Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) increased his Championship lead and took his eighth win of the season in Round 14, but the Italian was forced to work hard for it by compatriot Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) in a spectacular last lap battle between the countrymen. Gradually reeling in the points leader, Pasini made it a duel to the line on the final lap, but Morbidelli was just able to take it – by 0.145 seconds. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took third after qualifying on pole, closing in on the duo at the front to see the flag only half a second back.
It was Oliveira who got the holeshot from his second pole of the season, but Morbidelli struck back at the end of the first lap and then began to disappear. Pasini then pulled it out the bag to get his head down and cut the gap, able to reach and then pass the Championship leader – but not escape. As the final lap dawned, it was wheel-to-wheel between the two, and with a little paint swapped. But Pasini couldn’t quite get close enough at the end of the back straight, and Morbidelli was able to beat him to the line. Oliveira, closing to within a tantalizing few tenths on the final lap, took third after another impressive weekend for the Portuguese rider.
Championship challenger Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) had a rare race off the podium, but nevertheless came home fourth for a good haul of points and some damage limitation – just beating a stunning rookie performance from Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Binder took his second successive top five in fifth, now gaining traction in his first year in the class after some big injury problems earlier in the year.
Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) was another who impressed as a rookie, taking sixth and able to pull a few tenths away from veteran Italian Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) in the last laps. Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) did the reverse to close on the Italian – and crossed the line only 0.033 off.
Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) had a good battle with Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) until the rider from Cervera was forced to retire, and the German crossed the line in ninth to round out a good weekend. Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) completed the top ten, with the Italian getting the better of fellow rookie Fabio Quartararo (Pons HP 40).
Misano winner Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) crossed the line in twelfth, ahead of a duel for P13 between Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) and Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) – with the Italian coming out on top. Stefano Manzi (Sky Racing Team VR46) locked out the points scorers.
Now it’s time for Motegi – with everything still to play for, and attack mode very much turned on.
1 – Franco Morbidelli (ITA – Kalex) 40’09.904
2 – Mattia Pasini (ITA – Kalex) +0.145
3 – Miguel Oliveira (POR – KTM) +0.577