Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) stormed to back-to-back success in the Moto2™ class after a masterful performance at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley. The Spaniard broke clear at half race distance and consequently sparks the title fight into life by closing to within just two points of the World Championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP40).
After dominating qualifying 24 hours earlier, the Dynavolt Intact GP duo of Marcel Schrötter and Tom Lüthi took control of the early running at Mugello after Lüthi took the holeshot and his German teammate tucked in behind as they tried to break clear.
Meanwhile, mid-pack a huge moment involving Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (MB Conveyors) at Turns 2 and 3 resulted in Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) crashing out unhurt, with Di Giannantonio somehow staying on with a remarkable save.
Back at the front and after five laps the Dynavolt Intact GP pair were eventually sucked back in by Marquez, who at this stage was joined by Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up). Marquez quickly slipped past Schrötter and Marini tried to follow suit, with an aggressive move on the German.
However, Schrötter replied straight back with a move of his own, only for Marini to get the job done at the following corner. Whilst out front, the scrap for third place had allowed Lüthi and Marquez to open up a comfort buffer of just under a second. With nine laps completed, Marquez made his move for victory by tucking in behind Lüthi down the start finish straight, popping out of the slipstream and executing the perfect Mugello move into Turn 1, San Donato.
The 23-year-old then began to edge clear, pulling out a tenth of a second every lap on Lüthi behind, who himself was falling under increasing pressure from a resurgent Marini. At half race distance Marquez was three quarters of a second clear but within three laps that became two seconds as the Kalex rider turned up the heat, with nobody able to put together any sort of reply.
Marini would react to the escaping Marquez with a strong move on Lüthi for second place but it was too little, too late as the French GP winner would take the chequered flag for the second time in weeks; again in seriously impressive style. After a disappointing start to the year with no top five finishes, Marini kick started his season with a second place finish.
Meanwhile, the ultra-consistent Lüthi would hold on for third podium finish of the season and an important 16 points in the Championship fight. Heading to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in two weeks, Marquez is now two points behind Baldassarri with Lüthi only another two points further back on today’s race winner. The World Championship leader put together a brilliant recovery race by climbing through from the fifth row of the grid to eventually take fourth place and hang on to the Championship lead he has held since the opening round of the year.
The Italian’s FlexBox HP40 teammate, Augusto Fernandez, was three tenths behind in fifth place, ahead of Italtrans Racing Team’s Enea Bastianini in sixth, a career best finish in Moto2™. Both Navarro and Schrötter eventually slipped back to seventh and eighth respectively, before Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Di Giannantonio rounded out the top ten.
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Moto2™ top ten:
1. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS)
2. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) +1.928
3. Thomas Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) +2.252
4. Lorenzo Baldassarri (FLEXBOX HP 40) +3.653
5. Augusto Fernandez (FLEXBOX HP 40) +3.973
6. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) +3.985
7. Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up) +4.986
8. Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) +6.215
9. Sam Lowes (Federal Oils Gresini Moto2) +11.466
10. Fabio Di Giannantonio (MB Conveyors Speed Up) +13.050