Arbolino Masterclass Following Red Flag: Moto2 French GP Race

Tony Arbolino wins the red-flagged Moto2 French Grand Prix ahead of Filip Salac, who took his first podium in the dry, and Alonso Lopez following a three-rider crash on lap two.

After starting on pole, Sam Lowes had a good start, but Lopez was able to get past at turn two to take the lead of the race. Further down the field, Jake Dixon and Aron Canet brushed against each other but were both able to continue. Fermin Aldeguer was the big gainer during the first lap moving up from 11th place to fifth at the midway point of the lap.

Coming over the start-finish line for the first time, Arbolino overtook Lopez to lead the field. At turn two, Lowes caused a yellow flag after crashing when his front tyre locked. At the exit of turn five, Albert Arenas, Manuel Gonzalez and Canet were involved in a crash which initially resulted in a yellow flag followed by a red flag on lap 3.

Following the red flag, information was shared that all riders were conscious, and Canet was taken to the medical centre for further checks.

As three laps had not been completed, a shortened 14-lap race with original grid positions and a quick-start procedure was selected as the restart method. All riders were eligible for the restart.

All riders who were able to start the race made it out of the pitlane in time to start from their grid positions except for Lowes who was 5 seconds too late and therefore started the warmup lap from the pitlane and the race from the back of the grid.

From the restart, Arbolino got the best start and was able to take the race lead into the Dunlop Chicane. Pedro Acosta had a better restart the second time around moving up to fifth. Aldegueur was unable to make up as many places on the first lap, ending up in sixth place as he crossed the start-finish line.

Lopez and Acosta spent two laps fighting for second place which allowed Arbolino to break away from the rest of the field and Salac to catch them up. By lap four, Salac was able to get past Lopez, but Arbolino pulled out a 0.7-second lead over Acosta.

At turn 7 on lap 5, Acosta crashed out of second place promoting Salac to second place. Also on lap 5, Rory Skinner crashed out at turn 6.

Arbolino continued to extend the gap to 1.8s until he made a mistake on lap 6 allowing Salac to reduce the time between them to 0.7s.

Dixon was able to pass Aldeguer on lap 7, just before the Spanish rider received communication that he had received a long-lap penalty for taking a shortcut between turns 9 and 10. As Aldeguer completed his long-lap penalty, Sergio Garcia and Ai Ogura were able to pass him.

By lap 10, the gap between Arbolino and Salac had been at 0.5s at its lowest, and Salac kept setting laps faster than the Italian rider but was unable to do so before the chequered flag waved after fourteen laps. Lopez was able to cross the line in third place. Celestino Vietti finished just behind Lopez.

Dixon and Somkiat Chantra battled for fifth place until Dixon was able to pass the Thai rider at Garage Vert. Dixon and Chantra finished the race in fifth and sixth place, respectively. Barry Baltus was close behind the pair, crossing the line in seventh.

A few laps after his long-lap penalty, Aldeguer overtook the two riders who passed him earlier and finished 9 seconds behind the race winner.

After the crash during the first start, Lowes was able to salvage one point by finishing in 15th place.

1 Tony Arbolino ITA Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 22m 34.233s
2 Filip Salac CZE QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 22m 34.853s
3 Alonso Lopez SPA Lightech SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 22m 35.770s
4 Celestino Vietti ITA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 22m 36.426s
5 Jake Dixon GBR Inde GASGAS Aspar M2 (Kalex) 22m 37.274s
6 Somkiat Chantra THA IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 22m 38.408s
7 Barry Baltus BEL Fieten Olie Racing GP (Kalex) 22m 43.086s
8 Fermín Aldeguer SPA Lightech SpeedUp (Boscoscuro) 22m 43.670s
9 Ai Ogura JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia (Kalex) 22m 44.929s
10 Sergio Garcia SPA Pons Wegow Los40 (Kalex) 22m 45.050s
11 Lukas Tulovic GER Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact (Kalex) 22m 45.821s
12 Joe Roberts USA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 22m 46.361s
13 Jeremy Alcoba SPA QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2 (Kalex) 22m 46.570s
14 Dennis Foggia ITA Italtrans Racing Team (Kalex) 22m 47.294s
15 Sam Lowes GBR Elf Marc VDS Racing Team (Kalex) 22m 47.928s
16 Sean Dylan Kelly USA American Racing (Kalex) 22m 48.866s
17 Marcos Ramirez SPA Forward Team (Forward) 22m 52.477s
18 Bo Bendsneyder NED Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team (Kalex) 22m 54.113s
19 Senna Agius AUS Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact (Kalex) 22m 56.848s
20 Zonta Vd Goorbergh NED Fieten Olie Racing GP (Kalex) 22m 56.917s
21 Lorenzo Dalla Porta ITA Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team (Kalex) 22m 59.498s
22 Izan Guevara SPA Inde GASGAS Aspar M2 (Kalex) 22m 59.580s
23 Borja Gomez SPA Fantic Racing (Kalex) 23m 4.441s
  Alex Escrig SPA Forward Team (Forward) DNF
  Pedro Acosta SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) DNF
  Rory Skinner GBR American Racing (Kalex) DNF
  Manuel Gonzalez SPA Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 (Kalex) DNS
  Albert Arenas SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo (Kalex) DNS
  Aron Canet SPA Pons Wegow Los40 (Kalex) DNS

