Moto2 Pre-race Briefing 2020 Round 15, Algarve, Portugal, 20-22 November
A look back to the last race – Valencia Grand Prix
Jorge Martin took his second Moto2 victory of the season (and his second ever using Triumph power) last weekend in the closest race of the season, decided by just 0.07 seconds
With erstwhile series leader Sam Lowes crashing early in the weekend and rescuing just two points, EneaBastianini extended his title lead to 14 points with only 25 remaining
Further demonstrating the closeness of competition, during the race four riders set exactly the same fastest top speed of 279.5km/h
Winner:J. Martin #88 Pole position:1m 34.418, S. Manzi #62
Fastest lap:1m 35.291, H. Garzo #40 Top speed:279.5km/h, M. Ramirez (Race)
Race lap record: 1m 34.820, T. Luthi (2019) Circuit best:1m 34.418, S. Manzi (2020)
A look to thiscoming race –Grand Prix of Portugal
The final round of the 2020 championship will be the first ever Moto2 grand prix powered by Triumph to be held at the Algarve International Circuit, also known as Portimao
With a lack of previous data, the final race could throw some surprises up, not least because mathematically the top four riders all have a chance of sealing the title
The 4.6km circuit features a 969m straight which is the third longest of the season and drops downhill into turn one, and with the long sweeping final corner could we see another 300+ km/h top speed? The current record starts at 301.8km/h, set at Australia’s Phillip Island in 2019
Triumph Triple Trophy #PoweredbyTriumph
Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) is the first winner of the Triumph Triple Trophy!
He’s scored points at nine races this season, including the doubles of top speed and pole in Jerez and top speed and fastest lap in Austria
On Thursday in Portugal, he will be presented with his prize of a custom Triumph Triple Trophy-liveried Street Triple RS, which boasts the 765cc triple from which the Moto2 engine is derived
About the Triumph Triple Trophy #PoweredbyTriumph
The Triumph Triple Trophy #PoweredbyTriumphruns alongside the Moto2 World Championship in 2020, recognising that there are more stories of success from a GP than simply the race win, and will award one rider with a Street Triple RS at the end of the season
Points will be awarded to the one rider at the top of each of these categories (or multiple riders in the case of a tie): fastest top speed of the weekend, pole position, and fastest race lap
Fastest top speed: 7 points for the fastest rider / riders in case of a tie
Pole position: 6 points for the rider on pole
Fastest race lap: 5 points for the fastest rider / riders in case of a tie
The Triumph Moto2™ 765cc race engine is a development of the class-leading Street Triple RS 765cc road motorcycle and produces more than 140PS and the same visceral soundtrack.
If MotoGP was weird enough having no racing for over 8 months – nearly 9 months, then Moto2 and Moto3’s predicament was just frustrating especially for the riders, a four mouth wait between Qatar and the second round at Jerez.
Saturday saw Fenati, Antonelli, Arbolino and Ogura all progress into Q2, the four were only separated by 0.393s. Q2 was just as busy with Q1. Fenati was the top Q1 runner in Q2 with Tatsuki Suzuki. The championship leader and winner of round one taking pole. Andrea, Migno and John McPhee taking the remaining front row. Sunday saw the sun shine with blue skies at Jerez. First up was Moto3, waiting to blast down the first turn with the track at 36c and air temps 27c. Everything seemed perfect except of course there were no fans.
The red lights quickly faded away, and there’s some pushing and shoving but Suzuki got the holeshot by some margin – it seemed he was gunning for the second win from two. Foggia and Tatay crashed with each other at turn one. Suzuki had a blinding first lap with a sizeable gap with about 20 bikes following him with Migno and Fernandez making the top 3. Lap 2 saw Vietti take third from Fernandez. By Lorenzo’s corner the gap that Suzuki had, was now gone. By lap four Vietti had taken Migno and then Suzuki on the start-finsh straight. By the end of the lap, Suzuki was fifth and Arenas was fourth.
From lap five the standard Moto3 dog fighting began, with Arenas and Arbolino joining into lap six. Arbolino quickly made his way to second behind Viettti. Vietti and Arblino in second, stayed in front whilst Migno, Arenas, Fernandaz and Rodrigo were all where playing musical “chairs” until lap eleven when Arbolino scuttled past Veitti for the lead and kept it. Vietti couldn’t keep second place though, falling back to fifth.
