Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) has laid further serious groundwork for his assault on the 2019 Moto2™ World Championship in Jerez, winning a shortened race ahead of COTA podium finisher and form man Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up). Baldassarri’s teammate Augusto Fernandez, who returned from injury at his home Grand Prix, put in a stunning ride to his first ever Grand Prix podium as he took third.
The race was cut to 15 laps after a first start saw a chaotic first two corners with multiple-rider incidents, and first faller Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) was unable to make the restart, as was Dimas Ekky Pratama (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia). In addition, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), who couldn’t avoid contact with Gardner’s bike, was forced to restart from pitlane at his home Grand Prix – nevertheless a feat and some formidable work from the EG 0,0 Marc VDS mechanics to get the machine race ready.
So off the line the second time around, it was Fernandez who got the holeshot, the Spaniard making a stunner of a start to head teammate Baldassarri and the two immediately bolting away. Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt IntactGP) was in third and Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) in fourth initially, but Navarro was a man on the move and was soon through into fifth on the chase.
Meanwhile, Baldassarri’s pace was searing and the Italian was closing in on his teammate. By nine laps to go the gap was only a couple of tenths and the move came later in the lap, with the number 07 machine then starting to break away – as Navarro got the hammer down, now up into third.
A few laps later the Spaniard was starting to make some serious gains, and with three laps left on the clock it was close between the leading trio. Sure enough, Navarro was able to push through into second a lap later, with Lüthi threatening in fourth but the fight for the podium seemingly set to be between three men.
Over the line for the final lap, Baldassarri was well over half a second clear but the Speed Up behind him wouldn’t be shaken off and Navarro was shaving tenths off the Championship leader’s margin. Despite that, Baldassarri couldn’t quite be caught and the Italian crossed the line to take his third win of the year – although it was only three and a half tenths at the flag. Fernandez followed the two home for his impressive P3.
Lüthi took fourth for some solid Championship points, with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) taking P5 and his best result of the year so far ahead of Vierge. Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) took his best ever Grand Prix result in seventh, beating his previous best by a single position.
Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) beat an impressive ride from rookie teammate Nicolo Bulega – back from injury – to take P8, with Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) completing the top ten behind the duo.
Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) wasn’t far off the top ten though and was second rookie, with Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) next up in twelfth. Dominique Aegerter (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward) took more points for the new MV Agusta in P13 – after scoring their first at COTA – with Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) and Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) completing the points. Schrötter had been pushed wide early on.
Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) were amongst those who crashed.
That’s it from Moto2™ and after an expensive day in the standings for the likes of Marquez and a perfect result for Baldassarri, we roll on to Le Mans – with the Italian now 17 points ahead.
1 – Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA – Kalex) 25’33.841
2 – Jorge Navarro (SPA – Speed Up) +0.359
3 – Augusto Fernandez (SPA – Kalex) +1.091