The warm up lap for the intermediary class was on the extra warm side, with 47 degrees of track temperature awaiting the Moto2 parade. The conditions were punishing on riders and tyres and overall seemed to have been everyone’s biggest rival, given the gaps throughout the field. Luca Marini proved to be the star of the weekend and did not allow a repeat of Qatar, taking the victory over a second ahead of Tetsuta Nagashima. Red Bull KTM had a solid day at the office, with Jorge Martin joining his teammate on the podium.
Martin had made a fine start from pole position, while Aron Canet and Marini also made excellent progress from the second row to chase the poleman. No such luck for front row starter Jorge Navarro, who crashed out at the exit of turn one, after rubbing elbows with Marco Bezzecchi. By lap three, the foursome of Martin, Marini, Canet and Nagashima stretched a bit of a gap to the chasers led by Bezzecchi, half a second down the road. The Italian fought hard to join the lead group in the next couple of laps, leaving Marcel Schrotter and Sam Lowes a second behind.
Marini took control by the end of lap four and attempted a bit of an escape at the front but Nagashima did not allow the gap to go too much over the half second mark. Their teammates were pushing hard to keep in touch with the two leaders, while rookie Canet was slowly dropping out of the lead group. Bezzecchi had just attacked Martin for a provisional podium spot when the Italian went down at turn 10, allowing Martin some breathing room to try to recover ground on his teammate. A couple seconds down the road, Schrotter slid out of fifth place at turn 11, while teammate Tom Luthi joined the top ten after an abysmal qualifying performance. However, his progress was halted by a late crash at turn 8 and left the Intact team empty handed in Jerez.
In a flashback to Qatar, Marini’s gap had ticked over the one second mark by lap nine, while Nagashima had a similar gap keeping him ahead of Martin. If the top three had no immediate concerns, a second and a half down the road, Canet was getting stalked by Lowes in the battle for fourth. Canet bravely defended but the Brit eventually made it past the Spaniard at the halfway mark of proceedings.
Gaps seemed to have settled for the next handful of laps, but all the red and orange sectors flashing on the timing screens suggested that tyre wear was not that prominently on their mind yet. As the race progressed towards its closing stages, two gaps in particular seemed to be shrinking: the one between race leaders Marini and Nagashima and then Lowes was closing in on Martin. Despite a nervous twitch with six laps to go, Nagashima kept putting pressure on the leading Italian and entered the final five laps one second behind. Meanwhile, Lowes was pushing to get within a second of Martin in the battle for third but the Spaniard was not making it easy for him.
The tense wait for a podium battle did not come to fruition and Marini rode an impeccable final few laps to take the checkered flag first. Nagashima recognised a lost fight and secured second position, while Martin resisted Lowes’ advances to keep the final podium spot. Despite missing out on the cava, Lowes did well to join the top four, with an exceptional fifth for Canet. Teammate Hafizh Syahrin made a solid comeback to the intermediate class with a sixth place, while Remy Gardner, Lorenzo Baldassarri, Enea Bastianini and Xavi Vierge rounded out the top ten positions.
Nagashima’s podium scored him some solid points at the top of the championship table, 17 ahead of Baldassarri, with Marini jumping into third and trailing the leader by 20 points.
|5||44||Aron CANET||Speed Up||+10.794|
|6||55||Hafizh SYAHRIN||Speed Up||+15.578|
|11||62||Stefano MANZI||MV Agusta||+21.269|
|15||24||Simone CORSI||MV Agusta||+27.303|
|19||19||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA||Kalex||+43.699|
|20||27||Andi Farid IZDIHAR||Kalex||+43.889|
|23||42||Marcos RAMIREZ||Kalex||1 Lap|
|12||Thomas LUTHI||Kalex||3 Laps|
|21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Speed Up||7 Laps|
|23||Marcel SCHROTTER||Kalex||16 Laps|
|72||Marco BEZZECCHI||Kalex||17 Laps|
|64||Bo BENDSNEYDER||NTS||17 Laps|
|35||Somkiat CHANTRA||Kalex||18 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|9||Jorge NAVARRO||Speed Up||0 Lap|