Pol Espargaro kept his feint championship hopes alive with an outstanding victory at Aragon. The Spaniard was part of a six-man leading pack which included Marc Marquez, Andrea Iannone and British duo Bradley Smith and Scott Redding but escaped with a lap and a half remaining to win by 1.4s.
After his surprise pole position, Simone Corsi set off determined to make the most of the opportunity. The Ioda rider beat Espargaro and Iannone into turn one with Claudio Corti, Smith and Redding all between the leader and Marc Marquez. That situation would soon be rectified though as the series leader picked off the bikes ahead one-by-one, eventually climbing to second by the start of lap four.
As soon as Marquez moved into second, Corsi’s lead was looking rather precarious and the astonishing straight-line speed of the Spaniard’s Suter enabled him to breeze past Simone’s FTR on the back straight. Espargaro was mindful that he had to prevent Marquez from escaping at the front and before the sixth lap was completed, was ahead of Corsi himself. Iannone maintained fourth for Speed Master with Johann Zarco embroiled in a battle with the two Brits for fifth, Smith currently ahead of Redding.
As the race entered the closing stages, Corsi had slipped out of contention leaving six to fight for the victory and Iannone was emerging as the main threat to Marquez. An error from Espargaro at turn one had handed second to the no.29 and with seven laps remaining, Andrea dived past Marquez to lead for the first time.
Not only had Marquez lost the lead, but Espargaro had nicked second almost immediately and it was the Pons rider that made the decisive move on lap 18, outbraking Iannone into turn one. Marquez tried to repeat Pol’s earlier move on him and follow through into second but Iannone was in no mood to surrender second and the subsequent squabbling handed the leader an unassailable advantage.
The race for the other places on the podium was still very much alive with Iannone and Marquez slugging it out but Scott Redding and Bradley Smith were swarming all over the back of them having both seen off Zarco. Marquez finally took care of Iannone at turn seven after forcing his way up the inside but the worst was still to come for Andrea as Redding produced an overtaking move of supreme skill and opportunism to push past at turn nine. Considering he’d undergone carpal tunnel surgery in the build-up to this weekend, a podium finish was nothing short of sensational for the British teenager.
Fourth would not have gone down well with Iannone but he did at least hold off Smith for fifth with the Tech 3 rider also enjoying an excellent afternoon, finishing just two second behind race-winner Espargaro. Zarco finished a comfortable sixth ahead of Corsi with Jordi Torres an excellent eighth for Aspar. Claudio Corti’s bright start was as good as it got for the Italtrans rider who dropped to ninth while Anthony West claimed his best result since Le Mans with tenth, beating Thomas Luthi by a quarter of a second. Gino Rea’s quest to add to his solitary Moto2 point continued though after he trailed home in 22nd.