It’s an Italian armada vs Red Bull KTM Ajo at the top in the title fight – and we’re on the leader’s turf on the Riviera di Rimini
It seems the blink of an eye since the flag flew to mark the finish line of the Styrian GP, but the Moto2™ grid will soon be back in the saddle again fighting it out for another 25 precious points. This time it’s the stunning Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli as the classic track hosts the Gran Premio Lenovo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, and a good few riders at the top are racing on home turf.
Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) is the man in charge of the standings heading in, and the Italian has been consistent ever since an issue near the end of the Qatar GP dampened his hopes in the season opener. A winner, a podium finisher or a solid points scorer so far in 2020, he’ll be aiming high at home… but so will the man he took over from in P1, who is only eight points behind.
That’s Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team), although it’s been a rougher two rounds for the Italian since he won two in a row at Jerez – his first intermediate class wins. A crash – an a memorable one at that – in the first race in Spielberg was followed by a more muted outing in the second to dent his momentum somewhat, but he, like Marini and many of the home heroes on the grid, will be expecting to make the most of Misano. And it’s where he took his first ever Grand Prix win back in Moto3™ in 2015.
The man in third, meanwhile, will feel he has a score to settle. Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) may not be Italian, but he’s on his own mission after crossing the line first in the Styrian GP and then getting demoted to second by a penalty. They were solid points to cement him third overall, but he feels denied a second Moto2™ win in a row after his first intermediate class victory a week before… and to make it even worse, the man he lost out to was fellow sophomore and old Moto3™ rival Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46). Martin will be on a mission, but then so will that same Bezzecchi…
It was a rough rookie Moto2™ season for the number 12, but he’s had an emotional comeback to the front of late and was the only man able to live with Martin’s pace last time out. Add that to another podium earlier in the year and it’s far from a flash in the pan. He’ll be on home turf too and joins Martin and Bastianini as a first time winner in the class this season – so he’ll be flush with confidence to add to that proven speed.
It’s unlikely, on such well known ground, that we’ll see a four horse race, however. Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is seemingly ironing out some inconsistency since his win in Qatar and could be a force to be reckoned with, Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) was on pole and the podium in the last two races, impressive rookie Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) has been on a roll until a blip in Styria… and Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Joe Roberts (Tennor American Racing Team) can’t be counted out. Tom Lüthi (Liqui Moly Intact GP) and teammate Marcel Schrötter are turning it around from a rougher few races earlier in the year too… there are plenty of names in the fight for the podium, top five or top ten.
One man who would expect to be in that battle but likely won’t be, however, is Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS). The Brit was given a pitlane start for his next Moto2™ race for causing a crash during the Styrian GP – so he’ll be pushing to try and move as far forward as possible, but sidelined from the fight he’d rather be in.
Home heroes, first time winners, consistent performers or sudden turns of pace… Moto2™ at Misano will have it all! Tune in at 12:20 (GMT +2) on Sunday the 13th of September for another stunning intermediate class race – it’s the 900th in the class, too!
Moto2™ Championship Standings
1 Luca Marini – Sky Racing Team VR46 – Kalex – 87
2 Enea Bastianini – Italtrans Racing Team – Kalex – 79
3 Jorge Martin – Red Bull KTM Ajo – Kalex – 79
4 Tetsuta Nagashima – Red Bull KTM Ajo – Kalex – 68
5 Marco Bezzecchi – Sky Racing Team VR46 – Kalex – 65