After an emotionally exhausting MotoGP race and banished to the end of the day’s schedule once more, the intermediate class wanted to do one better and put on quite a show. Augusto Fernandez turned a front row start into a fought out victory that only really looked on with half a lap left. The Spaniard robbed Jorge Navarro from what looked like a safe lead halfway through proceedings and the Speed Up rider had to make do with second place on the podium. Brad Binder had his turn in the limelight too, but late tyre troubles and Remy Gardner troubles relegated him to third.
It’s fairly unusual not to mention Alex Marquez by this point in the story and the poleman had made an excellent start to hold off Navarro, while front row starter Fernandez dropped to seventh position. While the pursuers were still sorting themselves out, Marquez and Navarro were getting away, over a second and a half ahead by lap four and already starting the exchanges up front. Marquez recovered the lead after Navarro’s early attacks, while Gardner picked up the task of drawing the two back in, together with Binder and Fernandez. After the promising early progress he made, Xavi Vierge was dropping back fast, into eighth position and under attack from Tom Luthi by lap five.
Things looked to be unfolding in fairly familiar fashion until misfortune hit Marquez, the Spaniard making a rare mistake at Brooklands on lap seven and leaving Navarro as the sole leader. While Marquez was pacing the service road, Binder was trying to create another battle for victory but had one second to reduce to make that happen. The KTM rider was taking Fernandez with him but Gardner was falling into his teammate’s claws one second behind the podium battle. Despite the championship leader’s drama, Tom Luthi was struggling to profit too much as he had to recover from his worst qualifying position of the season and was battling for seventh place with Lorenzo Baldassarri.
For the next couple of laps all eyes were on Binder getting closer and closer to Navarro, starting the final seven laps with a three tenths gap and with Fernandez glued to the duo. Binder made his first attack at the end of that lap into Brooklands and Navarro was soon getting harassed by Fernandez. It quickly became clear that the victory battle would be reserved for the trio and Navarro hit the front once again into Stowe with four laps left. Fernandez smelled weakness and his exchanges with Binder allowed Navarro a bit of a breather up front and brought Gardner back within reach of the podium.
The quartet merged for the final two laps and it promised fireworks to the line. Navarro started the final lap a tenth ahead of Fernandez but Gardner’s squabbles with Binder lost them almost a second on the duo. Fernandez hit the front for the first time with half a lap left, picking Navarro’s pocket at Vale, with Navarro soon retaliating but unable to hold on through Brooklands and Fernandez took the checkered flag half a second ahead of his compatriot. Binder managed to defeat Gardner for the final podium spot, while Tetsuta Nagashima was best of the rest in fifth, over two seconds down the road. Rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio grabbed a solid sixth place, while Tom Luthi surrendered to Baldassarri in the battle for seventh.
With Marquez’s non-score and Luthi’s mild performance, that brings some more characters to the championship play, Fernandez, Luthi and Navarro and all 35 points down on Marquez. Binder climbs a few places to trail the leader by 56 points.
|2||9||Jorge NAVARRO||Speed Up||+0.489|
|6||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Speed Up||+9.065|
|17||62||Stefano MANZI||MV Agusta||+21.159|
|18||77||Dominique AEGERTER||MV Agusta||+22.746|
|22||Sam LOWES||Kalex||1 Lap|
|38||Bradley SMITH||Kalex||10 Laps|
|73||Alex MARQUEZ||Kalex||13 Laps|