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Italtrans Racing Team's Enea Bastianini clinched a vital victory in the Moto2™ World Championship after rain heavily affected the Tissot Emilia Romagna and Rimini Riviera Grand Prix. Red flags were brought out after just seven laps as the heavens opened but, from the restart, the ultra-aggressive Bastianini edged clear to take the win ahead of SKY Racing Team VR46's Marco Bezzecchi and EG 0,0 Marc VDS' Sam Lowes and in doing so cut Luca Marini's title lead down to just five points.
It was Marini from pole position who got a strong start but there was an even better one coming from Petronas Sprinta Racing's Xavi Vierge as he squeezed his way into the lead and the hit the front of a Moto2™ race for the first time in 2020. There was a strong start coming from his Petronas Sprinta Racing teammate too as Jake Dixon settled into fifth.
Lap one was only just completed when Bezzecchi made a mistake into Turn 1, dropping himself back to sixth. Bastianini then got the gloves off nice and early with a brave dive past Marini, sending his compatriot wide and allowing Dixon to swoop through to third.
Marini recovered though and settled back into third, with Bastianini himself not wanting to hang around as he quickly set his sights on Vierge. He tried once again to muscle his way further up the field with an aggressive move on the Spaniard ahead, but Vierge saw it coming and was able to hold onto the lead for now.
In a frantic start, Bastianini then slipped back to third when Marini asserted some revenge on his title rival. He wasn’t the only SKY Racing Team VR46 man on the move too, as Bezzecchi’s recovery was aided by a move past Dixon into fourth. He then followed his teammate through on Bastianini too with a perfectly executed move into Turn 1.
Tennor American Racing's Joe Roberts suffered a huge highside further back and required a trip to the medical centre as a result, before thankfully being declared fit. Then, out of the blue, the rain started to fall on the Rimini Riviera and chaos quickly follow. Raindrops on the rider's visors clearly was effecting the leading group with Vierge, in particular, looking like he was struggling. The Catalan tentatively braked into Turn 7 and allowed Bastianini, Marini and Bezzecchi all to swoop through.
The rain was getting heavier by the second yet Fabio Di Giannantonio (Beta Tools Speed Up) continued to push to the limit and the Italian suddenly found himself in podium contention. Bastianini, meanwhile, was breaking clear at the front of the race when the red flags were brought out as a result of the rain starting to intensify. Riders filtered into pit lane and a ten lap restart was announced.
As the grid reformed for the restart, with everyone wearing slick tyres, the rain suddenly got heavier again and as the Moto2™ field set off on their Warm Up lap, the entire grid instantly pointed skywards and began wagging fingers to signal it was far too wet for the race to start. The rain eventually subsided and, after a short delay, a 10 lap dash for Emilia Romagna Grand Prix honours was underway.
Marini took control into Turn 1 with Bastianini settling in behind him. The Beast struck immediately though at Turn 4, sending the pair both high, wide and handsome with Vierge there to pounce, as the Spaniard took the lead. Marini, meanwhile, lost out big time with his fellow Italian’s move dropping him back to fifth. The Italtrans man then hit the front at the end of the opening lap, with Moto2™ delivering again from the restart.
Bastianini was given the chance to clear off into the distance with Vierge and Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) battling over second and he didn’t need a second invitation, stretching his lead out to a second with two laps now completed.
Marini lost out to Bezzecchi for fourth place and then he got beaten up by Sam Lowes over fifth place - valuable points slipping through the fingers of the Championship leader. Meanwhile, an incredible fight for the final podium places was ensuing with Vierge and Schrötter scrapping fiercely over second. The German moved through into Turn 7 and on the exit the pair were side by side, bashing elbows for good measure before contact again saw Vierge crash out.
Schrötter, as a result, dropped back to fourth and then fifth as Marini sliced with his way ahead of the Dynavolt Intact GP man. Lowes found himself up to third too, trying to go with the fastest man on the track with now three laps left: Marco Bezzecchi.
He was eight tenths quicker than Bastianini and suddenly, just like one week ago, Bezzecchi was hunting down the race leader at some rate. Two laps to go and it was seven tenths separating the two Italians at the front of the race with Bezzecchi visibly throwing everything at it. As the pair started the final lap, it was now just half a second.
Bastianini remained calm, though, and didn't fold under the mounting pressure to take a third intermediate class win of 2020. Bezzecchi came across the line on the back wheel to take second, a third consecutive top three finish for the Italian, and he was closely followed by Briton's Sam Lowes. Marini took 13 points in fourth place and kept hold off his World Championship lead but only just, with Bastianini now only five points adrift and breathing down his neck heading to Barcelona next weekend.
Schrötter eventually took fifth place, and will no doubt be trying to avoid Vierge when he's back in the paddock. Dixon got the better of Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) by three tenths of a second for sixth place and his best-ever Grand Prix result. Rounding out the top ten was Di Giannantonio, Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Hector Gazro (FlexBox HP40), who jumped up a place following a penalty for Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) for exceeding track limits on the final lap.
1. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team)
2. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.720
3. Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) + 1.124
4. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 2.310
5. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 4.123
6. Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) + 7.201
7. Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) + 7.558
8. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Beta Tools Speed Up) + 7.704
9. Tom Lüthi (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 7.762
10. Hector Garzo (FlexBox HP 40) + 8.249
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