Espargaro wins to retake championship lead

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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Pol Espargaro has retaken the Moto2™ World Championship lead, winning Sunday’s Tissot Australian Grand Prix in the absence of Scott Redding. Tom Luthi and Jordi Torres completed the podium, with Tito Rabat sinking to eighth.

When looking back at the Phillip Island round of the 2013 season, the race is likely to be remembered as a key turning point in the campaign. Redding’s chances took a major blow on Saturday, with the Englishman and long-time championship leader being ruled out of action as he fractured his left wrist. Following an operation on Saturday night, the Marc VDS Racing Team rider was left helpless on the sidelines.

Espargaro (Tuenti HP 40) started from his fifth pole of the season, joined on the front row by teammate and last weekend’s Sepang winner Tito Rabat who has demonstrated rapidity since practice began on Friday. A reduced race distance saw the riders tackling only 13 laps of the southern Australian venue, with fears over tyres having seen changes to the duration following the qualifying session on Saturday.

It would prove to be a lights-to-flag victory for Espargaro, his fifth of the season and allowing the Catalan to win at Phillip Island for the second consecutive year; in the process, he snatches back the championship lead for the first time since after the season-opening race in Qatar. In a brilliant day for Espargaro’s championship situation, teammate Rabat finished only eighth after running off the circuit.

Tom Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing) pushed Espargaro all the way, finishing only half a second behind Espargaro for a fifth rostrum of the season and his second within the space of a week. Jordi Torres was third for Aspar Team Moto2, collecting his first podium finish since winning the German Grand Prix in July.

The top five was completed by NGM Mobile Racing’s Simone Corsi and former Phillip Island winner Alex de Angelis, who ran second for NGM Mobile Forward Racing in the early stages of the race. Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio was seventh from the aforementioned Rabat, Aspar’s Nico Terol and QMMF Racing’s Anthony West who successfully finished in the top ten in his home event. Reigning Moto3™ World Champion Sandro Cortese was 11th for Dynavolt Intact GP from Forward’s Ricky Cardus and Tech3’s Danny Kent. In 14th place, Gino Rea scored two points for Argiñano & Gines Racing, while Indonesia’s Doni Tata Pradita achieved his maiden Moto2™ point for Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 by finishing 15th.

Five riders failed to finish: Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team), Johann Zarco (Came Iodaracing Project), Xavier Simeon (Maptaq SAG Zelos Team), Louis Rossi (Tech3) and Alex Mariñelarena (Blusens Avintia). Tuenti HP 40’s Alex Pons made the end in 24th after an early race off. Pons, Italtrans’ Takaaki Nakagami and Maptaq SAG Zelos Team’s Marcel Schrotter were all handed penalties for jumping the start.

With just the Japanese and Valencian rounds of the season remaining, Espargaro leads Redding in the championship by 16 points following a highly dramatic shaking up of the establishment. Rabat sits third, 36 points behind the leader with a maximum of 50 left on offer. The action will continue at Twin Ring Motegi next weekend.

TAGS Australia

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