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EG 0,0 Marc VDS’ Alex Marquez eased his way to a first win in the Moto2™ class since Motegi 2017 after a dominant ride at the Shark Helmets Grand Prix de France. The Spaniard closes in on the World Championship lead after standings leader Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP40) crashed out on the second lap, dislocating his right shoulder.
Dynavolt Intact GP’s Tom Lüthi took the holeshot from the middle of the front row and, in a dramatic opening, Italtrans Racing Team’s Andrea Locatelli highsided at Turn 3 in spectactular style. On lap two, the Championship leader Baldassarri tucked the front on the exit of Turn 10 and took Mattia Pasini, on his Petronas Sprinta Racing debut, with him, consequently blowing the title fight wide open.
Lüthi began to slip backwards from lap three onwards after the EG 0,0 Marc VDS duo of Marquez and Xavi Vierge slipped through into first and second place. Then, suddenly, Simone Corsi (Scuderia Tasca Racing Team) started to grab the attention of everyone. The experienced Italian made up thirteen places in the opening five laps of the race by moving from 18th on the grid to fourth, but he wasn’t done there.
Aiming for a first Grand Prix win since the Valencia 125cc GP of October 2008, Corsi moved through to third place, past Lüthi, and then Vierge for second a lap later. Marquez was over a second clear at the front by this point but the 32-year-old began to close in, lap by lap cutting the gap to the front.
That was until on Lap 11, the veteran made a rookie error, tucking the front end of his Kalex at Turn 13 and throwing away his chance of tasting victory nearly eleven years on from his last success. That crash handed Marquez a 1.5 second lead, which he slowly would stretch out to two seconds.
The battle for the podium raged on though, with Lightech Speed Up’s Jorge Navarro and FlexBox HP40’s Augusto Fernandez moving through to second and third. The Spanish duo, both fighting for back-to-back podium finishes, broke clear of Vierge in fourth.
In the closing laps the pair would swap places lap after lap, both making errors to allow the other back past, whilst at the front at the front Alex Marquez would comfortably take the chequered flag – a first Spanish win in the intermediate class since Marquez’ last victory back in October 2017.
In the fight for the podium spots behind, it was Navarro who would come out on top thanks to a last move up the inside into Turn 3, securing a third straight podium finish for the man now third in the standings – eleven points adrift of Baldassarri at the top. Another podium for Fernandez too though, making up for the Flexbox HP40 squad after the disappointment of Baldassarri’s crash.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder had his best finish of the season, after the introduction of a new chassis, by getting the better of Vierge for fourth. Lüthi, in damage limitation mode by the final laps, came across the line in sixth, meaning he’s now seven points behind Baldassarri heading to Mugello.
Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) took seventh place, a career best Moto2™ finish for the rookie, coming across the line ahead of Dynavolt Intact GP’s Marcel Schrotter and American Racing KTM’s Iker Lecuona, before SKY Racing Team VR46’s Nicolo Bulega rounded out the top ten.
1. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS)
2. Jorge Navarro (Lightech Speed Up) + 1.119
3. Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) + 1.800
4. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 6.015
5. Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) + 7.057
6. Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) + 9.401
7. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) + 10.095
8. Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) + 10.475
9. Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) + 11.246
10. Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 17.112
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