It was now a fight between Arbolino, Alcoba, Arenas and Binder. McPhee was now sixth behind Vietti. Arbolino’s lead didn’t last long before Arenas quickly grabbed first in a sort of group mele which you weren’t quite sure who would be where, or was going to fall – a very typical Moto3 moment.
Into Lap twelve it was Arenas, Binder, Alcoba, McPhee and Arbolino in the top five. Suzuki, the once leader was hanging on in sixth but by the end of the lap having a resurgence to fourth. Arenas was hanging on in first, Moto3 style because McPhee had managed to go from fourth to second with Binder sliding to fifth. Arbolino was now back in the hunt. The tustle continued with Binder briefly taking second at the end of lap thirteen but by lap fourteen Arbolino had retaken second and McPhee was fourth.
Arenas continued to stay in first with the main three protagonists of Arbolino, McPhee and Binder swapping and sniping for places behind him. Arenas like Suzuki wanted a gap, but that gap never really appeared as each lap passed Lorenzo Corner they where swamped next to each other preying for any one but them to make a mistake. Coming up to Lorenzo Arbolino went wide, along with most the train behind him – except for John McPhee and by not going wide he took first into the start-finish straight.
It wasn’t until lap eighteen that we finally saw the lead change. Arbolino made his move down the back-straight with Arenas droping behind Binder for third. McPhee managed to create more of a gap than Arbolino or Suzuki ever did but maybe because of the excessive dog fighting behind him. Arbolino, Vietti, Binder and Arenas were not in any mood to settle for anything less than first. With less than 4 laps to go the fuse was lit for the fireworks, either somebody would go wide or crash. The four were ready to pounce on McPhee.
Again the back straight was the centre of the action with Arbolino snuffling out Mcphee’s lead and regaining first again. Binder crashes mid way through lap twenty-one. The final three left in the hunt was Arbolino, McPhee and Arenas. Into Lorenzo’s corner and Arbolino goes wide again, allowing Mcphee back into first place, going into the last lap.
McPhee kept the pace going into turn one on the last lap. But McPhee was being prevented by Arbolino and Arenas from creating any gap, because they were snapping and sniping at his heal, ready to pounce. Arbolino was indeed ready to pounce and he made his move down the back straight into the braking area. McPhee slid back to second, but Aranas wanted second and into the corners before Lornezo Corner, he made his move. McPhee was having none of it, he made his move going sharper and closer to the apex then Arbolino and Arenas did but by doing so he went wide on the exit into the straight, slightly touching the grass and promptly hitting Arbolino causing McPhee to crash in a plume of dust. Arbolino went on to stay on his bike and to take second, Ogu took third with Arenas taking the top spot.
In Q1 Fabio DI Ginnantonio , Xavi Vierge, Hafizh Syahrin and Joe Roberts all progressed into Q2. Only Vierge could make any substantial improvement on their grid placings in Q2 with Ginnantonio last, Roberts sixteenth and Syahrin one place up in fifteenth. At the front it was Martin who took pole with the other Jorge (Jorge Navarrro) taking second with the final front row being taken by Sam Lowes
The second race of the day saw the battle of the Jorges for the holeshot, with Jorge Martin and Jorge Navarro in second with Sam Lowes on third. Martin made the holeshot, with the other two on the front being consumed by the rows behind them, resulting in a huge gap for Martin by the first corner. The other Jorge – Jorge Navarro, crashed into the kitty litter. By the middle of the lap after the long back straight, the top three had shaken out as Martin, Canet and Marini followed by Lowes with Schrotter in fifth.
Into Lap three, and we saw a break-away group of four; Martin, Marini, Canet and Nagashima. Marini was on a charge, and just after the long back straight, he made his move swiftly under cutting Martin. Marini first, Martin second and Nagashlm third, with Canet and Bezzecchi behind them. Jorge Martin was slowly but surely heading backwards, with Nagashima taking second at Lorenzo’s corner. At the end of lap five, Bezzecchi made the pass to take fourth from Canet.
The top three of Marini, Nagashima and Martin stayed that way with an increasing gap made by Marini into lap Seven, when finally Bezzecchi made his move along the back straight and going tighter into the apex pushing Martin back into fourth. Unfortunately for Bezzecchi, it was not to last because into turn 10 on lap eight, Bezzecchi’s front folded on him after going onto the rumble strip and he crashed. Schrotter, into turn 11 on lap nine crashed looking winded from the fall. Two riders crashing in one lap removed two potential candidates for the podium
With fifteen laps to go, Marini seemed, along with Nagashima and Martin content with their positions. That though wasn’t the case for Sam Lowes, as he was sixth on lap eight, he inherited fifth after Schrotter crashed. By the end of lap eleven, Lowes had caught and passed Canet for fourth. Lowes then started hunting down Martin for third. By lap eighteen, Lowes was only a second behind but Martin was starting to match Lowes lap times.
