With the sun blazing down on the grid as riders were lining up for their start, it was always going to be a tough proposition for the intermediate class but the clear winner of the endurance race ended up being Enea Bastianini. The Italtrans rider dominated proceedings to score his first victory in the class and held off a strong Luca Marini. Despite the slight embarrassment of a cool down lap tangle for the SKY Racing duo, both riders got to taste the prosecco, with Marco Bezzecchi turning pole position into a maiden podium in Moto2.
Bezzecchi had made a solid launch off the line, followed by Bastianini and Marini and the Italian trio set themselves apart as the strongest men right from the start. Front row starter Sam Lowes got swallowed by the pack, allowing Jorge Navarro and Aron Canet past. Bastianini sat Bezzecchi up at turn 6 to lead the way by the end of the first lap, followed by the SKY duo and a quickly recovering Lowes. Meanwhile, championship leader Tetusta Nagashima and Lorenzo Baldassarri dropped a couple of positions off the line, riding outside of the top 15.
Bastianini was pushing to stretch a gap at the front, over half a second by lap three, while Marini picked up the task of reeling him in and together with Bezzecchi and Lowes, the four men were starting to run away from the rest of the pack. The leaders were almost a second ahead by the time Navarro got control of that second group on lap five, with Martin, Canet and Tom Luthi closely behind him. However, Navarro had to drop one spot for overtaking under a yellow flag and the exchange made them lose even more time on the lead group. That proved to be the least of Navarro’s worries, the Spaniard abandoning ship at turn nine on the tenth lap.
Back at the front, Marini was catching up with Bastianini by the halfway mark of the race, while Bezzecchi lost over a second and a half on his leading compatriots and was fending off Lowes. Marini showed a front wheel here and there but bided his time on a serious attempt to grab the lead. It looked like Marini was comfortably waiting for the later stages to make his move but Bastianini suddenly started posting red sector times and stretched his gap to a full second, Bezzecchi doing the same on Lowes in the battle for third. Bastianini was untouchable after that, with Marini safe in second and Bezzecchi keeping Lowes just far enough to secure a podium. Rookie Canet rode a lonely final half of the race to grab a fine fifth place, with Martin and Luthi also enjoying their own company a few seconds down the road.
Meanwhile, Nagashima found some pace late in the race and was knocking on the doors of the top ten for the final laps. With significant gaps in between the first seven positions, the battle for the remaining top ten spots was the only entertainment in the final stages of the race, with Marcel Schrotter fending off Xavi Vierge, Nicolo Bulega and Nagashima. Vierge was the ultimate winner there, with Stefano Manzi also joining the party in the final laps to grab ninth place. Schrotter rounded out the top ten, while a wobbly last corner demoted Nagashima back to 11th position.
Despite the tough day at the office, Nagashima keeps the lead in the championship by a mere 2 points from Bastianini and 5 points ahead of Marini. Canet joins the top four, while a late crash for Baldassarri drops him to fifth, 22 points down on the leader.
|5||44||Aron Canet||Speed Up||+9.155|
|9||62||Stefano Manzi||MV Agusta||+20.199|
|18||21||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Speed Up||+30.895|
|20||27||Andi Farid Izdihar||Kalex||+41.793|
|7||Lorenzo Baldassarri||Kalex||3 Laps|
|24||Simone Corsi||MV Agusta||4 Laps|
|55||Hafizh Syahrin||Speed Up||11 Laps|
|9||Jorge Navarro||Speed Up||14 Laps|
|35||Somkiat Chantra||Kalex||18 Laps|
|40||Hector Garzo||Kalex||19 Laps|
|19||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Kalex||19 Laps|
|99||Kasma Daniel||Kalex||20 Laps|
|96||Jake Dixon||Kalex||21 Laps|