Márquez storms to stunning win in Motegi comeback

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Sunday, 14 October 2012

It was Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez who stormed to a stunning win in an eventful and thrilling Moto2™ race at the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan in Motegi in front of Pol Espargaró and Esteve Rabat.

The start already proved eventful as Márquez’s bike wasn’t in gear, causing him to head into the first corner almost last, as much of the grid passed him whilst he put it in gear. Yet as Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding led the early stages ahead of Tuenti Movil HP 40’s Pol Espargaró, Márquez impressively fought his way up to 7th within two laps. In frantic opening laps, the lead soon went to Espargaró’s teammate Esteve Rabat, whilst Italtrans Racing Team’s Toni Elías made his way into third.

With 19 laps to go Márquez had fought his way into fifth, while it was disappointing news for Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith, who had to retire with a mechanical issue after looking strong all weekend. A lap on and Espargaró re-found his stride and went into second again to chase his teammate, as a mistake by Redding let Márquez and Elías through.

With 17 laps remaining it was almost over for Espargaró as he nearly lost control of his bike at full lean, yet put in an incredible save. Márquez also did well to avoid him as he nipped into second. It was then up to Rabat to hold off the change from the championship leader, who was all over his rear wheel with 14 laps left. A lap later Márquez made use of the slipstream to go into the lead, whilst Espargaró had closed up in third. In the meantime, SAG Team’s wildcard Kohta Nozane was black-flagged after returning to the track after having previously retired.

Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio ran wide with 11 laps to go, dropping him back down the order, whilst Espargaró went past Rabat to chase down Márquez. A few laps later, Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Nico Terol copied Kallio and also ran wide at turn one on to the gravel. As the pack settled down, Espargaró caught up to Márquez with six laps to go as the pair rode a lonely race at the front. Three laps on and it was over for Elías as he crashed out of fifth place.

Espargaró tried to make his move half way through the penultimate lap, but nearly went into the back of Márquez. Having to avoid the crash caused his to run wide and drop back slightly. Rabat was holding strong in third, whilst Redding was trying to hold of Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi. Yet Espargaró fought back, though it was to no avail, as Márquez crossed the finish line first, with Rabat recording his first podium this season.

This now puts Márquez 53 points clear at the top of the championship standings making him the clear favourite for the title. Redding held on for fourth, ahead of Lüthi, Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi, Elías teammate Takaaki Nakagami, JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco, Espargaró’s teammate Axel Pons and Technomag-CIP’s Dominique Aegerter.

TAGS Japan

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