It wasn’t just Lowes thinking he could grab another place, Nagashima also contemplated the same thing as he was closing in on Marini. Into lap twenty-one, Lowes now only .6 seconds behind Martin but his pit board showed a 0.5s to push him forwards. As much as Nagashima was catching Marini, he was, with 3 laps to go stil 1.585s behind Marini. It was to be a last lap attempt for both Lowes and Nagashima.
Luthi meanwhile crashed on turn nine, on the 22nd lap but by the start of the final lap the gap was 1.562 to Marini, which meant that Nagashima had settled for second. Barring the racing gods intervening, the same went for Lowes who was now 1.158s behind Martin. Being racers of course, ‘it ain’t done ‘til the flag drops’ on your bike and that indeed was the case with the final five being Marini, Nagashima, Martin, Lowes and Canet.
Despite waiting over four months for the championship to continue we saw a polished race worthy of its wait. Whilst lacking the drama of the MotoGP race or the Moto3 race, it certainly wasn’t a filler race. Despite obtaining a second place, Nagashima maintains behind championship leader after the win at Qatar. Baldassarri second with Jerez’s race winner a worthy third. The long list of title contenders still have every chance given the nature of the intermediate round. That said, Nagashima is a surprise contender. Next up is the Gran Premio Red Bull de Andalucía or Jerez to you and me.
After the aborted start at Qatar (ok the Moto2/3 guys whipped around the moonlit track), for the MotoGP fraternity, the 2020 MotoGP season reboots and hits “home” at Jerez from the 17th to 19th of July.
Any of the Spanish circuits could be classed as “home” but Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto giving its full titles, usually provides some great racing with some brilliant passes.
The tower and the spaceship building over the start-finish line provide some great scenery yet also gives the riders some great reference points during the race.
Jerez is a 4.4km, 2.75 mile circult, with Marc Marqez winning last years MotoGp event and also holding the fastest lap of 1:38.051. The MotoGP race consists of 25 laps, Moto2, 23 laps and Moto3 22 laps.
You can watch a lap onboard from 2018 here:
Ever since Marc Marquez sat on the Repsol Honda, one saying started to come out “Only Marquez can stop Marquez”, typically that meant him to crash. But that now is in the form of his Brother; Alex. Jorge Lorezno left his contract early, after a horrendous year at the Honda works team, which ended up with him injured and he is now the Yamaha test rider. It will only be a matter of time before we see Lorenzo racing – body permitting.
Repsol Honda, with the Marquez brothers, have a family feel to it but that can quickly turn into a family feud as Alex has the ability to match his brother. Of course we have to mention the RC213V, will that still be as extreme as it was in 2019 which nearly became the Bronco Billy of 2019.
Yamaha SRT had a brilliant first year beating the Yamaha works team. Fabio Quartararo’s first year was equally outstanding, with six poles and five second places, which resulted in being fifth in the championship last year. The bike, whilst being kinder to the tyres than the works team, still has the issues that the works team has – lack of power. Franco Morbidelli, whilst being a star in the Moto2 championships, hasn’t set his debut year in MotoGP on fire. He can justifiably say that the combination of the bike, and having Quartararo as a team mate, may have been worth saying. Excuses wear thin, though.
Yamaha Racing, the works team, do not want a second year of embarrassment, especially with it being Valentino Rossi’s last year with the team. Maverick Viñales will be hoping that the lack of straight line speed will be less of an issue this year. Rossi will be hoping for the same, along with tyre wear, not to be a consistent issue with his front starts leaving him 7th or 8th by the end of the race in 2019.
Ducati, Andrea Dovizioso having been runner up in the championship for the last three years running, must feel frustrated and yet happy that his form has been consistent. From 6 wins in 2017 down to only 2 last year, but collecting 8 more points (2017: 261 points; 2019: 269 points) has been the weak point for the team. So Dovizioso will be hoping that 2020 will be one of less frustration, and also winning his first MotoGP championship. Danilo Petrucci will be wanting to increase on his 2019 haul of one win and two 3rd places.
