Results and summary of the Moto2 race at Motegi:
Andrea Iannone has taken his third victory of the year, winning the Moto2 race at Motegi in commanding style. With Marc Marquez finishing 2nd and Stefan Bradl finishing in 4th, Marquez takes over the lead in the championship for the first time, leading Bradl by a single point.
Iannone got the strongest start of the front row sitters, the Italian benefiting from his strong qualifying result, and dived into the first corner in the lead, with Marquez behind him and Thomas Luthi slotting in behind the Spaniard. But Iannone was unleashed from the very start of the race, pushing hard to try to string the field out from the beginning. Marquez followed, with Simone Corsi in his wake, the Italian having elbowed his way past Luthi on lap 2, but the leading trio were soon joined by championship leader Stefan Bradl. The Viessmann Kiefer rider had done a great job of working his way forward from 8th on the grid, latching on to the back of the leading group on lap 4.
The four remained close for the first half of the race, with Iannone clearly the strongest, leading the race with just the smallest amount of clear air between himself and Marquez, while Corsi and Bradl kept close on Marquez' tail. Behind the leaders, Thomas Luthi had recovered his composure, and was closing on the front group, bringing Alex de Angelis in his wake. But as the Swiss rider and the Italian closed on the front, Iannone and Marquez started to pull away, the gap just under a second at first, then growing as the laps started to tick off.
Victory would be down to either Iannone or to Marquez, and it was the Speed Master rider who appeared to hold the better cards. Iannone pushed, but Marquez held the gap stable, biding his time in the hope that the Italian would make a mistake. That happened on lap 19, Iannone's Suter missing a gear, allowing Marquez into the lead easily. But the incident served only to spur Iannone on to greater heights, the Italian quickly closing down the Spaniard, then passing Marquez at the end of the back straight a lap later. Iannone pushed on, quickly pulling a gap, forcing Marquez to settle for 2nd, and safe points. Iannone's margin of victory was small, but belied the dominant style in which it was taken.
Behind the two leaders, the battle for the final podium spot was fierce, and with the added complication of Stefan Bradl wanting to maximize his points. Simone Corsi had made the early running, until barged aside by Bradl when Iannone and Marquez looked like getting away. But with Bradl and Corsi focused on each other, it was Thomas Luthi who ended up winning the battle for 3rd, sliding first past Corsi, then past Bradl to take the final podium spot. Bradl was forced to settle for 4th, giving away 7 points to Marquez, 1 more than his championship lead.
With Marquez now leading the title race - albeit by the narrowest of margins - Japan could mark a key point in the championship. This moment has been coming for a long time, and with Marquez in almost indomitable form - he was incapable of beating Iannone at Motegi, but had done so with great ease at the previous race at Aragon - hope must be running out for Stefan Bradl. The championship is tight, but the momentum of the championship has clearly swung in Marquez' favor.
|6||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||MOTOBI||43'29.820||4.813|
|7||38||Bradley SMITH||TECH 3||43'35.527||10.520|
|11||19||Xavier SIMEON||TECH 3||43'43.266||18.259|
|12||13||Anthony WEST||MZ-RE HONDA||43'45.822||20.815|
|18||76||Max NEUKIRCHNER||MZ-RE HONDA||44'04.616||39.609|
|27||63||Mike DI MEGLIO||TECH 3||44'27.880||1'02.873|
|28||7||Tomoyoshi KOYAMA||TSR||TSR 45'00.566||1'35.559|
|29||95||Mashel AL NAIMI||MORIWAKI||45'00.778||1'35.771|
|30||72||Yuki TAKAHASHI||MORIWAKI||43'30.959||1 lap|
|31||40||Aleix ESPARGARO||PONS KALEX||43'53.990||3 laps|
|80||Axel PONS||PONS KALEX||32'37.869||6 laps|
|64||Santiago HERNANDEZ||FTR||32'56.470||6 laps|
|35||Raffaele DE ROSA||SUTER|