Following the lightweight class show is always a tough ask for the Moto2 lineup and to match the excitement was a losing battle in Mugello. One man who didn’t mind that in the slightest was Alex Marquez, the Marc VDS man ‘doing a Marc’ by cruising at the front towards back to back victories and doing that parc ferme crowd surfing bit. There was also some joy for the home crowds as Luca Marini earned a fine second position ahead of Tom Luthi, who held off an impressive recovery ride from the championship leader.
Luthi had made a better start off the line than poleman Marcel Schrotter to lead into San Donato, while Schrotter managed to keep fellow front row starter Marquez behind. However, by lap two the Dynavolt dynamic duo had stretched a gap of over half a second on the Spaniard, who in turn had another half a second on Marini and Jorge Navarro. Marquez went on to post the fastest lap of the race at that point in an attempt to keep up with the leaders, Marini also catching up while running away from Navarro’s advances. While all this was going on, Sam Lowes was leading the chase one second down the road, showing the way to Enea Bastianini, Simone Corsi and a rapidly advancing Lorenzo Baldassarri, who went from 15th on the grid to ninth by lap four.
The first moves in the five-man lead group came on lap six, when Marquez and Marini demoted Schrotter to take their turn at chasing Luthi but the Spaniard looked slightly more successful at the task. One lap later, Marquez was stalking the leader but Marini had a one second gap to bridge while fending off Schrotter and Navarro. The headache for the chasers was about to get bigger as Bastianini had a sensational few laps and dragged Baldassarri to the party as well, the Italian duo quickly disposing of Lowes.
Marquez decisively took the lead into San Donato at the start of lap nine and was pushing for red sectors in an attempt to get detached from Luthi and repeat the plotline from Le Mans. He was steadily finding a tenth here and a tenth there and soon enough Marini became a bigger problem for Luthi than Marquez. Navarro meanwhile had lost a second to the leaders and was preparing to defend fourth position from a feisty group including Schrotter, Baldassarri, Bastianini and new addition Augusto Fernandez.
By the halfway mark of the race, Marquez was a second (and counting) ahead of the provisional podium battle between Luthi and Marini. The Italian made a move stick in Savelli with nine laps to go but Marini was left with a two second hap to bridge if he was tempted by victory. Meanwhile, Luthi’s podium ambitions looked in doubt with Navarro and Baldassarri smelling a trophy once they shook off Schrotter, Fernandez and Bastianini.
The rest of the race was the calm without much of a storm on the horizon, Marquez extending his lead to nearly three seconds over Marini, Luthi and Baldassarri. The championship leader never got a real chance to threaten the podium and settled for fourth, while Navarro was the next rider eliminated from podium contention. A late charge from Fernandez and Bastianini demoted the Spaniard even further by the checkered flag, Fernandez grabbing fifth with Bastianini an impressive sixth and Navarro seventh. Schrotter crossed the line a second later in eighth position, a sea ahead of Lowes and with a fairly impressive Fabio Di Giannantonio completing the top ten. The Italian had found himself in the wrong place at the start of the race and had to fight through the field from last on track.
Marquez’s excellent set of victories brings him closer in the championship hunt, although Badassarri limited the damage to leave Mugello in the lead by 2 points. It’s quite crowded at the top, with Luthi another 2 points down on Marquez and with Navarro not too far back.
|7||9||Jorge NAVARRO||Speed Up||+4.986|
|10||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Speed Up||+13.050|
|17||77||Dominique AEGERTER||MV Agusta||+24.081|
|24||20||Dimas EKKY PRATAMA||Kalex||+1'01.819|
|16||Joe ROBERTS||KTM||6 Laps|
|96||Jake DIXON||KTM||11 Laps|
|24||Simone CORSI||Kalex||13 Laps|
|11||Nicolo BULEGA||Kalex||14 Laps|
|62||Stefano MANZI||MV Agusta||14 Laps|
|19||Teppei NAGOE||Kalex||17 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|27||Iker LECUONA||KTM||0 Lap|