KTM, having mixed fortunes in 2019 in all 3 classes, they have finally made the decision to dump Moto2. Probably the right thing long term, as they have under performed since coming to MotoGP. Hopefully in doing so, Pol Espargaro will have a chance to fight for race wins.
Rest of the bunch.
Álex Rins will be wanting further wins this year. Team Suzuki Ecstar, have shown they can produce the goods, but the consistency isn’t there yet. Zarco is another one to watch – in the Moto2 class, he trailblazed but once in MotoGP, that came to a sudden halt. Jack Miller is in exactly the same boat. Of course, you can never rule out anyone in MotoGP in winning a race. One person missing is Cal Crutchlow. The LCR Honda, was not to his liking in 2019, after coming back from an injury which hindered his progress in 2019.
Both the Moto2 and Moto3 classes completed one round at Qatar back in march with Tetsuta Nagashima wining round one. Both the top two riders from 2019 have moved to MotoGP: Marquez and Brad Binder. The loss of the 2019 top two will not result in any loss of quality. Far from it. Lüthi, Baldassarri, Navarro, Marcel Schrötter, Jorge Martín, Fabio Di Giannantonio and of course Marco Bezzecchi will all be fighting for the championship. To suggest a favourite for the championship would be crazy at this point.
Albert Arenas, won Qatar Moto3, with John Mcphee 0.053 seconds behind. That sets up a great 2020 season with Mcphee, Masia, Foggia, Fernandez, Arbolino, Toba and of course Romano Fenati racing for the title. Fenati will want the racing to do the talking and not his explosive emotions.
The final qualifying session of the 2019 Moto2 World Championship saw cold conditions temper performances.
In Q1, Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP) topped the session from a surprising and impressive Jake Dixon (Inde Angel Nieto Team), who went through to Q2 for the first time in dry conditions in his final race with the Aspar outfit; Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) who crashed towards the end of Q1 which complicated things for him with respect to Q2.
In Q2, it was Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up) who took the final pole position of the year. It was against the odds, such was the dominance of Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) over the course of the weekend, but a late lap from Navarro in the final couple of minutes was enough for P1 for the #9. Joining Navarro on the front row for the final race of the year will be Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and the outstanding intermediate class rider of the weekend, Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Temporary Forward) who gives MV its first front row since the 1970s, himself his first front row of his GP career and the Forward team its first visit to parc ferme since 2016 when Lorenzo Baldassarri won in Misano.
Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) starts from fourth place having come from almost nowhere in the middle of the session to trouble the top positions. Joining Marini on row two will be Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (MB Conveyors Speed Up) who held provisional pole for a while although a crash just after setting his fastest time meant he could not hold on.
Brad Binder was quite disappointing in seventh, and will be joined on row three by Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) and Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team); while row four sees Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) ahead of Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) who enjoyed his best performance in a while.
Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) will start from the front of the fifth row in thirteenth place in his final GP, ahead of Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) and the ill newly crowned World Champion Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) who will start fifteenth; while Marcel Schrotter starts from sixteenth ahead of fellow Q1 graduates Jake Dixon and Nicolo Bulega, the Italian only managing five laps in Q2 after his Q1 crash.
Dominique Aegerter (MV Agusta Temporary Forward) was the fastest rider to miss Q2 and will start from nineteenth with Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) joining the Swiss on row seven; while Bo Bendsneyder (NTS RW Racing GP) heads up the eighth row from Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox Hp 40) who continues his poor qualifying form.
The ninth row sees Dimas Ekky (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) start ahead of Philipp Oettl (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) in his final GP, before moving to World Supersport, and Iker Lecuona’s replacement at the American Racing team, Sean Kelly who did not disgrace himself on his GP debut. Tomasso Marcon, in for Jesko Raffin at NTS RW Racing GP this weekend as the Swiss is racing in MotoE, will start his first Grand Prix from twenty-eighth, ahead of Adam Norrodin (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Xavi Cardelus (Inde Angel Nieto Team) who join the Italian on row ten; while the back row is only two-thirds full, with Lukas Tulovic making his and Kiefer Racing’s final GP from thirty-first ahead of last-placed Joe Roberts (American Racing) who did not set a representative lap time.
The fourteenth round of the 2019 Moto2 World Championship took place at MotorLand Aragon, as Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took his second victory of the season.
The race took place after the MotoGP race, meaning the track was coated with MotoGP’s Michelin rubber in the early phases of the Moto2 race before the intermediate class re-painted the lines with their Dunlop tyres. Often, this condition can create increased grip in the early stages of the Moto2 running, and it was Binder who made the most of this.
