The Triumph era got off to a triumphant start, especially for Lorenzo Baldassarri, who made an early escape and survived a late assault from Moto2 returnee Tom Luthi to take the first trophy of the new season and become the first leader in the championship. The Swiss rider looked like a real threat in the final half of the race but he left himself with little time to attack for the victory after a poor start saw him battling through the field all throughout the race. Luthi still got the best of teammate and poleman Marcel Schrotter, who faded in the final part of proceedings but still managed to break Remy Gardner’s heart by two thousandths of a second.
Front row starter Xavi Vierge was the one who got the holeshot from poleman Schrotter at the start and Baldasarri followed him through, the duo dropping Schrotter by a couple of tenths on the first lap. Baldassarri did not hesitate to take the lead on lap two, Vierge and Schrotter keeping close, with the second group half a second down the road, led by Gardner and including Brad Binder, Sam Lowes, Alex Marquez and Luca Marini. With the benefit of slipstream, the two groups merged by lap four and allowed Luthi and Augusto Fernandez to join the party at the back of the pack, the Swiss rider setting the fastest ever Moto2 race lap in the process.
Timesheets were lighting up red all over and riders held position for the next couple of laps, the only entertainment coming from the Marquez - Lowes battle. The provisional victor ended up being the Spaniard, who climbed to fifth, put Binder in between himself and Lowes and tried to bring back the half second gap to the four leaders.
By lap six, Baldassarri was thinking of an escape at the front and found half a second on Vierge, Schrotter and Gardner but all four riders were posting nearly identical times. Marquez had a tenth or two of advantage and managed to merge with the leaders one lap later, bringing Binder with him, Lowes not too far behind but not making much noise either. Seeing that Vierge was struggling to catch up with the leader, Schrotter made his move halfway through lap seven, Gardner and Marquez following his example soon after, as Vierge dropped his lap times quite dramatically.
Despite Schrotter’s best intentions, the gap to Baldassarri was slow in coming down and only Gardner could run their pace. Marquez was losing a bit of ground once again and had a one second advantage on the next group led by Luthi but after a poor start that saw the veteran rider drop outside the top ten, Luthi posted yet another race record lap and almost instantly brought down that gap by the mid point of the race.
With ten laps left, Baldasarri, Schrotter and Gardner were within striking distance of each other once again, Marquez and Luthi engaged in battle one second back. The Swiss rider matched the leaders’ pace but was held back by Marquez and by the time he got past, he had nine laps to reduce the one second gap. His mission was aided by Schrotter’s charge running out of steam and Gardner struggling to get past the German. Luthi was right on their back with seven laps remaining but was pressed for time to make his way through and recover the eighth tenths to the leader. Marquez’s performance seemed to fall off a cliff, dropping behind Fernandez and getting reeled in by Lowes once again.
Luthi was on the offensive in the final six laps, finding his way past Gardner after a feisty exchange and immediately latching on to his teammate’s tail. That battle was settled by a slipstream on the main straight and Luthi was left with four laps to hunt down Baldassarri. The eight tenths of a second gap was reasonably comforting for the Italian and his task was aided by Luthi’s much more eventful and tyre-demanding race but the Swiss rider still put it all out on the line. The penultimate crossing of the line saw Luthi a mere tenth of a second behind Baldassarri, while Gardner robbed Schrotter from his provisional podium position a second down the road from the victory battle. The podium ended up being decided by a photo finish, Baldassarri two hundredths of a second ahead of Luthi and Schrotter retrieving third by two thousandths of a second from Gardner.
Fernandez kept out of the limelight but brought it home in an excellent fifth, ahead of Lowes and Marquez. Marini was eighth and Enea Bastianini was top rookie in ninth, ahead of front row starter Vierge, who completed the top ten. KTM started off on the wrong foot, their best rider being Brad Binder in 12th position, while Moto3 reigning champion Jorge Martin grabbed one point on his Moto2 debut.
|11||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Speed Up||+15.525|
|17||89||Khairul Idham PAWI||Kalex||+23.978|
|18||77||Dominique AEGERTER||MV Agusta||+26.904|
|20||62||Stefano MANZI||MV Agusta||+40.274|
|24||20||Dimas EKKY PRATAMA||Kalex||+57.596|
|45||Tetsuta NAGASHIMA||Kalex||18 Laps|
|96||Jake DIXON||KTM||18 Laps|
|35||Somkiat CHANTRA||Kalex||19 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|9||Jorge NAVARRO||Speed Up||0 Lap|
|11||Nicolo BULEGA||Kalex||0 Lap|
|27||Iker LECUONA||KTM||0 Lap|