The second race of the day had a much less dramatic plotline to begin with, championship leader Pecco Bagnaia turning pole position into a undisputable and loudly celebrated home win, crossing the line three seconds ahead of his nearest rival. And his nearest rival on track was the same as in the title fight, Miguel Oliveira making a swift comeback from a lowly grid position to limit the damage with a second place. The final podium spot went to Marcel Schrotter at his 151st attempt – the German’s first podium close to being a second position but Oliveira proved a hard man to find a way around.
Bagnaia had made a fine launch from pole position, holding off Schrotter and Mattia Pasini into turn one. Another rocket start from Oliveira was rewarded with a couple of positions in turn one and allowed him to join the podium battle straight away but it already looked too late for the win as Bagnaia had built over a second’s gap at the front by the first crossing of the line. To start the heartbreak early this time around, Alex Marquez was taken out on lap one from the edges of the top ten.
By lap four, Pasini was edging ever closer to Bagnaia, with Oliveira leading the charge over a second and a half back, with Schrotter, Joan Mir and Brad Binder pushing the Portuguese rider close behind. Fabio Quartararo lost some ground at the start but he did not look totally out of contention at this stage, half a second off the chasers and in the company of Jorge Navarro and Xavi Vierge.
While the final podium place looked like it was going to turn into a street brawl, Bagnaia and Pasini were checking out at the front, the SKY rider keeping his compatriot at a comfortable distance, consistently over a second away by lap eighth. Another two seconds behind, Oliveira and Schrotter were posting personal best times to edge ahead of Mir and Navarro, the Gresini rider getting all the praise after a fast comeback through the pack.
On lap ten, smoke started pouring out the back of Luca Marini’s machine, stopping an excellent run of form for the young Italian and causing brief concern over track conditions. It ended up being just something rubbing against the rear tyre and teammate Bagnaia continued to showcase the other gorgeous special-liveried SKY machine over two seconds ahead of the pursuers.
Meanwhile, Oliveira and Schrotter had caught up with Pasini at the halfway point of the race but the Portuguese rider waited until the final eight laps to make his move, with the German following two laps later. With podium places assured, Pasini fading behind him and Mir another second back, there was little more Oliveira could do as Bagnaia was three seconds ahead. Meanwhile, Mir got the best of Navarro and the Gresini youngster was then hit with a one position penalty due to exceeding track limits, causing him to lose three seconds and dropping into hard battle with Baldassarri, Binder and Quartararo.
Status quo was maintained amongst the podium positions and the focus for the last four laps was on Mir’s pursuit of Pasini for fourth, the Marc VDS rider swiftly claiming the position. Pasini could breathe a sigh of relief that the next man was Baldassarri, four seconds down the road but the Italian got lucky when Mir had to give the place back due to track limit infringements, leaving the two embroiled in battle on the final lap, the ultimate victor being Pasini. To add a pinch of drama to proceedings, Romano Fenati unpleasantly stole the show for the final three laps, the Italian getting angry at Stefano Manzi following an earlier tangle and then being black flagged for attempting to grab his compatriot’s front brake lever in a poorly (or not at all) thought out vendetta.
Bagnaia eventually crossed the line with no drama whatsoever, while Schrotter was oh-so-close to Oliveira through the final lap but his one aggressive attack ran him wide and allowed Oliveira back past. Pasini was best of the rest and as good as the veteran could expect, with Mir settling for fifth due to his own infractions. Baldassarri finished sixth, almost three seconds down the road, ahead of Quartararo, Binder and Navarro, with Xavi Vierge low key completing the top ten.
Bagnaia’s dominating victory extended his lead in the championship but Oliveira limited the loss as much as possible, now eight points behind his rival. Marquez rejoined the action after the early incident and finished the race but the no-score dropped him to sixth in the championship, promoting Binder to third.
|7||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||Speed Up||+12.068|
|12||87||Remy GARDNER||Tech 3||+25.582|
|20||64||Bo BENDSNEYDER||Tech 3||+41.814|
|22||89||Khairul Idham PAWI||Kalex||+53.390|
|40||Augusto FERNANDEZ||Kalex||4 Laps|
|62||Stefano MANZI||Suter||7 Laps|
|45||Tetsuta NAGASHIMA||Kalex||10 Laps|
|12||Sheridan MORAIS||Kalex||12 Laps|
|22||Sam LOWES||KTM||14 Laps|
|10||Luca MARINI||Kalex||16 Laps|
|52||Danny KENT||Speed Up||24 Laps|
|13||Romano FENATI||Kalex||0 Lap|