The South African made the holeshot, scampered off out front by over one second and didn’t look back.
Behind the 2016 Moto3 World Champion, the battle was strong, with Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46), championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) all fighting over second place in the early stages, before Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) arrived in the final part of the race.
The race for Alex Marquez was changed from the middle of the first lap, when Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) crashed. Fernandez had been strong all weekend and over the last few weekends had proven himself to be the most likely rider to be able to challenge Marquez for the 2019 Moto2 World Championship title. The #40, though, crashed out on lap one at turn ten and did not advance from last place until lap seven.
As the race approached its final stages, it was becoming more clear that Marquez, who was second, would not be able to catch Binder in front. Instead, after dropping Luca Marini from the second-place battle, Marquez was having to contend with a charging Jorge Navarro in pursuit of his first Moto2 win, and coming on strong towards the end of the race with the tyre-friendly Speed Up.
It wasn’t until the beginning of lap nineteen that Navarro was able to take second place from Marquez. There were only three laps to close down and pass Binder who had a comfortable advantage. Naverro entered the final lap with a chance to win, but two mistakes – in turn one and turn ten – cost him his first win.
In comparison, Binder was faultless throughout and took the difficult KTM to the second win of its final season. Aragon is a circuit which has been kind to Binder in the past, winning the Moto3 title there in 2016 – incidentally a race which was won by Jorge Navarro – by finishing second, and converting pole to victory there in 2018. Perhaps, though, this was his best performance in MotorLand, such is the difficulty of the KTM Moto2 chassis this season, and it proved why KTM are right to promote him to MotoGP in 2020 even without the intermediate class world title.
Navarro’s race was typical of his season, fast in the end but dropping too much in the beginning of the race which prevented him from being able to directly challenge Binder for the win. Additionally, it seems the nerves which have been attributed to his poor starts came into play once more in the final lap. With some more composure perhaps Navarro could have had a chance into the final two corners, but either way there is no doubt that the #9 is improving and the first intermediate class win can surely not be far.
For Alex Marquez, the race went perhaps better than expected – Augusto Fernandez not scoring, combined with the #73’s third place means that his championship advantage is extended to thirty-eight points over Navarro who takes second place in the standings from Fernandez (forty-six points back of Marquez). At this rate Marquez could confirm himself as World Champion in Australia.
Luca Marini finished fourth after being dropped from the second place battle, over five seconds from the win. Yet, it was a decent ride from the #10, who took his best result since his podium in Mugello in a difficult season for last year’s Malaysian GP winner.
Behind Marini was Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), the Brit making a strong result out of a good weekend, one which he will hope can set up a strong end to his season. Tom Luthi dropped back after the opening laps when he was fighting for the podium and finished sixth, ahead of Iker Lecuona (American Racing), Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40), Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Mar VDS) who completed the top ten.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) was unable to repeat his performance of Misano and finished eleventh, ahead of Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46), Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Temporary Forward) and Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) who took the final point in fifteenth.
Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) was sixteenth ahead of his home round in Buriram. The Thai was ahead of Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) in seventeenth, Bo Bendsneyder (NTS RW Racing GP) in eighteenth, Dominique Aegerter (MV Agusta Temporary Forward) in nineteenth and Jesko Raffin (Dynavolt Intact GP) who completed the top twenty in place of the injured Marcel Schrotter.
Twenty-first over the line was Simone Corsi (NTS RW Racing GP), ahead of Augusto Fernandez, Jake Dixon (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team), Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team), Lukas Tulovic (Kiefer Racing), Philipp Oettl (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), Xavi Cardelus (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team), Gabriele Ruiu in place of Mattia Pasini at Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2, Gerry Salim in place of Dimas Ekky in IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, and Joe Roberts (American Racing) who was the last of the thirty finishers.
The only retirement from the race was Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) who was unhurt after his crash.
Qualifying for the Moto2 World Championship riders in Aragon for round fourteen of the 2019 season took place in good conditions as Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took pole position.
In Q1, Fabio Di Giannantonio (+Ego Speed Up) topped the session to move through to Q2 along with Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team), Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia).
In Q2, it was Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) who took pole position ahead of his main championship rival, Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40), by over one tenth of a second. The two main championship rivals will be joined tomorrow on the front row by the aggressive Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), last year’s winner of this race, which sets up tomorrow’s race to be entertaining in the battle for the lead.
Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) heads up the second row from Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) who seems to have rediscovered some form this weekend. The final spot on the second row will be taken by Jorge Navarro (+Ego Speed Up); whilst row three sees Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) ahead of Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2).
