man soon thwarted his attempt to stretch at turn one, with his line giving him enough of a gap to manage to the line, to win by just 0.069s.

The result sees the Spaniard back at the top of the overall standings, in first place in the championship by just a point after securing his second win of the season.

Garcia went on to record one final crash - this time in parc ferme as he arrived to celebrate with his team, narrowly missing his mechanics.

 

The expected slipstream madness to the line did not appear with the five pretty much holding station for the last lap despite the overtaking moves and inside lunges on each other.

That meant Austin winner Jaume Masia was on the podium for a second race in a row. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider made exceptional early progress to put himself in with a chance of a rostrum finish after qualifying down in 15th and joining the lead five by lap six.

Third went to a disappointed Ayumu Sasaki, who thought he had the pace to win after saving his tyres in the pack. The Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max rider was ahead as the last lap started, but couldn’t fight back after Garcia and Masia made their moves, instead settling for a second third place podium visit this season after securing the same result back in Argentina.

Polesitter Deniz Oncu proved he was equally well equipped in the dry after topping warm-up and looked to be comfortably sat in the back waiting to pounce on errors or set up a late lunge. It was not to be for the Turkish rider, just missing out on a podium finish in fourth for Red Bull KTM Tech3.

Last of the lead five was Aspar’s Guevara, after doing all the legwork to catch his compatriot and doing his fair share of leading the way as the group worked on last lap rehersals, none of which paid off as Garcia proved unpassable.

Carlos Tatay was a distant sixth, though the CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP rider did make inroads into the gap once he hit the front of the chasing group, the distance to make up was already too huge.

Andrea Migno was close behind in seventh for Rivacold Snipers, with Dennis Foggia a distant eighth.

A tough day at the office for Foggia

 

Dennis Foggia started twelfth after struggling in the wet, but looked to be ready to race after finishing warm-up in sixth on a drying, puddly track, with a shower in sector one.

The Italian lost his championship lead after a reserved performance, as if the Leopard rider had in mind that early DNFs last season paid a huge part in not taking the title.

Not hitting the points positions until seven laps in with tough racing up and down the track, there was no easy way around for the pre-season title favourite. He found himself stuck twice - first after finding Mario Aji hard to pass, the with Scott Ogden giving him the same treatment.
The Italian even lost out in the run to the line as rookie Diogo Moreira slipstreamed past for eighth before being demoted two places for exceeding track limits, promoting Foggia back to the position.

That gave back valuable championship points, leaving Foggia just one point behind Garcia after the Portimao race.

Joel Kelso was promoted to ninth, completing an epic turnaround for the Australian. A previous winner at the Algarve International circuit in the junior championship, the CIP Green Power rider used his knowledge of the track to power through from 22nd on the grid, in contrast to Foggia’s performance, and be the top rookie finisher. It is his highest placing since joining the championship.

The demoted Moreira completed the top ten for MT Helmets-MSI.

Riccardo Rossi was in the same group battling for position, taking eleventh at the chequered flag for SIC58 Squadra Corse, just ahead of Tatsuki Suzuki on the second Leopard entry in twelfth.

British hopes fade away

 

Scott Ogden fought hard in the same pack after holding tenth from Foggia for several laps and riding as high as seventh.

The VisionTrack Racing Team rider faded back into the group but fought hard to finish 13th, just one place shy of equalling his best in a consistent start to his first world championship season.

With both of Michael Laverty’s riders enjoying arecording a best in qualifying hopes had been high for Joshua Whatley too, but the tricky ‘rollercoaster’ track had other ideas - the teenager received a track limits warning which dropped him to 26th.

The remaining points on offer went to front row starter Lorenzo Fellon, who also faded back to an even more distant 14th for Sic58 Squadra Corse and Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) who battled up to 15th.

Fellow front row man Aji (Honda Team Asia) finished his day in 16th.

There was only one other faller, with Daniel Holgado exiting late on as he tried to pass Ogden. After trying to remount, unaware of the visible flames from his bike he was told there was a mechanical problem and asked to retire.

Adrian Fernandez was declared unfit to race after his crash in FP1 left him with two fractured fingers.

Alberto Surra also misses the round as a result of his fall in COTA. He was replaced by Syarifuddin Azman  (24th)at Rivercold Snipers for the race

John McPhee is present but had his participation ruled out by doctors and is now aiming for a Le Mans return. David Salvador (22nd) sat in at Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max.