A cloudy and chilly Valencia welcomed the final intermediate class race of the season for 16 laps of shortened action due to a delay caused by the Moto3 race. Short but sweet it was, especially for Brad Binder, the sensational South African taking the final win of 2019 as a gift on both his and KTM’s final appearance in Moto2. Tom Luthi led the way for most of the race but had to make do with second place at the checkered flag, losing second in the championship in the process. Jorge Navarro completed the podium on his 100th grand prix start, after holding off a feisty Stefano Manzi.
Back at the start, Jorge Martin and Luthi were the winners of the holeshot competition, the Spaniard leading the way out of turn one ahead of the Swiss rider and poleman Navarro. Binder and Luca Marini were immediately in the mix, while front row starter Manzi got a bit bullied on lap one and pushed back to seventh. Meanwhile, Alex Marquez went from 15th on the grid to joining the top ten after the first few turns.
Martin could not cope with Luthi for long and a mistake into turn one next time around dropped him a handful of places and let Luthi in control of proceedings. The Dynavolt rider was not having it all his own way though, Binder lining up red hot laptimes and attacks on his rival but not really making it stick in the early stages. Given the pace that the two leaders were showing, only Navarro managed to tag along for a podium ride, Manzi and Martin trading the lead of the chasing pack. The chasers also included the rest of the usual contenders: Xavi Vierge, Marquez, Marini, Fabio Di Giannantonio and Augusto Fernandez.
By lap five, Luthi looked comfortable at the front and was keeping a few tenths in hand over the Red Bull KTM rider but Binder was still keeping a close eye on the man ahead. Meanwhile, Manzi was rapidly catching up with Navarro, who was dropping the leaders and having to defend the final podium spot. Nearly three seconds down the road, Marquez took the lead of the sizeable next group but it was too late for a podium charge.
Binder made a first attack with six laps remaining but it only lasted for half a lap, Luthi gliding past at turn six. The shenanigans also allowed Navarro and Manzi to tag along for the ride but they were also having to cope with the wind picking up speed. Alex Marquez looked like cruising to a lonely fifth but crashed at turn 11 with four laps remaining.
Binder had a fair few goes at Luthi at turn two and eight on the penultimate lap and started the final lap in the lead. While Binder was running away with the victory, Manzi got one attempt at the podium in turn six but fourth was the best he could offer MV Agusta to end the season. Martin inherited fifth after the world champion’s crash, while Fernandez, Vierge, Marini, Di Giannantonio and Sam Lowes rounded out the top ten. Di Giannantonio’s ninth place was enough to secure him Rookie of the Year, while Binder’s victory also gets his second in the championship ahead of Luthi, only three points behind the world champion - all three men unpacking the tuxedo for the Sunday night gala.
|3||9||Jorge NAVARRO||Speed Up||+1.045|
|4||62||Stefano MANZI||MV Agusta||+1.185|
|9||21||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Speed Up||+11.739|
|12||77||Dominique AEGERTER||MV Agusta||+17.160|
|25||20||Dimas EKKY PRATAMA||Kalex||+28.179|
|69||Sean Dylan KELLY||KTM||2 Laps|
|3||Lukas TULOVIC||KTM||11 Laps|