Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) won a phenomenal Moto2™ race at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley to close the Championship lead to just 13 points behind Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46), who crossed the line fourth. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) fought ferociously to get a home Grand Prix win, he finished second with Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) brilliantly taking his second consecutive podium in third.
Oliveira made a fantastic start, coming from P11 on the grid to make up six places going into the first corner, as race leader Marcel Schroetter (Dynavolt Intact GP) crashed at Turn 2. The Portuguese rider climbed his way up to third by the end of the first lap, then hit the front on lap three, with Bagnaia, Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team), Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Mir, Romano Fenati (Marinelli Snipers Team) and Baldassarri chasing behind.
SPRAY IT! ????????????— MotoGP™???????????? (@MotoGP) June 3, 2018
The taste of the podium!#ItalianGP pic.twitter.com/34Z9ZxV96W
The Jerez winner then started to carve his way forward, passing Marquez into Turn 1 and taking the second EG 0,0 Marc VDS bike of Mir soon after. By this point, Oliveira was keeping tabs on leader Pasini, before the Italian tucked the front into Turn 1 – heartbreak for the pole sitter. This was the start of a half-race battle between the number 44 and number 7, interchanging positions lap by lap, with the gap to Bagnaia and Mir stretching to over a second by lap 15.
It looked like it would be a two-horse race to the checkered flag between the two, however the ‘Jaws’ music then started to sound. With Baldassarri and Oliveira chopping and changing, Bagnaia and Mir smelt blood and the battle for the win soon became a four-way fight with three laps to go.
Going into a fantastic final lap, Baldassarri had a slight buffer. However, the 21-year-old then had a huge moment on the exit of Turn 5 pushing for an illustrious second home win, which allowed Oliveira to close in and pass the Italian into Turn 6. Bagnaia was third before running slightly wide at Savelli, allowing Mir to move into the final podium position. Despite Baldassarri’s best efforts, the KTM rider held firm and took the checkered flag, with rookie Mir fending off Championship leader Bagnaia.
Marquez couldn’t keep tabs with the leading quartet, the Spaniard finishing P5. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) had a great ride, finishing sixth after starting from 19th on the grid, 2.448 back from Marquez. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) had a strong ride at his home Grand Prix, finishing P7, with fellow Italian Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) getting his best result of the season in eighth.
Italian GP: Moto2™ Full Race
Starting from P12, Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) grabbed at top ten place in ninth, as Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) recorded his best finish of the year on his 250th Grand Prix start. Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up Racing) was P11 as he continues his good form. Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) scored a solid P12 on his injury return, with Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) picking up a solid 13th.
It was a great afternoon for the NTS RW Racing GP team at Mugello. Joe Roberts crossed the line P14 to take his first points of the season, with teammate Steven Odendaal just 0.019 behind him to take the final point scoring position.
Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors), Danny Kent (MB Conveyors – Speed Up Racing), Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Jules Danilo (Nashi Argan SAG Team) crashed – riders ok. It was hard luck for Fenati at his home Grand Prix, he retired from the race after battling with the top six. Hector Barbera (Pons HP40) then made contact with Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) at Turn 3, with both riders crashing out - the FIM Stewards are investigating the collision.
A thrilling race at Mugello sees the Championship close right up as the intermediate class head to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya… Will the battle be just as close there?
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