Pol Espargaro ensured Scott Redding’s wait for a maiden Moto2 victory would go on for a little longer after winning a nail-biting Qatar Grand Prix. The front two were in a class of their own once they’d overtaken Takaaki Nakagami and finished twelve seconds clear of the Japanese rider who claimed his first podium in Grand Prix racing.
Espargaro had performed heroics to snatch pole position from Nakagami yesterday but that hard work was undone within seconds of the race getting underway as the Italtrans rider stormed into the lead. Espargaro slotted into second but that would soon come under threat too as Redding dived underneath him into turn six on the fifth lap. Nakagami was busy building up a one second lead at the front but Scott wouldn’t take long to reel him back in.
By lap nine, Redding was all over the back of the Japanese rider and produced a carbon copy of his earlier move on Espargaro to take the lead. Marc VDS would have been praying for their rider to escape at the front but an error from Nakagami on the next lap would release Espargaro and the head-to-head battle at the front was on. Pol was content to do the chasing until the final five laps when he finally made a move into turn one, sliding up the inside of Scott but the Briton wouldn’t be shaken off and swarmed all over the back of the Pons Kalex.
A first Moto2 win seemed to be within reach, especially when he had a look up the inside of Espargaro into turn ten but Pol hung on long enough to force a mistake from his pursuer. Clearly lining himself up ahead of the final corner, Redding ran wide at the penultimate bend and was forced to sit up, consigning him to second place and giving Espargaro a clear run to the finish line.
Nakagami trailed home a distant third while Dominique Aegerter forced himself to the front of an eleven-rider pack squabbling for fourth. The group was covered by 3.586s with Mika Kallio fifth on the second Marc VDS Kalex ahead of Julian Simon, Simone Corsi, Alex De Angelis and Esteve Rabat with Xavier Simeon rounding out the top ten.
Danny Kent resumed his 2012 rivalry with Sandro Cortese in the race to finish as top rookie but the Moto3 champion prevailed in the fight over seventeenth while Kyle Smith completed his first Grand Prix in 21st place.