Giving the EG 0,0 Marc VDS team their 100th podium in Moto2™, Marquez was joined on the podium by two Italian rookies
The Moto2™ World Championship fired back into life after the Summer break at the Automotodrom Brno, for the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky. 8 riders came into the round with just 52 points covering them, meaning plenty of changes were possible. Starting from his eighth Moto2™ pole, Championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) made it a fifth win of 2019, ahead of Fabio Di Giannantonio (Beta Tools Speed Up) and comeback rookie, Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team), with two rookies on the rostrum.
Off the line, it was a lightening start from Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), who claimed the holeshot ahead of Marquez and Lorenzo Baldassarri (FLEXBOX HP 40). By Turn 3, Marquez hit the front and by the end of the first lap, he had 0.8s on the field. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Beta Tools Speed Up) was up to third and began to hunt Lowes. The first crasher was Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) at Turn 9 but remounted.
Di Giannantonio took second place at Turn 1 on Lap 2 from Lowes, making a slick move before setting about chasing down Marquez. Straight away, he was nearly three tenths quicker than Marquez, but the Spaniard responded a lap later, keeping the gap stable between the two. It was a disaster on Lap 3 for Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP), who crashed out of the top ten at Turn 5, influencing the Championship dynamic with Lüthi being placed second behind Marquez in the standings.
Behind the leading duo, Schrötter was up to third place, ahead of the SKY Racing Team VR46 pairing of Luca Marini and Nicolo Bulega. Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) confirmed the strengths of Speed Up at Brno and was placed in sixth, ahead of Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), sporting the new chassis for the Austrian manufacturer.
It was a great start for Moto2™ rookie Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team), who qualified down in 18th and was now up to 8th, ahead of Augusto Fernandez (FLEXBOX HP 40) and a struggling Sam Lowes, who completed the top ten. Former Moto2™ Championship leader Baldassarri was only eleventh.
However, Lowes’ day got worse on Lap 9, as the British rider crashed out at Turn 7. He wasn’t the only crasher on that lap though, as Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) also bit the dirt. Meanwhile, back at the sharp end of things, Jorge Navarro passed Bulega at Turn 1 on Lap 10, edging closer to the podium positions.
Navarro’s progress didn’t stop there, as with eight laps to go, he got ahead of Marcel Schrötter and then – a lap later – disposed of Luca Marini. Speed Up were now looking at their first double podium since MotorLand Aragon with Andrea Iannone and Gabor Talmasci, way back in the first season of Moto2™ in 2010.
With just five laps left to go, Lorenzo Baldassarri was struggling to hold on to his top ten placing, as Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) was putting pressure on the Italian. On the exit of Turn 14, tremendous drive from Lecuona gave him the ability to fly ahead of Baldassarri, who could do nothing to overcome it. It was a disaster for Brad Binder, who crashed at Turn 11 in the latter stages.
Further up the field, Enea Bastianini had now got ahead of Schrötter, placing fifth – all the way up from 18th on the grid. The rookie Italian didn’t stop there, as he then closed down Jorge Navarro in the final two laps, and suddenly, a double Speed Up podium didn’t look so likely.
Marquez took the win to go to Austria with a 33-point advantage, whilst Fabio Di Giannantonio clinched his first Moto2™ podium in second. However, in a last lap surge, Bastianini pinched the final podium slot with a good move at Turn 10, leaving Navarro no chance to respond. It was a first Moto2™ podium for ‘The Beast’, whilst Navarro and Luca Marini completed the top five.
Marcel Schrötter managed to finish sixth, whilst Nicolo Bulega took his best result in Moto2™ with seventh. Augusto Fernandez was up in eighth place ahead of Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), up from 17th on the grid, whilst Iker Lecuona completed the top ten, just edging out Lorenzo Baldassarri.
1. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS)
2. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Beta Tools Speed Up) 3.018
3. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) 4.158
4. Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) 4.290
5. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) 7.031
6. Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) 8.847
7. Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) 8.937
8. Augusto Fernandez (FLEXBOX HP 40) 11.900
9. Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) 12.896
10. Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) 19.079
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