The Sachsenring decided to spoil us with a second dry race of the day that ended up looking like a biggie for a championship. Franco Morbidelli converted pole position into a stunning victory, although it was not quite the display of strength he showed in practice, after Miguel Oliveira pushed him all the way to the flag. The KTM rider finished a mere six hundredths of a second behind the winner, with Pecco Bagnaia getting over a rough patch to score his third podium of the season on the final few laps.
The picture looked rather different after the start, when Alex Marquez stole the lead and Tom Luthi joined the podium battle right away, despite a third row start. Luthi went straight into the lead one lap later, ahead of Marquez and Morbidelli, the trio joined by Sandro Cortese starting to get a gap on the pursuers as they got stuck behind Hector Garzo. Luthi wasn’t hanging around, the Swiss rider aided by some mistakes from the Marc VDS duo into building a gap of around seven tenths of a second.
Marquez’s challenge faded early on, when the Spaniard crashed into turn two on lap five - taking a hit from the bike but appeared to be mostly unharmed. That let his main title rivals battle for the win as Cortese started dropping back towards the pursuers. Oliveira was in charge of the chasing group by lap seven, having to fend off Simone Corsi, Bagnaia and Mattia Pasini. Oliveira caught up with Cortese and got past him soon after, taking over third place, two and a half seconds down on the leaders.
Luthi was flying at the front but could not shake off the championship leader, who eventually made his move on lap 8 and tried to impose his fierce rhythm from practice. Luthi looked to retaliate and gave it a good go, maybe too good, the Swiss rider losing the front in turn 12 on lap 12, gifting Morbidelli a head start to his summer holidays. It also left the Moto2 field with no riders to have scored points in all races this season.
Behind Morbidelli, Oliveira had to deal with a two seconds gap on the leader, the KTM rider shaving a couple of tenths on every lap. The rapid Portuguese rider was already on Morbidelli’s tail five laps later and biding his time for the attack. Morbidelli replied by picking up the pace with a few red sectors but could not shake off the Red Bull KTM man. Oliveira did not try a serious move until the final two laps, when he got past the championship leader but only briefly, Morbidelli back in front on the straight to start the final lap. Oliveira kept close enough to see the dirt on the Italian’s shoes but sector four was Morbidelli territory and he did not leave any doors open.
Following Luthi’s crash, third place was up for grabs once again and Corsi was leading an all-Italian fight for third against Bagnaia and Pasini, almost three seconds behind the victory battle. The trio recovered over a second on the leaders in their fight for the final podium spot, red sectors popping up throughout the top six late into the race. Bagnaia made his move with two laps to go, grabbing a podium and getting as close as half a second to the battle for the lead.
With Corsi fourth and Pasini fifth, the two class rookies put on a nice display to take the next two places, Jorge Navarro sixth and Brad Binder looking like he was truly back from injury in seventh place. Cortese managed to salvage eighth position, ahead of Marcel Schortter, whose hard tyre gamble didn’t really pay off. Takaaki Nakagami might have been only tenth, but it was as welcome result after starting twenty-third.
Much like in the lightweight class, the leader goes on holiday with 37 points advantage, Morbidelli leading Luthi, with Oliveira jumping in third, 59 points down. Marquez drops to fourth, 60 points behind his teammate and with quite a challenge on his hands in the second half of the season.
|4||24||Simone CORSI||Speed Up||+0.749|
|12||87||Remy GARDNER||Tech 3||+21.533|
|20||89||Khairul Idham PAWI||Kalex||+49.534|
|12||Thomas LUTHI||Kalex||18 Laps|
|77||Dominique AEGERTER||Suter||22 Laps|
|73||Alex MARQUEZ||Kalex||25 Laps|
|14||Hector GARZO||Tech 3||27 Laps|
|5||Andrea LOCATELLI||Kalex||27 Laps|
|37||Augusto FERNANDEZ||Speed Up||0 Lap|