Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took back-to-back wins in the intermediate class for the first time in Mugello, with the Spaniard repeating his Le Mans pace to pull away into clear air in the lead and leave Italy only two points off the Championship lead. Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) put in an impressive performance on home turf to take his first podium of the season in second, with Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) completing the podium.
It was Lüthi who took the holeshot from second on the grid, with he and teammate Marcel Schrötter taking control of the first few laps and trying to make a break for it. And that they did, initially, but after five laps Marquez, from third on the grid, was homing in and bringing Marini and Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up) along for the ride. The number 73 didn’t waste time getting past Schrötter, and Marini then duelled the German before making it stick.
That had given Lüthi and Marquez the chance to make a small break for it, just under a second clear, but Marquez had his eyes on the lead. Nine laps down, Marquez made it a Mugello classic as he slipstreamed Lüthi down the start finish straight and took over at the front at Turn 1.
From there he never looked back, pulling clear of those on the chase as Marini edged closer to Lüthi and eyed a move. Once past though, the clock was running out for the Italian and he couldn’t match Marquez, with the French GP winner crossing the line in clear air for another dominant win. For Marini though it marks a return to the podium for the first time this season, and the Sky Racing Team VR46 rider also said it marked a big turnaround in how he felt on the bike. Lüthi, ever-consistent, completed the podium to make it three riders now within four points at the top of the Championship.
The man still at the top of those standings despite a more difficult home Grand Prix than likely expected, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40), put together a brilliant recovery to move through from the fifth row to P4 by the flag. His teammate, Augusto Fernandez, was three tenths behind in fifth place, ahead of Italtrans Racing Team’s Enea Bastianini in sixth, a career best finish in Moto2™ as he came home top rookie. Navarro and Schrötter eventually slipped back to seventh and eighth respectively, with Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (MB Conveyors Speed Up) rounded out the top ten despite the Italian being involved in some first lap drama and heading a little wide early on.
2017 winner Mattia Pasini (Petronas Sprinta Racing) took P12, with the points completed by Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Remy Gardner and teammate Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo).
That’s all she wrote at Mugello in the intermediate class, and it’s Marquez on a roll as we next head to his home round at Catalunya. Can he take over at the top on home turf and take the points lead from Baldassarri for the first time all year? Find out on June 9th.
1 – Alex Marquez (SPA – Kalex) 39’31.262
2 – Luca Marini (ITA – Kalex) +1.928
3 – Tom Lüthi (SWI – Kalex) +2.242
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