Mattia Pasini took a classy win in challenging conditions at Termas De Rio Hondo circuit.
Before the race had even gotten underway, the Moto2 boys were faced with a dilemma. Overnight rain had rendered the track a challenge, and having watched the Moto3 field get underway running wet tyres, barring a few brave riders who would lap faster at the end of the race on slicks, the decision had to be correct with what they ran. In the end every rider went for the same option, all running soft Dunlop slick tyres, to combat the conditions. It was a humid day, but the track was not drying fast.
As the race got underway, pole sitter Xavi Vierge got a blinding start, gaining several bike lengths over Lorenzo Baldassarri. Danny Kent from the end of the front row got an awful start, going backwards into 10th. Miguel Olivera assumed the 3rd position. The man who had started from 4th, Mattia Pasini, would quickly make his way to the front, assuming authority over Vierge and Olivera. As the race wore on, the four became a three, with Pasini, Olivera and Baldassarri making a break for the front, and Vierge would start to slip backwards into the clutches of the chasing pack. Sam Lowes would unfortunately make contact with Vierge, sending him wide and ensuring he would drop to 13th position, although it was in Lowes’ view, a ‘racing incident’.
At the midway point Vierge appeared to get his act together and stop his plunge through the field, as he latched onto the back of Alex Marquez, the fastest man on track. The ploy worked, and he was towed up to the leading trio quickly, and his cause was helped further when Marquez ran wide, allowing him through easily to mount a challenge. Marquez would drop to 5th, his final position. Of the three leaders, it appeared Baldassarri was feeling the pace the most, and when he was given an opportunity to challenge Pasini, he could not find the pace. Vierge and Olivera seemed to recognise this, and dispensed with the Pons rider quickly, to make it a trio with only five laps remaining.
The last five laps, we were treated to some fantastic skill and intelligence from all three riders, as they were not only racing each other, they also had to deal with a track that had a very narrow dry line. Olivera was first to blink, putting a move on Pasini, however it was short lived as straight back came the Kalex, with a very tough but fair move that would send the KTM back to third, where he would have to do it all again. The final lap came rolling around, and the Intact Dynavolt Kalex of Vierge was on the back wheel of Pasini, and he looked to line himself up for a move at the final corner. However Pasini used all the experience of over 200 Grands Prix to carve out a slight gap, which proved to be enough. He held a tight line into the final corner as both Vierge and Olivera, who seemed to find a second wind for the final lap, closed in but ran wide, allowing Pasini to take only his second ever Moto2 win. Vierge seemed happy with second place, his highest finish ever.
Two other notable rides came in the form of Remy Gardner and Joan Mir, who finished 6th and 7th respectively, as Gardner had to combat the reigning Moto3 champion all race, finally making a break near the end to finish a comfortable 2.954 seconds ahead. Danny Kent would end up 12th, and score four well earned championship points. The other two rookies, Romano Fenati and Bo Bendsneyder, would not score points.
We now have a week break before we go to COTA, for the Grand Prix of the Americas.
For the full race results click here.
For the championship standings click here.