A sunny Motorland Aragon set the scene for the intermediate class battle, which went on until the final few turns of a tense and occasionally dramatic race. For the second week in a row, Sam Lowes was rewarded for his persistence with victory, following a dismal afternoon for the SKY Racing team. Having started 12th, Enea Bastianini turned his weekend around and then turned the championship battle around, regaining the lead with a fine second place in Aragon. Jorge Martin was a redoubtable adversary for the Italian but had to settle for the final podium position.
At the start of the 21 laps, it was Marco Bezzecchi who got the holeshot from poleman Lowes, while Jake Dixon got past front row starter Fabio Di Giannantonio but the Italian quickly recovered and was soon attacking Lowes for second. Keen not to allow Bezzecchi to run away, as the Italian had stretched an eight tents advantage on lap one, Lowes picked up the chase on lap two from Di Giannantonio, with Martin, Dixon, Luca Marini, Bastianini, Remy Gardner and Marcos Ramirez close behind. A one second gap separated the lead group from a second one including Augusto Fernandez, Joe Roberts, Tom Luthi and Xavi Vierge.
While Lowes was pushing to reduce the gap to the runaway leader, the drama started behind them, Marini abandoning the lead group as he crashed out at turn 14 and had to watch from the sidelines how his championship lead seemed to be going the way of his teammate. The incident left a slight gap between the leaders and Bastianini, who was pushing to rejoin the podium battle, having disposed of Gardner & Co.
Lowes had caught up with Bezzecchi by lap six and brought Di Giannantonio with him, leaving Martin, Dixon and Bastianini almost a second behind. As close as he got, Lowes did not have it easy finding a way past the rapid Italian and the British rider’s small mistake on lap eight got punished by Di Giannantonio, who swiftly picked up the chase. The leading trio kept in close proximity but Martin was drawing ever closer to the group, while gently dropping Bastianini and Dixon.
Bezzecchi continued to run an impeccable race at the front as the race reached lap 10 but Di Giannantonio saw an opportunity at turn 14, which the Speed Up rider fully embraced but the lead did not seem to suit him well as he became the next victim of turn 2. Bezzecchi inherited the lead once more, but under pressure from Lowes once again, and with Martin and Bastianini eyeing the victory battle as well, seven tenths behind the leading duo but yo-yoing in and out of contention for the next few laps. Bastianini was a man on a mission, taking third away from Martin at turn 13 with 7 laps to go but the Spaniard hit back at turn 1 and the Italian had to do it all over again on the next lap.
While that battle was unfolding, Bezzecchi and Lowes had gained an advantage of nearly three seconds at the front but Lowes seemed to struggle to keep up with Bezzecchi too, consistently six tenths behind. Bastianini had to give up any aspirations at the victory battle given the gap with five laps remaining, but Martin did not make it easy to keep the podium spot either, glued to his tail for those final laps.
It all seemed pretty settled as the race entered the final 2 laps but the turn 2 curse struck once again, catching out Bezzecchi and gifting Lowes the lead. Meanwhile, Martin attacked Bastianini in what became the battle for second, the Spaniard starting the final lap ahead but the Italian set up a fine move at turn 13 to grab second, as well as the championship lead. Martin settled for third, with Dixon in a solid but lonely ride to fourth. Gardner joined the top five ahead of Ramirez and Hector Garzo, while Roberts, Tetsuta Nagashima and Simone Corsi rounded out the top ten positions.
Bastianini’s late move secured him the lead in the world championship, 2 points ahead of Lowes and 5 ahead of Marini, with Bezzecchi 25 points back.
|10||24||Simone Corsi||MV Agusta||+20.206|
|14||62||Stefano Manzi||MV Agusta||+23.301|
|17||19||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Kalex||+26.862|
|19||55||Hafizh Syahrin||Speed Up||+27.761|
|22||27||Andi Farid Izdihar||Kalex||+44.779|
|24||18||Xavi Cardelus||Speed Up||+47.231|
|27||9||Jorge Navarro||Speed Up||3 Laps|
|72||Marco Bezzecchi||Kalex||2 Laps|
|21||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Speed Up||11 Laps|
|10||Luca Marini||Kalex||19 Laps|