Lopez vs Baltus goes to the wire, Garcia third as Moto2 blasts back into action

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Nothing In It! Lopez Vs Baltus Goes To The Wire, Garcia Third As Moto2™ Blasts Back Into ActionAlonso Lopez (Sync SpeedUp) held off Barry Baltus (RW-Idrofoglia Racing GP) in a stunning finish to the first Moto2™ race of the year, winning the Qatar Airways Grand Prix of Qatar to lead the Championship for the first time.

It was a podium of firsts just behind him too: for Baltus a maiden Grand Prix podium, in any class, and for Sergio Garcia (MT Helmets – MSI) completing the podium, his first rostrum in Moto2™ – up from P18 on the grid no less.

The lights went out and polesitter Aron Canet (Fantic Racing) had a tougher start, allowing Lopez to grab the lead from second on the grid, ahead of both QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2™ riders, Manuel Gonzalez and Albert Arenas. Fermin Aldeguer (Sync SpeedUp), winner of four in a row at the end of 2023, also lost some ground, dropping down to 13th.

Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team), meanwhile, was the rider on the move in the opening stage of the race, battling with Baltus and Zonta van der Goorbergh (RW-Idrofoglia Racing GP) for fifth. Canet then fought back through, having dropped to eight, and made his way back into the lead by Lap 3, setting the fastest lap in the process.

Lopez and Gonzalez eventually caught and passed the #44 machine, however, creating a lead group of three once again. Further down the order, Garcia was battling past Aldeguer on the fringes of the top ten.

Baltus then joined the fray at the front, tagging on to the back of Canet before making a move at the end of Lap 8. Next, the Belgian then battled into second position in a fierce move on Gonzalez to set his sights on the lead. Garcia was well into his charge by then, homing in on teammate Ai Ogura (MT Helmets – MSI) as the Japanese rider moved past Gonzalez into the top four.

Garcia then arrived at the front and dispatched Ogura too, making it a three-way fight for the win between the number 3, Baltus and Lopez. But Lopez kept it pinned and shut door after door, with Baltus also suffering rear slide as he looked for a way past. The final door, at the final corner, was also shut, and it was a drag to the line as the number 21 tucked in. Lopez just stayed ahead in a spectacular finish, with Baltus taking that incredible maiden podium in second and Garcia close on the chase for P3.

Ogura ultimately had to settle for fourth ahead of Gonzalez, with OnlyFans American Racing’s Marcos Ramirez next up just ahead of teammate Joe Roberts. Arenas took P8 ahead of Celestino Vietti (Red Bull KTM Ajo), with Canet down in tenth. Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was top rookie in P15.

After losing ground, Aldeguer finished just outside the points, with Arbolino dropping to 20th after losing out and suffering some mid-race contact. Can they hit back in Portugal? We’ll find out in two weeks!Nothing In It! Lopez Vs Baltus Goes To The Wire, Garcia Third As Moto2™ Blasts Back Into Action