Marc Marquez left Pol Espargaro heartbroken once again after snatching victory on a thrilling final lap at Misano. The two Spaniards reeled in long-time leader Andrea Iannone before slugging it out over the final 4.2km with the order changing on five separate occasions.
Iannone was clearly hell-bent on a home victory and grabbed the lead from polesitter Marquez three laps into the race. The Speed Master rider was only ahead for a matter of seconds though when he was stopped in his tracks by a red flag. Gino Rea’s Gresini Suter had blown an engine, dropping oil at the final corner, and race direction were forced to halt the race while the track was cleaned. The consolation for Iannone was that he would at least start from pole when the race resumed.
With a new 14 lap race declared, Iannone set about building an early lead in the hope of defending it over the shortened distance and it looked to be working as Espargaro and Marquez found themselves stuck behind Esteve Rabat in the opening laps.
By lap five, Rabat had been cleared but Iannone was over a second clear of Espargaro and two ahead of Marquez. While his pursuers continued to lap in the 1:48s, Iannone’s pace tailed off though and he fell into the clutches of Espargaro four laps from home. Pol pushed his way through into the lead at Tramanto with Marquez following through at the end of the back straight, leaving Andrea to make do with third after a brave attempt to getaway.
Espargaro kept Marquez in his pocket initially but the championship leader was in no mood to settle for twenty points and dived past at Quercia. Espargaro fought back instantly and sent a daring move up the inside at Tramanto but he’d left his braking fractionally late, allowing Marquez to snatch the lead back. The Pons rider tried again into the Carro hairpin three corners from the finish but once again, his rival would get a better exit and regain the edge straight away.
For Espargaro, his chance had gone and the body language of the 21 year old coming onto the home straight said it all. He’d been beaten fair and square, an all-too familiar feeling in a dominant season for Marquez. Iannone took a safe third while Mika Kallio overhauled Rabat for fourth. Dominique Aegerter finished sixth ahead of solid performances for British duo Scott Redding and Bradley Smith in seventh and eighth respectively.
Thomas Luthi’s championship chances have realistically disappeared after he could only manage ninth while Johann Zarco rounded out the top ten for JIR Moto2.