An outstanding Moto2 race managed to nearly reach the bar set by the smaller class earlier on, a tense affair despite the victor checking out soon after the start and barely featuring on the TV screens. Sam Lowes made up for the bad luck and mistakes of recent races to take a splendid dominating win on his fiftieth grand prix start, crossing the line over three seconds ahead of the opposition.
The podium was decided in an extremely late teammate battle, Alex Marquez and Franco Morbidelli throwing the dice in the final turn and it coming out in favour of the local rider, Marquez second by a mere three hundredths of a second and grabbing his first podium in quite a long time.
It didn’t look like it was going to be that much trouble for Marquez after the start, the Marc VDS rider taking the lead in turn one. But an impatient Lowes got back his top spot, the duo already building a gap of a second ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri by the end of the first lap.
A bit further back, Johann Zarco lost some places in a tangle at the start, the world championship leader stuck in a fight with Franco Morbidelli. While that was going on, Alex Rins recovered a handful of places on the first laps, finding himself overtaking his title rival by lap three.
Lowes ran a hot pace at the front, keeping Marquez at bay, around half a second behind, the chasing group led by Thomas Luthi and including Baldassarri, Takaaki Nakagami, Jonas Folger, Rins and Morbidelli. Zarco continued to struggle, overtaken by Simone Corsi and riding around two seconds behind his main title rival.
With red sectors popping up all over the top ten, there was little action besides some moves from Nakagami and Morbidelli as Baldassarri appeared to fade away after being as high as third after the start.
With fourteen laps to go, the script settled, Lowes over a second ahead of Marquez, Luthi some two seconds behind the Spaniard, Nakagami and Morbidelli keeping close but not close enough to battle. Rins dropped a couple of seconds on the group, battling for sixth position with Baldassarri and a small group including Corsi, Zarco and Folger.
Ten laps left, the cameras turned to Morbidelli and Nakagami fighting for fourth spot, the rest of the top ten holding station. As Nakagami lost some ground to finish fifth, Morbidelli stalked Luthi to steal the last podium position with eight laps to go and set sights on his teammate. The Marc VDS duo started a remote battle, both riders setting red sectors, Marquez trying to keep the one-second gap and Morbidelli pushing to reduce that distance. The gap came down to three hundredths of a second on the final lap, the duo switching places in the final turn but Marquez back in front by the time they crossed the line.
Meanwhile, Zarco decided to pounce in an attempt to get closer to Rins in sixth place, overtaking Corsi but stuck behind Baldassarri in eighth position to the end of the race. In terms of championship standings, that leaves Zarco one little point ahead of Rins, race winner Lowes back in third and with a more manageable 40 points behind Zarco.
|9||24||Simone CORSI||Speed Up||+14.004|
|11||19||Xavier SIMEON||Speed Up||+22.413|
|17||97||Xavi VIERGE||Tech 3||+26.404|
|21||60||Julian SIMON||Speed Up||+30.505|
|28||32||Isaac VIÑALES||Tech 3||+55.889|
|29||52||Danny KENT||Kalex||1 Lap|
|89||Alan TECHER||NTS||14 Laps|