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The Gran Premio Red Bull de la República Argentina saw Johann Zarco back flipping with excitement after his win.
Zarco converted his pole position to a win after a close call with Rabat on the opening lap. The pair swapped positions several times before Rabat ran off track at Turn 3. It was a case of making the best of a bad situation for the Spaniard from that point on, eventually able to finish in 12th ahead of his teammate Alex Marquez who was 15th. With 17 points, Rabat is 11th in the Championship, a surprising result after his domination of the class in the early part of 2014. There are 36 points between Rabat and first-time Championship leader Zarco. The Frenchman was able to push hard after the incident and create a comfortable gap.
While Zarco escaped at the front, a battle emerged between Lowes, Rins, Kallio and Simeon. Sam Lowes held the advantage for much of the race. The Austin winner repeatedly looking as though he was closing on Zarco, but the Frenchman always responded. A maiden Moto2™ win saw Zarco celebrate with a perfect back flip in front of the delighted Argentinian fans. “I am so happy to take the win and the Championship lead. I pushed like in practice and we had a good gap. Thanks to my team and sponsors for helping me to this first Moto2 win,” he said.
Lowes also had to deal with pressure from behind him as Rins stalked the Brit, coming stronger later in the race. Brake problems for Kallio saw his podium challenge fade with Lowes and Rins subsequently breaking away from the Finn.
The gap between Lowes and Rins evaporated, as Rins appeared to have more grip left in his Dunlop tyres. Sam Lowes knew Rins’ strength and wanted to follow him to identify where he was weak ahead of a last lap move, the Brit looked behind and Rins happily took the opportunity to get past. A series of fast laps saw Rins finish 1.4 seconds ahead of Lowes and claim second in only his third Moto2™ race. “During the whole race I was very comfortable. Lowes made a mistake I think so I pushed passed him and pushed hard for the last few laps,” said the Paginas Amarillas HP 40 rider.
Lowes reflected, “I wanted to follow him and see what he could do, but then he had a lot more pace than me. I knew he’d probably get past but I was happy to get my second podium.” The Moto2™ championship sees Zarco, Rins and Lowes split by just twelve points with a close title battle emerging between the trio. Both Zarco and Lowes have shown they can win races, but have suffered from mistakes and bad luck whereas Rins has had a steady run of top five results despite his rookie status.
Perhaps the most impressive ride of the day came from Jonas Folger, the German suffering a similar fate to Rabat on the first lap. The pair fought through the field but Folger put in an outstanding performance in the closing laps to get up to ninth position at the close. The German’s fastest lap came at the end and was a 1’43.001, a new race lap record for the Termas de Rio Hondo. With this pace Folger could have challenged for a win, were it not for his opening lap incident.
After his sixth in Austin, Hafizh Syahrin was again in the top ten on his Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex. He has made significant steps forward this year and is beating many other riders, such as Dominique Aegerter and Luis Salom, with much more experience in the World Championship. When the paddock heads to Malaysia the home fans may give him the boost he needs to fight for the podium, even in dry conditions.
It was an unfortunate end to the race for Xavier Simeon, the Belgian contesting for a podium spot during much of the race until a crash on the 17th lap ended his chances. He was able to remount and eventually crossed the line in 22nd. Simeon is proving to be a fast starter, leading the race in the opening stages despite starting from the third row.
There was also falls for Julian Simon, Simone Corsi and Louis Rossi. All riders were OK and Simon remounted for 26th spot.
The riders now head to Jerez where Mika Kallio won last year. However if his fourth, third and second place finishes are a trend it could well be Rins taking the top step of the podium at home.
Check out the full Moto2™ race results here.
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