The second race of the day at Motorland Aragon did not give us much of a breather, with some of the main protagonists in the class putting on a show for the trophies on offer. Brad Binder will have to find the most room in his luggage to bring home the victor’s spoils after a determined ride in which he hunted down early leader Alex Marquez and made and escape to clinch his second win in Moto2. Pecco Bagnaia had a few hairy moments in his 100th grand prix start but extended his championship lead from second position on the podium. Lorenzo Baldassarri had an excellent ride from eighth on the grid to third on the podium, breaking the hearts of plenty of spectators as he demoted Marquez late in the race.
Poleman Binder and Marcel Schrotter held station into turn one while Marquez and Bagnaia overhauled front row starter Jorge Navarro, who was having a dreadful day and quickly fell back to 15th. Marquez took no time in attacking Schrotter at turn five and picked up the chase of the poleman, who got inspiration from the race that preceded theirs and attempted an early getaway. But Binder did not have such an advantage in pace and fell prey to the home favourite by the end of lap two. With Marquez getting to work on those red sectors, Binder was the only one to keep in touch early on, Schrotter seven tenths down and in close range of an attacking Bagnaia. The likes of Baldassarri, Mattia Pasini, Joan Mir and Fabio Quartararo were still somewhat in contention but the pack was stretching ever so slightly. Miguel Oliveira made a decent start from his lowly grid position, into the top ten by lap five.
With Marquez and Binder keeping close at the front and Bagnaia finally free to bridge that gap once he disposed of Schrotter, the rest of the pack seemed to struggle to follow them. Baldassarri also made it past Schrotter by lap seven but was one second behind his championship leading compatriot by then, with Mir another second behind, fending off Pasini, Quartararo, Simone Corsi and Oliveira. The Portuguese rider’s progress slowed down once he got to tenth and Corsi was not making his mission any easier.
By lap nine, Bagnaia had caught up with Marquez and Binder to make it a three way battle in the making. Baldassarri was the next rider one second down the road, steadily dropping Schrotter but not making any progress and waiting to pick off the pieces if the opportunity arose. Oliveira finally found his way past Corsi one lap later but the work was not getting any easier, with Quartararo, Pasini and Mir a couple of tenths ahead.
There was not much movement in the leading trio by the halfway mark of the race but an optimistic lunge from Binder into turn one allowed Baldassarri to recover a handful of tenths on them. Three laps later and Baldassarri was firmly in the fight, aided by Bagnaia tagging the back of Binder and losing position to Baldassarri in the process. Despite losing some bodywork in the incident, Binder did not look like slowing down, attacking Marquez once again soon after. The Spaniard seemed to have an answer to the South African’s attempts until turn 12 with seven laps to go, when Marquez lost the elbow rubbing session. Baldassarri swiftly glued himself to Marquez’s tail but in his eagerness to attack, the Italian made a mistake and allowed Bagnaia back in.
Throughout all these shenanigans, Binder got a bit of a breather and extended his lead to a full second with four laps to go. Teammate Oliveira had made it past Quartararo and Pasini but had one second to recover on Mir and little time to do it. Back at the front, Bagnaia robbed Marquez in turn one in the final three laps and the Spaniard found himself fending off Baldassarri once again, quite keen on keeping a home podium. Turn one was once again his nemesis, the Italian getting past but Marquez fought back, almost wheel to wheel in the next few turns.
Binder and Bagnaia crossed the line unconcerned in first and second, with Baldassarri breaking home hopes by getting the best of Marquez at the line. Schrotter had a mostly lonely ride into fifth place, although he did get some company from Mir and Oliveira for the final laps. Oliveira had to settle for seventh, with Pasini, Quartararo and Navarro rounding out the top ten.
Oliveira missing the top six for the first time this season means that his deficit in the championship battle is now up to 19 points, Bagnaia a more confident leader. Binder’s win keeps him in third position 90 points down.
|9||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||Speed Up||+9.746|
|19||87||Remy GARDNER||Tech 3||+28.339|
|25||64||Bo BENDSNEYDER||Tech 3||+42.222|
|27||89||Khairul Idham PAWI||Kalex||+53.675|
|97||Xavi VIERGE||Kalex||7 Laps|
|21||Federico FULIGNI||Kalex||7 Laps|
|52||Danny KENT||Speed Up||18 Laps|
|12||Sheridan MORAIS||Kalex||18 Laps|
|62||Stefano MANZI||Suter||20 Laps|