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

Moto2: Acosta Dominates Season Opener

pedro acosta portuguese Moto2

Pedro Acosta, labelled by many as the favourite to become the 2023 Moto2 World Champion, vindicated those predictions with a flawless ride in the Algarve.

The Red Bull KTM Team Ajo rider barely broke a sweat enroute to the first of what is likely to be many race wins this season.

After a solid performance on Saturday, Czech rider Filip Salac earned his first pole position in Moto2. He was joined on the front row by Aron Canet, starting 2nd, and the aforementioned Acosta, starting 3rd.

It was Canet who led the field down to turn one on the back of a great launch, with Salac hot on his heels. The polesitter briefly recovered the lead at the start of lap two, before he was shuffled backwards by Canet and Acosta.

There were frantic scenes behind the leaders too, as Bo Bendsneyder was taken out by Alonso Lopez. The Spaniard was given a long lap penalty for his troubles. Moments later Acosta assumed the lead of the race – He would now hold it until the chequered flag was waved.

After joining the newly formed Fantic Racing over the winter, Celestino Vietti made some early progress before serving his double long lap penalty which was carried over from last season’s final race in Valencia.

With the lead pair pulling away from the rest of the field, Marc VDS rider Tony Arbolino muscled his way into third. He then set about the impossible task of reeling in both Acosta and Canet.

After a disappointing qualifying session, Britain’s Jake Dixon had made steady progress through the field. At the halfway stage he was enjoying a good battle with Moto2 rookie, Darryn Binder. The pair exchanged positions before leapfrogging Jeremy Alcoba. Moments later, a mistake from Binder caused him to slide off the asphalt. The South African was able to re-join the race.

Despite Canet’s best efforts, he wasn’t able to challenge Acosta and by the end of the race, the gap between the two was well over a second. The former Moto3 champion looked unstoppable, kickstarting his campaign in style with a flawless ride.

Canet, still in search of his first Moto2 win, finished 2nd for the tenth time in the intermediate class. It was an impressive performance from Arbolino who brought his Kalex home in 3rd.

The British riders had a good day. Dixon managed to claim 6th after making good progress from the fourth row on the grid. Sam Lowes finished just behind him in 7th. Rory Skinner built on his wildcard appearances last season. The Scotsman, now a fulltime rider in the class, finished in 22nd.

After his lap 15 fall, Binder recovered to finish 16th, just missing out on the points in his first Moto2 start. Moto3 graduates Sergio Garcia and Dennis Foggia looked impressive, finishing 15th and 18th respectively.

Feature Image: MotoGP

Moto2: Gresini Reveals 2022 Machine with New Livery

With a new livery and two new riders, Gresini Racing have unveiled their 2022 contender.

Alessandro Zaccone and Filip Salac will take the reigns of the new Gresini Racing machine for the first time in 2022. But the riders are not the only new element for Gresini this year – they are also sporting a new paint job.

The red and white colours have been replaced by a blue theme, which will appear on their machines in all classes, including this Moto2 bike.

Zaccone joins the team after a strong MotoE season, in which he sat at the top of the championship standings until the final race. Salac is also enjoying a promotion as he steps up from Moto3. Despite a difficult year, Salac did enjoy a podium at the French GP.

Reflecting on this, Salac commented that “Everything will be new for me after a difficult year in Moto3. I was too tall for that bike. This winter I trained with a bike more similar to Moto2 and I can say that I feel much more comfortable. It will be a new adventure for me and I will have to gain a lot of experience, I will do everything possible to learn quickly and I will always give my best.”

Image Credit: MotoGP

His new team mate, Zaccone, added that “It will be my first year in the Moto2 World Championship so the most important thing will be to try to learn the new tracks as quickly as possible: the first four ones are going to be a little bit tough for me, but I can’t wait to try!”

He continued to say “It’s like a dream that is about to come true, we just have to wait for the tests. In the meantime, I’m training at the gym as well as doing some motocross and Supermoto riding, trying to get back to full fitness after last year’s injury. We are almost there, so I am confident!”

Both riders will have a chance to put this confidence to the test as the first official Moto2 test session commences on the 22nd of February.

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

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