Pol Espargaro has closed the gap on Scott Redding at the top of the Moto2 World Championship still further after winning a straight fight between the two for victory at Assen. The two title rivals were out on their own at the front of the field with the Spaniard snatching the win on the very last lap.
Moto2 is no stranger to dramatic racing but the action kicked off before the Grand Prix even started with former champion Toni Elias crashing halfway around the formation lap. The Avintia Blusens Kalex was cleared away quickly though, ensuring no delay to the start and Espargaro blasted into an early lead from Redding and Esteve Rabat. Scott did dive underneath Pol at turn two but the polesitter regained the lead at the final chicane to complete lap one.
Redding was keen to establish superiority over Espargaro and swept past the Pons Kalex at turn two for the second lap in succession but their squabbling allowed Rabat and Dominique Aegerter to keep pace in the opening laps. Aegerter even had the temerity to lead on lap eight as Espargaro made a move on Redding at turn one, forcing them both wide, with the Swiss rider sneaking through on the inside. His moment of glory was short-lived with Espargaro barging back past into turn ten next time around, followed through by Redding, and from there the fight for victory was between two men only.
Espargaro kept his nose in front despite a number of wild moments but Redding picked his moment to lead four laps from the finish, diving up the inside into Mandeveen. The Marc VDS rider appeared to have the measure of Espargaro through the first sector, preventing Pol from attacking through the Veenslang, but the pair were still inseparable heading into the last lap.
Espargaro was the man to beat in the final sector of the lap and got a tremendous slingshot onto the pit straight and breezed past Redding on the approach to turn one. The race wasn’t won yet though and Pol was forced to ride defensively through the tight curves of sector one to hold Redding back before keeping him at arm’s length around the rest of the lap, taking the win by 0.117s.
Aegerter held on to the final podium place, matching his career best in Moto2, with Mika Kallio recovering once again from a disappointing grid position to salvage fourth, denying Esteve Rabat on the final lap. Johann Zarco took sixth after his lofty grid position with Xavier Simeon seventh ahead of Thomas Luthi, Jordi Torres and Anthony West.
Danny Kent couldn’t recover from his lowly grid position to score points, coming home in twentieth, with Gino Rea five places further back. Kyle Smith ended his weekend in disappointing fashion too, crashing for the second time at the meeting.