Fabio Quartararo took his maiden win under the scorching sun of Montmelo in the Catalunya Moto2 race.
Before the race got underway, all Moto2 eyes were on Jorge Martin, the man who was confirmed to be graduating to the Red Bull KTM team for next season. He would have a terrible Moto3 race however, and would crash while leading.
The surprise pole man was Quartararo on the Speed Up chassis, ahead of home favourite Alex Marquez. Sam Lowes would be extremely unfortunate when his KTM would not start, they did manage to get it fired after replacing the fuel tank and Lowes would be able to start from the back of the grid.
Marquez would take the holeshot ahead of Marcel Schrotter and championship leader Pecco Bagnaia, but Miguel Olivera would get a fantastic start, going to fifth from 17th at the start. There was an incident involving Stefano Manzi, Niki Tuuli and Bo Bendsneyder at turn 6. None of them would remount. Quartararo would drop to fourth, but regain third at turn 9 from Bagnaia. The Suzuki MotoGP bound Joan Mir was ninth. The Pons bikes, looking resplendent in their special livery, were struggling. Quarararo would bully Schrotter out of turn 4 to go second with 18 laps to go.
With 16 laps to go, the first person of the leaders to make a mistake was Schrotter, going wide at turn 1 and dropping to eighth, as Olivera was loiting with intent around Marquez. Jorge Navarro would crash out yet again with 15 laps to go. Olivera would then get it done at turn 10, and proceeeded to drop the hammer, stretching the gap to 0.5 seconds in three corners. Xavi Vierge would close down the leading quintet very quickly, as Quartararo took second from Marquez and Vierge didn’t wait to pass Bagnaia at the earliest opportunity. With 13 laps remaining Quartararo took it by the scruff of the neck, passing Olivera at turn 4 and attempting to break the pack by setting a new race lap record. We would lose Romano Fenati at turn 9, leaving Mir as top rookie.
With 10 laps to go the man with the hottest pace was Mattia Pasini, passing Bagnaia for seventh place. Bagnaia seemed to be struggling massively with the heat, as Mir also joined fellow rookie Fenati on the floor at the final corner, losing the front massively early and giving himself no chance of saving it. Lowes found himself in the points with 8 laps remaining, doing very well to keep his head as Pasini took far too many liberties with the front end at turn 4 and crashed out. The heat seemed to be getting to the tyres, and it was going to become a race of attrition.
With only five laps remaining, the riders seemed to have hit a wall with the pace, the race had settled down and the only pass to happen in almost three laps was Schrotter passing Vierge for fifth place. Isaac Vinales would crash at turn 4, following Pasini’s lead and dropping it in the huge gravel trap. Lowes would get himself up to ninth place, passing his team mate Iker Lecuona. Remy Gardner would find himself in 15th place on his return from two broken legs, impressing more than a few people. If there was to be any change of positions with two laps to go, it would be for the final podium place, as Marquez would have to resist a double Dynavolt attack.
The final lap rolled around and Quartararo would just take his time and roll it to the finish, to take his first ever win in the World Championship level. Olivera would take second to complete a brilliant comeback and close the championship up to within 1 solitary point to Bagnaia, and Marquez would round out the podium, but flatter to decieve once again. Bagnaia would have his misery compounded by his fellow Italian and flatmate Lorenzo Baldassarri, getting pipped to the line and falling to eighth.
There was drama after the race, as Olivera was torpedoed off his bike on the slowing down lap by Simone Corsi, and would have to get scootered back to the parc ferme as his bike was utterly destroyed.
Next we go to Assen, can Bagnaia regain his control of the championship, or will Olivera seize control? Can Marquez get his foot in the door at last? Find out on Overtake Motorsport!
Full results here.
Championship standings here.