Iker Lecuona (American Racing) completes the qualifying top ten and heads up row four, being joined by Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) and Misano runner-up Fabio Di Giannantonio. On row five, Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) starts ahead of Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Andrea Locatelli; whilst Marco Bezzecchi is with Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) and Somkiat Chantra on row six.
Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward) was the fastest rider to not make Q2, and will start tomorrow’s race from nineteenth, alongside Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Bo Bendsneyder (NTS RW Racing GP) on row seven.
The eighth row consists of Marcel Schrotter’s replacement at Dynavolt Intact GP, Jesko Raffin, in twentieth, ahead of Joe Roberts (American Racing) and Dominique Aegerter (MV Agusts Idealavoro Forward); while row nine sees Jake Dixon (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) ahead of Simone Corsi (NTS RW Racing GP) and Philipp Oettl (Red Bull KTM Tech 3); and the tenth row has Lukas Tulovic (Kiefer Racing) in front of Xavi Cardelus (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) and Gerry Salim (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) who is replacing Dimas Ekky this weekend. The back row has only one rider, with Gabriele Ruiu (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) who this weekend is in place of Mattia Pasini.
By the time the Moto2 riders got out on track for their thirteenth qualifying of the 2019 World Championship, the surface in Misano was positively cooked, and conditions were therefore difficult – making the most of the MotoGP rubber early on would be key to a good starting position.
Q1 saw Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) top the session with his final flying lap from compatriot Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), Iker Lecuona (American Racing) and Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo), all of whom moved through with Marini to Q2.
The Q2 session saw Fabio Di Giannantonio (+Ego Speed Up) score his first Moto2 World Championship pole position in his second home race of the season – although, the #21 is a Roman. Di Giannantonio’s rookie season in the intermediate class has been a strong one, and this pole position is one which he has earned throughout the year. Lining up alongside the Italian will be championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), with whom Di Giannantonio fought a cold war in Brno, and Silverstone winner Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) who recovered well from a crash in FP3 and set himself up well to go back-to-back for the first time in his career in tomorrow’s race.
The ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team duo of Remy Gardner and Tetsuta Nagashima head up the second row, and are joined Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS); while Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) heads up row three from Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) on the Briton’s birthday and Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) who had by far his best qualifying performance of the season with ninth place.
The top ten is rounded out by the returning Enea Bastianini, as he lines up at the front of row four ahead of Italtrans Racing Team teammate Andrea Locatelli and fellow compatriot Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) who ensures that the fourth row is an all-Italian affair. Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) qualified thirteenth ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) and Jorge Navarro (+Ego Speed Up) who will be disappointed to see his teammate on pole from the vantage point of fifteenth.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo pairing of Brad Binder and Jorge Martin head up row six from Iker Lecuona, meaning KTM have a sixth-row lockout.
Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) was the fastest rider to miss out on Q2, qualifying nineteenth. The Thai rider will be joined on the seventh row by the MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward pairing of Stefano Manzi and Dominique Aegerter who were twentieth and twenty-first respectively.
Row eight will see Simone Corsi (NTS RW Racing GP) from twenty-second as he replaces Steven Odendaal on the NTS, something he will continue to do for the remainder of the season. Corsi will be joined by NTS RW Racing GP teammate Bo Bendsneyder and Joe Roberts (American Racing) on the eighth row, whilst Jake Dixon (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) heads up row nine from Philipp Oettl (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and Lukas Tulovic (Kiefer Racing). On the back row, Xavi Cardelus (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) will start ahead of the two replacement riders, Adam Norrodin (in place of Khairul Idham Pawi at Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Andi Izdihar (in place of Dimas Ekky at IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia).
Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP) suffered a broken clavicle in practice, and will miss the remainder of the weekend as a result, and most likely next weekend’s Aragon GP as well.
Round twelve of the 2019 Moto2 World Championship took place in Silverstone, as Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) took his second career GP win.
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) made the holeshot from pole position, with Jorge Navarro (Campetella Speed Up) in tow. The Spanish pair were significantly faster in the early stages of the race, pulling away by almost two seconds.
Things changed, though, when Marquez crashed on lap six, leaving Navarro alone at the front. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), behind, started to reel in the Speed Up rider, bringing Augusto Fernandez with him. Seven laps after Marquez crashed and Binder took second from Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), the South African hit the front.
