Marc Marquez took his second win in three races at the start of the 2012 Moto2 season but was forced to work extremely hard to fend off Pol Espargaro on the final lap. The two men who shared the first two victories went head-to-head again while Thomas Luthi finished third after fading in the closing stages.
Having started from pole, Marquez seized the advantage into turn one but next time he came into the right-hand hairpin, Luthi swooped around the outside of him to take the lead. Espargaro settled into third with Johann Zarco maintaining fourth from the second row of the grid. Scott Redding was the big loser, dropping three places, but the Briton soon brought himself onto the tail of Zarco in fifth.
Redding was expected to push Marquez all the way but it was Zarco that took up the challenge. Taking part in just his fourth Moto2 race, the Frenchman sped past Espargaro and had the temerity to dive past Marquez, taking second on lap nine.
The shuffling further back allowed Luthi to open up a two second advantage but Marquez and Espargaro quickly began to make inroads once they'd found a way past Zarco. The Spanish duo were right on Luthi's tail by half distance and at the end of lap 19, the Swiss rider was powerless to stop them breezing past him on the start/finish straight.
Luthi's victory hopes ended there and the top two fought it out amongst themselves. Espargaro continuously showed a wheel to Marquez as they powered towards turn one but kept his powder dry, opting to save his assault for the final lap.
As the pair entered turn one for the final time, Espargaro made his move but Marquez was ready for it, and ducked back underneath the Kalex as the rounded turn two. Pol tried again into turn three but struggled to slow his bike once again, allowing Marquez to regain the lead, and decided that physicality was the best approach at turn four, barging his way past the Suter rider.
As with the previous two attempts, Marquez managed to get the better exit so Espargaro had a fourth go at snatching the lead at the turn nine chicane. This time, the back end of the Kalex didn't share the Spaniard's optimism and stepped out of shape, almost forcing him off the track, and releasing Marquez to take maximum points.
Espargaro was fortunate that Luthi had fallen so far back as the Interwetten rider finished right on his tail in third, while Zarco ended up a lonely fourth, a sensational result given his lack of Moto2 experience.
Scott Redding simply went backwards after running with the leading group early on. The British teenager slipped all the way down to thirteenth at one point but clawed his way back to eleventh, finishing one place behind compatriot Bradley Smith.
Fifth would go to Andrea Iannone while Alex de Angelis won a fierce battle for sixth, pipping Toni Elias, Julian Simon and Mika Kallio in a race to the finish line. Smith and Redding were next home, 2.5 seconds later, while Gino Rea was a lap adrift in 28th after a technical problem with his Moriwaki forced him to pit midway through the race.