Flexbox HP 40’s Lorenzo Baldassarri bounced back in brilliant style from his COTA crash plus mechanical issues and crashes aplenty this weekend to take his third win of the 2019 Moto2™ World Championship at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España and move 17 points clear at the top of the title standings.
The 23-lap race was red flagged after a huge incident at the exit of Turn 1 on the opening lap. ONEXOX TKKR SAG’s Remy Gardner highsided and left Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) with nowhere to go but collide his with bike, leaving the chasing pack to take evasive action with bikes and riders in the middle of the track.
Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Dimas Ekky Pratama clipped Gardner’s bike and then the Indonesian slid into Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Marco Bezzechi, causing the Italian to crash. Marquez and Bezzechi were OK, whilst Gardner and Pratama went to the medical centre. Following checks, Pratama was declared fit and Gardner suffered a concussion.
On the restart, Flexbox HP 40’s Augusto Fernandez took the holeshot from the outside of the front row with his teammate Baldassarri following him through from the outside of row two. The Pons Racing pair quickly started to move clear of everyone else, despite Americas GP winner Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) trying to stay with the leading duo in third.
With nine laps remaining, Baldassarri made his move for the lead as he slipped past the Spaniard into Lorenzo Corner before starting to edge ever closer to back-to-back Moto2™ victories at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto.
Poleman, HDR Heidrun Speed Up’s Jorge Navarro, put together a rapid charge in the closing stages and was able to chase down and pass Fernandez for second place with two laps to go, but it was too little, too late for Navarro and, despite his best efforts, Baldassarri held on by 0.359 seconds for a third win of the season after just four rounds.
Navarro secured back-to-back podiums after finishing third in Austin and Fernandez completed a memorable day for Sito Pons and his Flexbox HP 40 team by winning a debut podium finish.
Heading to Le Mans in a fortnight’s time, Baldassarri is now seventeen points clear at the top of the World Championship from Lüthi, who limited the damage in the title chase by collecting thirteen points with a fourth-place finish.
Fifth across the line was Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) after fighting his way past Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), who faded back to sixth place after an incredible start, where the Catalan made up eight places on the first lap to go from twelfth on the grid to fourth.
ONEXOX TKKR SAG’s Tetsuta Nagashima benefited most from the earlier red flag as the Japanese rider was forced to start from pitlane after an issue on the grid for the first start. However, as a result of the red flag, Nagashima could retake his place on the grid and salvaged a seventh place finish, which looked close to impossible half an hour earlier.
SKY Racing Team VR46 duo of Luca Marini and Nicolo Bulega battled it out for eighth place with Marini eventually getting the better of his rookie teammate Bulega by half a second. American Racing KTM’s Iker Lecuona rounded the top ten.
1. Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP 40)
2. Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) + 0.359
3. Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) + 1.091
4. Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) + 2.428
5. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 3.767
6. Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) + 4.955
7. Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) + 7.842
8. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 8.026
9. Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) + 8.571
10. Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) + 10.235
Moto2 World Standing 2019.
|4||Jorge NAVARRO||Speed Up||SPA||44|
|17||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||Speed Up||ITA||9|
|22||Dominique AEGERTER||MV Agusta||SWI||5|
|23||Khairul Idham PAWI||Kalex||MAL||3|
|31||Stefano MANZI||MV Agusta||ITA|
|34||Gabriele RUIU||MV Agusta||ITA|
|35||Dimas EKKY PRATAMA||Kalex||INA|
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of Motogp.com