Moto2™: Marini, the leader; Martin, the dark horse

A big points lead was lost in the blink of a dramatic eye in the Austrian GP, and we had a new intermediate class Grand Prix winner

The moment of the Moto2™ race – for dramatic rather than positive reasons – was most definitely the crash for former points leader Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) that, along with the aftermath, brought out the Red Flag. No one was seriously injured and the race was restarted for a 13-lap sprint, but Bastianini’s position as Championship leader evaporated as he couldn’t restart. His key rivals could, and one especially took the opportunity: Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46).

New points leader Marini was battling a more difficult grid position before the restart, when the work he’d put in before the Red Flag then repaid him with a front row for the second lights out. That put him straight back in contention for the win, and although he couldn’t take the full 25 points, he took a valuable second place to take over at the top overall. Can Bastianini bounce back from that crash and turn the tables? Or will another name again manage the same?

The winner of the Austrian GP is most definitely the favourite heading into the second race at the Red Bull Ring, at least to take the the top step: Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo). He’d looked threatening at times so far in 2020 despite not taking a victory in Moto2™ until Sunday, but when he did, it was in ‘traditional’ Martin style: bolting from the front and able to pull clear with incredible pace and precision. Was that a turning point? His rivals will be looking to make up the gap with time to analyse the data, but Martin’s advantage over the line was such that it will be a hard slog to do so. In only 13 laps he pulled out over two seconds… and that was just to Marini. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) was another 2.6 seconds down the road in third.

The three on the podium will certainly be hoping to fight for it again, but can they keep that pace? Will a longer race actually play into the hands of those not able to stay with Martin’s bolt off the line? The likes of Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) will hope so after their mammoth battle for fourth – won by the Briton – and Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), who started from pole initially but then crashed out, will be another looking for more. Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) too – the Japanese rider needs to bounce back from some tougher races…

Martin was a force to be reckoned with in the Austrian GP. Now it’s time to reset and reload for the BMW M Grand Prix of Styria, with the Spaniard looking to do it again – but plenty eager to stand in his way.

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