Binder held the lead for three laps, before Navarro was able to respond. Having had some time to regroup, Navarro was able to pull a small gap for himself when he returned to the front, but Fernandez’ pace on the penultimate lap when he passed Binder put him in position to pass his compatriot for the lead on the final lap.
Fernandez made his move in the second part of the Vale chicane, a strange move and certainly an unexpected one on the part of Navarro, who was unable to respond before the finish.
The race was a tyre management exercise, and Fernandez was the best at it. Normally, Speed Up look after the tyres well, but despite Fernandez’ aggressive style and slightly harsher Kalex frame, he was able to find more grip in the final stages than his rivals, and his second Grand Prix win arrived as a result.
Jorge Navarro has had few better chances to win a Moto2 race, but he was unable to take this one. It seemed that Marquez’ crash unsettled the #9, and perhaps the reasonably significant lead that he inherited as a result played on his mind. Either way, it was a decent result to end a strong weekend from the Spaniard, who moved to joint-second in the championship on points, along with Fernandez and Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) – the three of them thirty-five points behind Marquez.
Third place for Brad Binder was extremely impressive. He failed to make Q2 directly on Saturday and was clearly riding at the very limit of the bike for the whole race. When Remy Gardner passed him on the penultimate lap, there was a good response from Binder. The South African made his move on Gardner for third as Navarro tried to make his move for the lead on Fernandez, in Brooklands, but while Navarro was unable to make his move stick, Binder was able to pull the KTM down to the apex and prevent a counter-attack from Gardner. It was a well-deserved rostrum for the 2016 Moto3 champion.
Whilst Gardner missed out on the podium, the British GP represented a return to form for the Australian who went slightly off the boil after Jerez, where he was involved in the turn one crash, and the rear tyre changed. Tetsuta Nagashima made sure of a double ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team top five in Silverstone with fifth.
Sixth place went to Fabio Di Giannantonio (Campetella Speed Up), who was ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) after the Italian came from eighteenth on the grid. Eighth was Tom Luthi, who will have been disappointed to fail to make significant in-roads into Marquez’ championship lead, instead slipping into a battle for second with Fernandez and Navarro. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) finished ninth ahead of Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) who completed the top ten.
Iker Lecuona (American Racing) was eleventh ahead of fellow KTM rider Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2), Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) who took the final point.
Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) was sixteenth, ahead of Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward), Dominique Aegerter (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward), Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) who completed the top twenty.
Twenty-first went to Bo Bendsneyder (NTS RW Racing GP) who was ahead of Joe Roberts (American Racing), Jake Dixon (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team), Philipp Oettl (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), Steven Odendaal (NTS RW Racing GP), Lukas Tulovic (Kiefer Racing), Xavi Cardelus (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) and Teppei Nagoe (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) who finished last in his third race replacing Dimas Ekky.
After Marquez dropped out, Bradley Smith’s replacement ride for Khairul Idham Pawi at Petronas Sprinta Racing was the next to come to an early end, before Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) crashed out on the final lap.
The Moto2 World Championship heads to Silverstone this weekend for the twelfth round of the 2019 season – the British Grand Prix.
There has been a different winner in Silverstone in each of the nine Moto2 races, and the only rider on this year’s Moto2 grid who has won in Silverstone in the Moto2 class is Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP). The two races since the summer break have been difficult ones for Luthi, crashing out in Brno and finishing only sixth last time out in Austria. Alex Marquez’ (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) winning run was broken in Austria by Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) but nonetheless the Spaniard was able to further extend his points lead. With only eight races to go it will be crucial for Luthi to take points out of Marquez in Silverstone – time is running out.
This is positive for Marquez, since Luthi hasn’t come close to beating him since he started winning in Le Mans. Additionally, Marquez has a decent record in Britain, finishing fourth in 2015, second in 2014 on his way to the Moto3 title, and beating Maverick Vinales to the final podium position in 2013. He is missing Luthi’s intermediate class win in Silverstone, but it is a place where Marquez tends to go quite well, and his form means he is a strong favourite for this weekend.
Having won KTM’s home race last time out, Brad Binder will be hoping to return to the podium for the fourth time in five races this weekend. KTM’s departure from Moto2 at the end of the season means that it is unlikely that the intermediate class chassis will see much improvement for the remainder of the season, but a track like Silverstone where the rider can make a lot of difference will be one where Binder can fight at the front again.
Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) were both in the fight for the win in Austria, until Marini lost the front in turn nine towards the end of the race and wiped them both out. Marini was unhurt but Bastianini has a wrist injury, although is expecting to be fine this weekend.
