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Espargaró takes first ever victory in breathtaking Jerez race

Espargaró takes first ever victory in breathtaking Jerez race

Spanish youngster Pol Espargaró took his maiden Moto2™ victory in front of his home crowd at the Gran Premio bwin de España in a thrilling Moto2™ race that was cut short by rain.

The Pons 40 HP Tuenti rider got away fastest as he pushed pole sitter Marc Marquez wide into turn one. Interwetten-Paddock´s Tom Lüthi capitalized on this and soon took the lead. Second on the grid, Italtrans Racing Team´s Takaaki Nakagami had a less than ideal start being pushed back to ninth.

The opening lap was a typical Moto2 thriller as Marc VDS Scott Redding was fighting his way to the front with Espargaró, S/Master Speed Up´s Mike Di Meglio and Marquez. Takaaki´s team mate Claudio Corti was stalking the group in sixth, as Mapfre Aspar Team´s Toni Elias pushed himself past GP Team Switzerland´s Randy Krummenacher into seventh.

Lüthi was being chased down at the front by Redding, as Krummenacher retook Elias going into turn one. Marquez, not wanting to see the front-runner get away, made a move on Di Meglio to take third. Krummenacher was in valiant form, yet ran into turn one too hot and let Espargaró back through.

Scott Redding had a moment in the final turn hunting down Lüthi, while in the meantime, Marquez was making ground on the front two. QMMF Racing Team rider Elena Rosell crashed out of her home race, as she continues to struggle with the Moriwaki bike.

As the field stretched out, it was the front three that gave the crowd plenty to cheer about, as first Redding, then Marquez got past Lüthi with 19 laps to go. Pons 40 HP Tuenti´s Esteve Rabat suffered a fall and returned to the pit, before heading back out on track.

Shortly after, the charging Krummenacher who was hunting down the leaders, lost the front end in the final turn, followed instantly by Di Meglio. Krummenacher rejoined the race further down the field, while Di Meglio was forced to retire. Espargaró took advantage of the tussle in front as he joined the front three, still being led by Redding.

With 15 laps left, Marquez took the lead from Redding, though shortly after went wide into the final turn letting both Redding and Lüthi past. Meanwhile, Redding´s team mate Kallio was catching up to make it five at the front.

Lüthi passed Redding at the end of the home straight with 13 laps left, yet Marquez was unable to capitalize on the slowing Brit until a lap later after Redding ran it wide in the same turn.

To add yet another twist, it started to rain with 11 laps left, causing riders to push for front positions in case of a red flag. Kallio ran onto the gravel briefly, just before Marquez made his move to retake Lüthi for the lead, followed by Espargaró, who took second.

Marquez was pushing hard to pull out a lead, yet was taken by old 125cc foe Espargaró on turn 6, after which Lüthi once again rejoined their tail. As conditions started to deteriorate, Marquez once again pushed past Espargaró, yet it was too late, as the red flag came out shortly after.

With regulations stating that the person who led the last full lap (17 in this case) wins, provided that over 2/3rd of the race distance has been covered, it was Espargaró who took the win ahead of Marquez in second and Lüthi in third, in what was once again a breathtaking Moto2™ encounter.

The top ten was rounded out by Redding, Nakagami, Corti, Kallio, Technomag-CIP´s Dominique Aegerter, Toni Elias and JiR Moto2´s Johann Zarco.

Moto2, 2012, GRAN PREMIO bwin DE ESPANA, RAC

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