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20 days ago
By motogp.com

Martin pounces on Di Giannantonio heartbreak for victory

A thrilling final lap saw Di Giannantonio crash out of the lead as Bezzecchi's title hopes took a dent by being shuffled back to third

Red Bull KTM Ajo's Jorge Martin stole a last-gasp victory at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana as the Spaniard capitalised on MB Conveyors Speed Up's Fabio Di Giannatonio crashing out with only half a lap remaining. The number 88 dived through on Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) in the final sector and was able to hold off compatriot Hector Garzo (FlexBox HP40) on the run to the line to wrap up win number two of his Moto2™ career. Bezzecchi being shuffled back to third means Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) will take a 14 point lead to the season finale in Portimao.

Di Giannantonio throws away debut win with last lap crash

From the outside of the front row, it was Bezzecchi who got a great start and looked likely to take the holeshot but an aggressive Martin dived through at Turn 1 to take the holeshot. Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) settled into second from pole position, just ahead of Di Giannantonio and then Bezzecchi after being shoved wide. At the start of lap two, Di Giannantonio got up the inside of Manzi into Turn 2 as he saw Martin trying to spark an early escape. Two laps later, Bezzecchi was able to follow Di Giannantonio through and demoted the MV Agusta man back to fourth.

Coming out of the final corner both Martin and Di Giannantonio had rear-end twitches in perfect unison with the Speed Up man's moment allowing Bezzecchi through to second. One lap later, and at exactly the same spot, the SKY Racing Team VR46 rider slipped up the inside of Martin to hit the front and, with Bastianini down in eighth, close the title lead down to 12 points. In a half a lap to forget for Martin, Di Giannantonio then found a way past the KTM man too.

A lead group of four was starting to form at the front and Hector Garzo could see that, prompting a dive past Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) for fifth at the final corner. The fastest lap of the race at that time for the Spaniard saw him close in on the rear-end of Manzi and then move past the Italian to find himself in fourth and right in the podium fight.

15 laps remained of the Circuit Ricardo Tormo and the fight for the podium ignited following a mistake from Di Giannantonio out of the final corner. Martin was able to pull alongside him and edge in front but only for a split second, with the aggressive Di Giannantonio braking as late as possible to hold on to second. It offered a chance to Garzo on the run up to Turn 2 and the Spaniard took the chance with both hands, squeezing past the former Moto3™ World Champion for third.

Stefano Manzi’s incredible weekend then came to an unfortunate end as the MV Agusta man crashed out of contention, doing a favour for compatriot Bastianini who moved up to seventh as a result and extended his title lead to 13 points with 14 laps left. Four laps ticked by with the top three, for the moment, remaining as Bezzecchi, Di Giannantonio and Garzo. In terms of the title chase, Marini was sat just ahead of Bastianini in sixth and, the battered and bruised, Sam Lowes was digging deep and picking his way through the field to sit 18th.

The tension at the front was growing as the laps ticked away with Di Giannantonio applying more and more pressure on Bezzecchi. The pair were split by nothing as they crossed to line to mean just six laps were left of the penultimate round of 2020. Di Giannantonio then made his move, a cool and calculated dive through at Turn 11 before then making a costly error into the final corner that allowed Bezzecchi to retake the lead.

The tension at the front was growing as the laps ticked away with Di Giannantonio applying more and more pressure on Bezzecchi. The pair were split by nothing as they crossed to line to mean just six laps were left of the penultimate round of 2020. Di Giannantonio then made his move, a cool and calculated dive through at Turn 11 before then making a costly error into the final corner that allowed Bezzecchi to retake the lead.

Martin’s late charge continued to gain momentum when, with now four laps left, he drove past Garzo down the start-finish straight to grab hold of the final podium place. Home hero Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team Moto2) crashed out of the points further back, which crucially promoted Lowes up to 15th and into the points.

Two to go and there was nothing between the two Italians at the front, some late lunges were starting to be planned. Those lunges were then executed, when Di Giannantoio found a way through at Turn 11 once again, keeping it tidy through the final corner this time to lead the quarter fighting for victory over the line. Bezzeccchi was starting to lose touch with the Speed Up and suddenly was looking over his shoulder with Martin and Garzo swarming. Until then incredible drama struck when Di Giannantonio threw it all away with only half a lap left, crashing out at Turn 6. The Italian had done all the hard work but couldn’t get to the chequered flag and claim a debut Moto2™ victory.

It was down to Bezzecchi, Martin and Garzo with an almighty final half a lap deciding the race. Martin pounced at Turn 12, forcing Bezzecchi wide but the pair’s dive through Turn 13 had been compromised with Garzo moving up one place to second as a result. The former MotoE™ contender took a sweeping line through the final corner as he tried to drag his compatriot to the line but the chequered flag came just in time for Martin, as the number 88 clinched a second win of 2020 by just 0.072 of a second ahead of the podium debutant.

Bezzecchi's nightmare final sector, as victory slipped through his fingers and probably any hopes of being World Champion, means he now heads to Portimao 23 points adrift of Bastianini instead of 14 after having to settle for third. Schrötter took fourth spot ahead of SKY Racing Team VR46's Luca Marini, who himself is 18 points adrift of The Beast after the Italtrans man crossed the line in sixth. ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team's Remy Gardner took seventh, eight tenths clear of Bo Bendsneyder who clinched RW Racing GP's best result. Italians Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP40) rounded out the top ten.

Crucially Lowes came across the line in 14th and added two points to his Championship tally meaning, with just one race left in 2020, the Brit is Bastianini's closest title challenger. Fourteen points seperate the pair but 23 points split the top four meaning any one of Bastianini, Lowes, Marini or Bezzecchi will be crowned in Portimao in seven days time.

Top 10:
 1. Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
 2. Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP 40) + 0.072
 3. Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.204
 4. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 0.689
 5. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 0.812
 6. Enea Bastianini (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 2.329
 7. Remy Gardner (Onexox TKKR SAG Team) + 8.973
 8. Bo Bendsneyder (NTS RW Racing GP) + 9.720
 9. Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) + 11.596
 10. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) + 11.836

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