After the headache of trying to make sense of a lightweight class race, Moto2 was more like a pleasant palette cleanser – but that’s not to say there was not enough suspense to keep you glued to the screen anyway. After a drawn out battle for the lead, Alex Marquez got his hat-trick of consecutive victories, avenging Jerez with a victory on home ground in Montmeló. It was another display of domination usually reserved for big brother Marc but Alex had not one wobble on his way to victory and snatched the lead in the title battle. Tom Luthi had to admit defeat and defended second from a hard charging Jorge Navarro.
Luthi had looked like the favourite at the start, firing off the line like rocket to lead the way from poleman Augusto Fernandez and fellow front row starter Sam Lowes into turn one. Remy Gardner was one of the early (but unhurt) casualties of the race, while Marquez was lucky to escape the nudges of turn one and was looking for a way past the rookie duo of Fabio Di Giannantonio and Enea Bastianini. By the time Marquez got to the front of the chasing pack and picked up Lowes in the process, Luthi and Fernandez had over a second’s advantage after only three laps.
By the end of lap four, Fernandez wanted a taste at the lead and picked up Luthi but the Spaniard’s sightseeing only lasted one lap before the Swiss veteran resumed the lead. All these shenanigans allowed Marquez to bridge the gap, with Di Giannantonio pushing hard to keep in touch with the leaders. An average weekend quickly turned bad for Lorenzo Baldassarri, the pre-race championship leader down at turn ten after little over a handful of laps.
By lap ten, Luthi had Marquez on his back, with Fernandez slowly losing touch with the leaders and being picked up by Di Giannantonio into turn one. The poleman didn’t look too comfortable as Navarro was looking threatening four tenths back but Fernandez soon found himself back on the provisional podium as Di Giannantonio went down in turn ten the next time around. Inheriting third and keeping third was a different story, Navarro harassing him straight away but Fernandez was putting up quite a fight.
Marquez had a brief look at the lead with ten laps to go before making it stick for good going into turn one on the next lap. With Baldassarri out of action, the battle for the win turned into the battle for the championship lead and Navarro was keen to have a say in that. Once the Spaniard sealed the deal on Fernandez, he was left with three seconds to recover on the leaders but the mountain did not seem as high given that Navarro found half a second in one lap.
Once Marquez settled at the front, Luthi kept close for a couple of laps but the Spaniard pulled another disappearing act, the gap growing to one full second with five laps left. The two seconds down to Navarro seemed like a step too far for the Speed Up rider too and the podium configuration looked settled. The only change for the next couple of laps was Marquez doubling his advantage and Navarro halving it but after a tense final lap for Luthi, the Swiss rider defended second place and Navarro settled for third.
The poleman took home a sensible fourth, while Bastianini crossed the line in a lonely fifth. Luca Marini was the eventual winner of the race-long fight for sixth place against Marcel Schrotter and Xavi Vierge but eighth position was still a decent result for Vierge after starting 20th on the grid. Sam Lowes and Testusa Nagashima completed the top ten.
One too many DNFs finally hurt Baldassarri, who drops from first to fourth in the title standings, while the podium in Montmeló becomes the new order in the championship. Marquez picks up the lead by seven points from Luthi, with Navarro 22 points down.
|3||9||Jorge NAVARRO||Speed Up||+2.532|
|16||77||Dominique AEGERTER||MV Agusta||+30.395|
|21||20||Dimas EKKY PRATAMA||Kalex||+44.461|
|96||Jake DIXON||KTM||1 Lap|
|62||Stefano MANZI||MV Agusta||6 Laps|
|21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Speed Up||9 Laps|
|7||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI||Kalex||16 Laps|
|27||Iker LECUONA||KTM||20 Laps|
|Not Finished 1st Lap|
|87||Remy GARDNER||Kalex||0 Lap|