Marc Marquez struck a potentially critical blow in the battle for the 2011 Moto2 World Championship as he took his seventh victory of the season, capitalising on a problematic day for title rival Stefan Bradl.
The first half of the race was anything but straight-forward for Marquez though as Bradl put a forceful move on him into turn seven on the opening lap. The German handed the lead back with a mistake four corners later but neither of them would lead over the line, with Scott Redding diving into the lead at turn 14.
The Briton relished the opportunity to lead a Grand Prix for the second race in succession but Marquez used his superior straight-line speed to draft past him on the back straight two laps later. Another couple of laps passed before the feisty Bradl took his turn at the front, repeating Marquez's move on the 968m straight, but the constant changes of position were slowing the entire leading group and bringing several other riders into contention.
Ominously, Andrea Iannone was leading the charge, bringing the likes of Simone Corsi and Alex De Angelis with him. The Italian's progress was so rapid that he was up with Bradl by lap eight and under braking for turn one, “Crazy Joe” took the lead.
Iannone's involvement in the leading group triggered some of the most electrifying racing seen all season. One lap after taking the lead, Iannone watched Marquez scythe past him into turn one, before striking back at turn six. Bradl looked to capitalise on the mayhem by taking second but instead lost two places to the opportunistic Redding and De Angelis. Iannone and Marquez weren't finished either and went side-by-side through the final corner.
Marquez led over the line and although Iannone stormed up the inside into turn one, the Spaniard sneaked through on the exit. It only took another half a lap for the lead to change again though as Marquez ran wide at turn ten but it wasn't Iannone, but Corsi who took the lead after the FTR rider had ghosted through the field.
Iannone's aggression saw him back in front as they powered down the back straight but the next change of lead would be decisive. Seeing his title rival slipping down the order, Marquez sensed the opportunity to escape and after Iannone outbraked himself into turn one on lap 16, he suddenly had breathing space which he never looked like relinquishing.
Iannone and Corsi fought to the chequered flag in the race for second but the Suter rider took the honours by 0.092s with De Angelis hot on their heels in fourth.
Stefan Bradl's fall down the order was alarming and appeared to be a result of a problem with his Kalex machine. After seeing Redding and De Angelis go past him, the German lost seventh to Aleix Espargaro while Bradley Smith and Thomas Luthi pushed their way through too.
Espargaro benefitted from a late problem for Scott Redding to take fifth, with Smith a superb sixth from 15th on the grid. Luthi grabbed seventh while Bradl held off Dominique Aegerter on the final lap to finish eighth. In truth, it could have been an awful lot worse for him with tenth-placed Mika Kallio one of five riders to finish within a second of him.
Eighth place left him with eight championship points but Marquez’s latest victory has brought his lead down to six points, having led by 82 after his last win at Silverstone.
Despite his early promise, Redding tumbled down the order with worn tyres and only had one point to show for his efforts. Julian Simon fared even worse after starting from the front row and finished a disappointing 17th.