Whilst Bastianini should be fine to ride this weekend, Khairul Idham Pawi is still out of action. The Malaysian has missed a lot of races this season, with three riders taking his place. First, it was Mattia Pasini who replaced him, then Jonas Folger. The latter’s decision to focus on his Yamaha testing role for the remainder of the year has opened up the Petronas Sprinta Racing seat once more, with it being taken up this time by home rider Bradley Smith who has some experience with the bike from a test earlier in the week at Mallory Park.
The Red Bull Ring in Austria played host to the eleventh round of the 2019 Moto2 World Championship, as Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took his first win of the season.
Sunday began with Pit Beirer announcing that KTM would be pulling out of Moto2 at the end of 2019 to focus efforts on their MotoGP RC16 project.
As a response, Binder made the holeshot from the middle of the front row, and immediately began to escape with pole sitter Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) and Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) in tow. Soon, though, Binder was alone out front, as a mistake from Vierge in braking for turn four saw him hit the back of Nagashima, taking them both out of the race.
That left Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) to chase Binder, just over one second up the road from the Australian. Behind Gardner was a big group, back to the fringes of the top ten and the fighting within it was tense.
Gardner, though, along with Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) were able to escape from the pack and chase after Binder. Despite his poor qualifying, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was also able to join the fray.
The front group was reduced once more, this time to three, as Gardner made a mistake passing Binder. The #87 ran wide in turn one and, whilst Bastianini was able to pass him cleanly, Marquez clipped the front wheel of the Australian’s Kalex on the way through, taking Gardner out of the race. Marquez did nothing wrong, but that did not stop the gesticulations from his rival, Gardner throwing hands at the Spaniard as he sat in the middle of the track with twenty bikes heading straight for him.
The trio at the front soon became a quartet, with Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) joining the fun, but it didn’t last long. Marini’s best part of the track was through turn eight, where he would get a better drive than his rivals, and he could pass in turn nine. This is what he did to Alex Marquez with four laps to go, but when he tried the same move on Enea Bastianini one lap later, he lost the front and took them both out, Bastianini having to be carried away on a stretcher.
That left Marquez as Binder’s only challenger, but he was unable to close the gap and make a move on the South African, who took his first win of the season, and KTM’s first Moto2 win since Miguel Oliveira won in Valencia last season. It was, then, a good day for KTM in the Moto2 category, but perhaps there is some irony that they final win the intermediate class race at their home GP on the day they announce they don’t want to compete in the class anymore.
Alex Marquez’ second place was his first trip to the podium in any position other than first since he was third in Argentina. Although not a win, second place was important for the championship leader, whose points advantage extended to forty-three points as he proved that even from a bad qualifying and in a difficult weekend, or one where the field is closely matched, he still has the ability to churn out a good result.
The chaos in the final laps with Gardner, Bastianini and Marini all dropping out meant that Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) was able to take the final podium position, as he took to the rostrum for the first time since he was third in Barcelona.
Fourth place went to Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40), which can be considered a good result for the tall Italian at a track where his size will be of a disadvantage. Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) recovered from his thirteenth-place qualifying to round out the top five.
Tom Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) was quite fast at the start, but as the race went on it became more difficult for the Swiss to be consistent, as he made numerous mistakes in the several hard-braking points at the Red Bull Ring. The #12 loses more points to Marquez with his sixth place, now forty-three behind ahead of Silverstone.
Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took his best result of the season with seventh place ahead of Iker Lecuona (American Racing), Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) who completed the top ten.
Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) was eleventh ahead of rookie and front-row-starter Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia); whilst Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) was thirteenth in front of Fabio Di Giannantonio (Beta Tools Speed Up) and Bo Bendsneyder (NTS RW Racing GP) who completed the points.
Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward) was sixteenth, ahead of teammate Dominique Aegerter (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward), Jonas Folger (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Jake Dixon (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) and Steven Odendaal (NTS RW Racing GP) who completed the top twenty.
Twenty-first over the line was Joe Roberts (American Racing), ahead of Philipp Oettl (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) who beat his teammate Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3). Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) was only twenty-fourth, ahead of Dimas Ekky’s replacement at IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, Teppei Nagoe. Xavi Cardelus (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) was twenty-sixth, whilst Lukas Tulovic (Kiefer Racing) was twenty-seventh and last.
All of the retirements were from the front group, with Vierge taking out Nagashima before apologising; Gardner having his front wheel taken away by Marquez and Marini cleaning out Bastianini before apologising.