Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) took a stunning maiden win at the Spanish GP, crossing the line three and a half seconds clear of an impressive first intermediate class podium for Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46). The rider from Cervera was back on the top step for the first time since the Moto3™ race in Motegi in 2014, the year he took the lightweight class crown. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took another podium for KTM in third, as Championship leader Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) slid out of contention early on.
Marquez took the lead out of Turn 1 after a good start, with Morbidelli taking the apex first and then running a little wide – but it was an EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1-2 streaking away at the front as Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing), Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) squabbled for third – with Bagnaia then getting up into the fight.
There was drama soon after as Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) lost control and slid out, taking Vierge and Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) out of contention with him – and the drama wasn’t over.
That incident left Pasini and Bagnaia fighting for third, ahead of Aegerter, Oliveira, Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team), Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP), Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) and an impressive start for Khairul Idham Pawi (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) in the top ten – and a four second gap to the EG 0,0 Marc VDS pair up in the lead.
Back at the front, a small mistake from Marquez left Morbidelli to come through with 18 laps to go – before the unexpected suddenly hit the lead as the Championship leader slid out and Marquez found himself 4 and a half seconds ahead of Bagnaia on the chase. Keeping it calm and collected at the head of the race, the 2014 Moto3™ World Champion crossed the line in clear air to take his maiden Moto2™ win – and in front of the home crowd.
With the final laps approaching, Bagnaia had moved through into a more secure second to secure a stunning rookie podium, with Oliveira then hunting down Pasini to take third – the second rostrum for the KTM intermediate class chassis in four races. Veteran Italian Pasini crossed the line in fourth, ahead of Marini and Schrötter.
Dominique Aegerter followed up his top five in Texas with a seventh in Jerez, ahead of a good day in the points standings for Lüthi as the 2016 runner up came home eighth to cut some of the gap to Championship leader Franco Morbidelli.
Axel Pons (RW Racing GP) just lost ninth on the final lap to an impressive race from Yonny Hernandez (AGR Team), as the Colombian took a good points finish in the fourth race of the year.
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) was eleventh ahead of rookie Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), with Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) in thirteenth ahead of a solid ride from Red Bull KTM Ajo’ Ricky Cardus, standing in for injured reigning Moto3™ World Champion Brad Binder. Tetsuta Nagashima (Teluru SAG Team) locked out the points back on more familiar turf for the former FIM CEV Repsol Moto2™ frontrunner.
Le Mans now awaits as the Championship closes up – with Morbidelli looking for a comeback and Marquez fired up to stop him.
Moto2 Race Results
1 – Álex Márquez (SPA – Kalex) 43’24.350
2 – Francesco Bagnaia (ITA – Kalex) + 3.442
3 – Miguel Oliveira (POR – KTM) + 4.958