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SKY Racing Team VR46's Marco Bezzecchi has his first Moto2™ victory despite coming across the line in second place behind Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in a dramatic BMW M Grand Prix of Styria. The Spaniard took the chequered flag and began celebrating an Austrian double only for the former Moto3™ World Champion to be told in Parc Ferme he needs to park in P2, not P1, after exceeding track limits on the exit of Turn 8 on the final lap of the race. As a result, Bezzecchi stood on the top step of the podium alongside Martin and Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team).
Martin took the holeshot from second on the grid, with poleman Aron Canet (Openbank Aspar Team) settling into second behind him. EG 0,0 Marc VDS' Augusto Fernandez became the first faller on the opening lap as the Spaniard tucked the front at the final corner out of fourth place. Rookie Canet then joined him in the gravel, tucking the front after braking a tad too late downhill into Turn 4.
The second of the EG 0,0 Marc VDS riders, Sam Lowes, then crashed out too in a nasty incident at Turn 3. The Brit got it horribly wrong on the brakes and wiped out the innocent Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Jorge Navarro (EG0+ Speed Up) without any warning. Lowes rejoined but was handed a black flag for his error, however, his race came to an end with a second crash instead of pulling out of the race due to his disqualification.
15 laps were left in the Red Bull Ring when Gardner edged his way past former title leader Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) for second place with Bezzecchi right on Nagashima's tail too. The Japanese rider was demoted back to fourth moments later when Bezzecchi got the job done for third into Turn 4.
Five further laps ticked by before Bezzecchi was then able to draft his way past Gardner on the run up the hill towards Turn 3 but Gardner was imperious on the brakes, coming from a postcode further back to somehow get back under the Italian. However, the Aussie's lunge hampered his drive out of Turn 3 and Bezzecchi took the place back before then tapping the rear of his Kalex to indicate he felt he had the pace to chase down the race leader.
Martin up to this point had had a fairly uneventful race but that was all to change with Bezzecchi putting together the late charge of all late charges. 1.8 seconds was the Spaniard's advantage before that then became 1.2 seconds with six laps left. In the space of two laps, the advantage was halved to 0.6 of a second and suddenly the former Moto3™ sparring partners were about to go to war in Moto2™ for the first time.
Time was running out for Bezzecchi though, he only had two laps left to find a move on Martin, who himself was desperately trying to respond. The pair entered the final lap with nothing between them and despite all of the pressure, Martin came across the line to seemingly clinch a Red Bull Ring double with victory in the Austrian and Styrian Grands Prix.
However, upon review, Martin did exceed track limits by the narrowest of margins on the exit of Turn 8 on the final lap and consequently was demoted one place, meaning Bezzecchi's late pressure had paid off and he was a Moto2™ race winner for the first time in his career.
Gardner was a second adrift of the top two in third to secure only his second career rostrum, a first trip to the podium for the likeable and determined Australian since Argentina last year. Nagashima will be hoping to reignite his title challenge after taking fourth, the best result since a hat-trick of finishes outside of the top ten. Completing the top five Liqui Moly Intact GP's Tom Lüthi.
Petronas Sprinta Racing's Xavi Vierge held off late pressure from Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46), who extended his World Championship lead out to eight points as a result. Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) enjoyed his first top ten Grand Prix finish after fighting past Hector Garzo (FlexBox HP40) in the closing stages to take a commendable eighth place finish, before Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) completed the top ten.
1. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46)
2. Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo)*
3. Remy Gardner (Onexox TKKR SAG Team) + 1.027
4. Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 1.974
5. Tom Lüthi (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 3.230
6. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 6.196
7. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 8.634
8. Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 9.005
9. Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP 40) + 9.620
10. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) + 10.051
*demoted one place for exceeding track limits on the last lap
9 months ago