Espargaro On The Brink After Phillip Island Victory


Pol Espargaro has one hand on the Moto2 World Championship after winning the shortened Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island. The Spaniard has overtaken the absent Scott Redding at the head of the standings and with the Briton set to miss next weekend’s Japanese GP through injury, Espargaro could be crowned champion at Motegi.

Following the overheating problems that affected the Dunlop tyres in free practice, the Grand Prix became a thirteen lap dash with Espargaro keen to lead from the front. The polesitter converted his qualifying advantage into the lead at turn one but his Pons teammate Esteve Rabat dropped two places behind Alex de Angelis and Thomas Luthi.

Scott Redding’s misfortune would appear to have changed the championship into a straight fight between Espargaro and Rabat and the latter would see his hopes severely dented by an error at Doohan on the fifth lap. With Luthi on his inside, Esteve couldn’t keep his Kalex under control without drifting onto the tarmac run-off and falling back to ninth.

Espargaro was in the safest place at the front although Luthi began to threaten after passing De Angelis. The Swiss rider closed right onto the back of the Pons Kalex but a mistake at the Honda hairpin three laps from home saw him drop back slightly which in such a short race would prove decisive.

De Angelis failed to add to his two Moto2 victories in Australia and the final spot on the podium would also elude him with Jordi Torres pushing past four laps from the finish. Simone Corsi would also find a way through to demote Alex to fifth ahead of Dominique Aegerter and Mika Kallio. Esteve Rabat was able to re-pass Nicolas Terol but his recovery ended there, keeping him back in eighth and almost certainly ending his championship challenge.

Danny Kent and Gino Rea did at least bring some cheer for British supporters by scoring points in thirteenth and fourteenth respectively while Indonesian rider Doni Tata Pradita scored his first Moto2 point in fifteenth.