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Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Marquez took victory at the Grande Prémio de Portugal Circuito Estoril after a phenomenal last-lap battle with compatriot Pol Espargaró.
Repsol’s Marc Marquez took the holeshot and led the opening stages from Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi, whilst Technomag-CIP’s Dominique Aegerter made it into third with a brilliant start. Lüthi soon made it past Marquez on the home straight, as Aegerter was passed by Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró and JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco.
Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone and Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding soon also got past Aegerter and chased down the leading four to dice for podium positions. As the pack settled down somewhat on lap five, Zarco made a move on Espargaró to take third, as Iannone took advantage of the tussle to briefly slip into fifth. On the same lap, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Yuki Takahashi crashed out of 17th place, but escaped unscathed.
Espargaró ran wide on the following lap, yet managed to hang on to the back of the leading group and re-join the fight. Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Gino Rea went into the pits with an electrical problem, and subsequently had to retire.
With 18 laps to go, Lüthi started to pull out a small lead, while Zarco managed to push past Marquez into second. This was short lived, as Espargaró pulled off a stunning move on the pair at the end of the straight a lap later to jump up to second.
Iannone was hanging on to fifth, yet ran wide onto the gravel with 16 laps left and re-joined the pursuing group with Redding, Mapfre Aspar Team’s Toni Elías and Espargaró’s teammate Esteve Rabat. Further down the order, Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Axel Pons suffered a crash in the chicane, ending his race prematurely.
At the front, Lüthi could not run away from Marquez, who made a move on Espargaró to retake second, while Zarco was being dropped off slightly in fourth. Iannone was outpacing his group and running away with fifth, while Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi ran wide fighting for sixth, dropping back down the order.
With just over nine laps to go, Marquez was on Lüthi’s tail looking to steal top spot. Two laps later, both Marquez and Espargaró took advantage of the slipstream to displace Lüthi into third, and Spanish pair soon pulled out a margin as they repeated their previous race’s dice for the win.
Rabat copied his teammate Pons and crashed in the chicane late on, followed closely by Corsi. On the same lap, S/Master Speed Up’s Mike Di Megilo ended his weekend early with a crash as well. An entertaining battle between Elías and NGM Mobile’s Alex De Angelis was taking place for seventh, as the old teammates went fairing to fairing. Shortly after, Elías also had Marc VDS’ Mika Kallio to contend with as well, as the pair swapped positions frequently.
It was however Marquez and Espargaró who provided one of the best last lap battles seen in Moto2, as the pair swapped positions in the final seconds, with Marquez coming out on top after a mistake by Espargaró going into the final chicane.
This makes it two wins from three races for Marquez to extend his championship lead. Lüthi took the final spot on the podium, followed by Zarco, Iannone and De Angelis. Rounding out the top ten are Toni Elías, Blusens Avintia's Julián Simón, Mika Kallio and Tech 3 Racing's Bradley Smith.
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