Lorenzo Baldassarri has taken his maiden Moto2 victory at Misano World Circuit after he successfully closed down long time race leader Alex Rins and defended beautifully on the final lap to hold off the determined Spaniard who despite running off track held on for second with Takaaki Nakagami completing the podium in third which is his third in a row at the Misano Circuit. Championship leader Johann Zarco recovered from a dreadful first few laps to finish fourth.
Just like the Moto3 race, the Moto2 riders were greeted by beautiful hot weather as they took to the grid but with track temperatures close to 50° we were in for a tricky but fascinating Moto2 race. It was championship leader Zarco who got a fantastic start and the Frenchman was in the lead by turn one, Nakagami got a similar start to Zarco but the Japanese rider ran too hot into turn one also pushing Thomas Luthi onto the run off area. The Swiss rider was able to rejoin the race easily in fourth but Nakagami wasn’t so fortunate and a small moment a couple of corners later resulted in the Honda Team Asia rider dropping to eighth by the end of lap one.
After an aggressive and drama filled couple of laps, a group of 6 had established its self at the front which contained all the main protagonists, one man that took full advantage of the tussle in the group was Alex Rins who cleverly picked his moves and made his way nicely through the group. As the group traded places very aggressively, Zarco all of a sudden found himself at the back of the group just behind other Championship contender Sam Lowes who was in fifth position. Just as the action quieted down It was Rins who found himself at the front of the race and establishing a significant gap on his chasers which had already grown out to 1.5 seconds by the end of seven.
With Rins now breaking clear, Lorenzo Baldassarri was the man stepping up to the challenge and he subsequently forced his way past Thomas Luthi and Franco Morbidelli and began to jump across the gap to Rins. Meanwhile in the battle for third, it was brutal as Lowes, Morbidelli and Nakagami battled it out ahead of Luthi and Zarco. Disaster struck however for Lowes when the Brit slid out of the race with thirteen laps to go, meaning he has probably now slid out of the Championship running aswell. Nakagami was the next man to break away but by the time the Japanese rider had made his way into third the gap out to Baldassarri and Rins and stretched to well over four seconds.
Rins, who hadn’t really shown much form throughout the free practice sessions and was still suffering with a sore collarbone from last weeks training accident, was starting to fall back into the Italian’s path and coming into the final two lap the overtake seemed inevitable but amazingly Rins defended his first position superbly but unfortunately coming near the end of the penultimate lap the Forward Racing man pounced, a fantastic overtake in front of his home crowd. Despite a late move by Rins on the final lap the overtake was unsuccessful and forced the Spaniard wide which sealed Baldassarri his maiden victory with Rins rounding off an incredible race in second.
Nakagami had a relatively lonely put positive race finishing in third. This is the third time in a row the Honda Team Asia rider has finished on the podium in Misano. Championship leader Zarco finished in a solid fourth position considering his race was close to being over in the beginning of the race. Franco Morbidelli rounded out the top five in front of his home crowd after a great battle with Silverstone winner Luthi who finished sixth. Petronas Raceline Malaysia rider Hafizh Syahrin had a great ride in seventh just ahead of Intact Dynavolt GP duo Jonas Folger and Sandro Cortese with a confidence building Alex Marquez finishing a solid race and completing the top ten.
The Moto2 grid head to the Aragon Circuit in two weeks time with local hero Rins only three points behind Zarco in the championship, the Spaniard will be hoping to take full control of the championship by the time we reach the three Asian/oceanic rounds.
Image Via: www.corsedimoto.com