Patches of blue sky greeted the intermediate class riders and gave a bit of hope amongst the clouds, but Fermín Aldeguer didn’t need any sun to shine as he fought his way into a maiden grand prix victory. The Spaniard’s late race pace was untouchable, and he took the chequered flag over two and a half seconds ahead of Aron Canet, who made his return to the podium with another second place. A slightly convalescent Pedro Acosta settled for leading the world championship from the third step of the podium.
Aldeguer showed his intentions early, getting the holeshot from poleman Acosta, who also got challenged by Alonso Lopez but managed to reclaim second by the end of the opening lap. After a good start initially, Tony Arbolino got demoted to fifth by Canet, with Barry Baltus, Joe Roberts, Sergio Garcia, Filip Salac and Manuel Gonzalez completing the early top ten. A crash at turn three caused havoc towards the back of the pack on the opening lap, ending Rory Skinner’s race very early on, followed by Jake Dixon causing more heartache for the fans as he crashed out at the final corner. Sam Lowes was left to fly the British flag while fighting to recover from a tricky opening lap that left him 15th.
Back at the front, Acosta fought to reclaim the lead on the second lap, but Lopez and Canet had other plans, both riders challenging their compatriot and going on to trade top spot several times over laps three and four. Canet eventually settled at the front by lap five, while Acosta kept Lopez busy in the battle for second. Although the trio were hogging the spotlight early on, the leading group also included Aldeguer, Baltus, Roberts and Arbolino, who dropped to the back of the pack after some early mistakes. Gonzalez led the next group 1.2 seconds behind but was steadily closing in on the Italian.
Canet managed to stretch an eight tenth advantage over the next few laps, with Lopez leading the pursuit initially but not making much progress and handing over to Acosta by lap seven. The poleman didn’t seem to be any more successful though, as Canet’s advantage grew to a full second over the next lap. After coming under fire from Aldeguer, Lopez abandoned ship with ten laps to go, leaving Roberts and Baltus to fight it off for fourth. Meanwhile, Aldeguer seemed to have the pace to match the leader, dismissing Acosta at Vale and completely wiping out Canet’s advantage with nine laps remaining. Aldeguer was quick to attack his compatriot, but Canet retaliated and the exchanges allowed Acosta to stay in the mix.
Aldeguer had another go at the lead next time into Stowe and this time made it stick. Making matters worse for Canet was a penalty for overtaking under yellow flags earlier in the race, which handed second to Acosta. The trio seemed pretty settled in the podium positions, with the pursuit nearly two seconds back, led by Roberts and challenged by Baltus, Gonzalez and Lowes. While the Brit was recovering well from a poor start, teammate Arbolino was going backwards on the timing screens, fading down to ninth with a handful of laps remaining.
By the time Canet reclaimed second with five laps to go, Aldeguer had escaped by over a second at the front and neither of his compatriots seemed able to reel him in, despite Canet posting his finest fast laps. The Pons rider did shake off Acosta in the process and the three podium men cruised the remaining laps to the chequered flag – although Aldeguer was anything but cruising while posting the fastest time of the race on the penultimate lap. Roberts successfully defended fourth from Gonzalez, with Baltus saving a personal best sixth place on the final lap. Lowes’s seventh place was a small consolation on his final lap around Silverstone on a Moto2 machine. Ai Ogura claimed a lonely eight place, while teammate Somkiat Chantra demoted Arbolino to tenth on the final lap.
Acosta’s clever ride coupled with Arbolino’s underwhelming Sunday means that the Spaniard takes over the lead of the world championship by two points, while Dixon’s nightmare home race drops him 52 points behind the leader. Canet climbs into fourth, 60 points down.
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