De Angelis secures season-first win in dramatic wet Sepang race

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Sunday, 21 October 2012

NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis took his maiden-Moto2™ win this season in a hugely dramatic and soaking wet Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang, finishing ahead of Anthony West and Gino Rea.

Following a torrential downpour before the start, the race was delayed by half an hour and declared wet by Race Direction. The first corner took its first casualty as Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami dropped his bike out of the lead. A few bends later there was a further crash with JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco and Tech 3 Racing’s Xavier Siméon, also causing Marc VDS Racing Team’s Mika Kallio to run off track.

The early stages were being led by Blusens Avintia’s Julián Simón, De Angelis and Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Gino Rea, with the Brit making terrific headway in the early stages. Nakagami, who had re-mounted, fell once again after colliding with JiR Moto2’s Eric Granado. QMMF Racing Team’s Anthony West had fought his way into fourth and Kallio’s teammate Redding was in fifth 17 laps in, as Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi was handed a ride-through penalty for a jump-start.

A lap later, Rea’s teammate Ratthapark Wilairot lost the front of his bike, as Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez held steady in sixth, ahead of his Tuenti Movil HP 40 title rival Pol Espargaró, who was struggling in 12th. The weather added yet another cruel twist, as sun started to dry out the track rapidly, with a dry line forming quickly. Márquez was not taking any risks, and Petronas Raceline Malaysia’s wildcard Hafizh Syahrin made his way past, much to the delight of the home fans.

With 13 laps remaining De Angelis was in the lead, yet Rea was having great ride and was putting the pressure on the San Marino rider, as West made his way into third past Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi. A lap later Syahrin pushed past Lüthi as well, as Rea took the lead. The Malaysian wildcard was on a mission as he soon powered past West into third, and then skilfully took De Angelis, and then out-braked Rea for first in an amazing trio of overtakes. With nine laps remaining the rain started to fall heavier once more, and Rea began to fight back with Syahrin holding strong, until De Angelis and West also got involved in the battle for first.

There was however huge drama with seven laps remaining as Márquez lost the front of his bike and crashed out of the race, with Espargaró in a strong enough place to take the title fight to the next race. On the same lap there were also crashes for Kiefer Racing’s Mike Di Meglio and Mapfre Aspar Moto2 duo of Nico Terol and Jordi Torres. A lap later, Lüthi also put his bike in the gravel.

With four laps left De Angelis was pulling out a small gap in front with West in tow, but Rea was fighting back venomously as a three-way tussle ensued. This was however cut short as the Red Flag was shown with two laps to go with too much rain falling on the track. Rea was in the lead when the flag was waved, yet the classification was taken from the previous lap, giving De Angelis his maiden win of the season, with West is second and Rea in third, both taking their first-ever Moto2™ podiums. With Márquez’s title rival Espargaró finishing in 11th place, Márquez was unable to secure his title with only a 48-point lead and will have to try once more in Phillip Island. Fourth place went to Syahrin, ahead of Simón, Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone, Kallio, Smith, Technomag-CIP’s Dominique Aegerter and Espargaró’s teammate Esteve Rabat.

TAGS Malaysia

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