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12 days ago
By motogp.com

Oliveira overcomes Marini to take the Championship lead

A second win of the season for the Portuguese rider as he beats Marini in last lap battle

Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) brilliantly battled his way to his second victory of the season in a phenomenal Moto2™ race at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky, fending off pole sitter Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) on the final lap as the Italian picks up his second consecutive podium, with teammate Francesco Bagnaia crossing the line third, conceding the lead in the Championship to the Portuguese rider in the process.

In a classic Brno battle, it was Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) who got the best launch as the lights went out, but it was Marini who led the pack heading into Turn 3, before the Spaniard moved to the front. It was a disastrous start for fellow Spaniard and teammate Joan Mir though, as he and the two Tech 3 Racing riders of Bo Bendsneyder and Remy Gardner crashed out of contention at Turn 5 – riders ok.

By lap four, Marquez had dropped to fifth and it was the two SKY Racing Team VR46 men who hit the front, with Oliveria and Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) keeping tabs on the two Italians. The younger Marquez brother then found his rhythm and bridged the gap to the leading quartet, getting himself into P3 before disaster struck – sliding out of contention at the final corner on lap nine.

Meanwhile, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) had made ground and joined the four at the front, quickly dispatching Vierge, Oliveira and Marini, before taking the lead on lap 13. Tyres then became a major factor as grip levels started to wear thin, with Oliveira making his way to the front at Turn 3 on lap 16, immediately creating a 0.4 gap before Marini was able to reel the Portuguese rider back in. By this time Vierge had dropped to 1.2 seconds back, with Bagnaia and Baldassarri then losing touch on the leading two with a lap to go.

Marini led the last lap after making a pass stick at Turn 3, before Oliveira fought back at the bottom of horsepower hill. The Italian then made his lunge up the inside heading into the penultimate corner, but the number 44 held the outside line to have the inside at the final turn – winning the drag race to the line and taking the Championship lead.

Bagnaia beat Baldassarri in the battle for the final podium position, with Vierge just managing to hold off Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 5th and 6th for the two respectively. Friday’s pace setter Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) came home seventh, with Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) grabbing his second consecutive top ten in eighth.

Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors) recovered well from a P22 grid position to earn a P9 finish at Brno, with Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) rounding out the top ten. Fabio Quartararo (Boost – Speed Up Racing) was 11th, with Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40) impressing again in 12th. Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors), Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) and Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) completed the point scoring positions in 13th, 14th and 15th.

Romano Fenati (Marinelli Snipers Team) jumped the start and then retired, as Alejandro Medina (SAG Team), Xavi Cardelus (Team Stylobike), Stefano Manzi (Forward Racing Team) and Danny Kent (Boost – Speed Up Racing) all crashed – riders ok.

The Moto2™ title pendulum swings once again as Oliveira takes over at the top as Austria beckons, can Bagnaia bounce back with a bang in Spielberg?