Rabat Wins At Indy As Redding Increases Lead

Esteve Rabat produced a stunning late rally to win the Indianapolis Grand Prix, breaking the heart of long-time leader Takaaki Nakagami. The Spaniard snatched the lead with three laps to go while the two championship rivals disputed the other podium place with Scott Redding pipping Pol Espargaro to third.

Despite a glitch with the start lights, the whole field got away cleanly and Redding launched into the first corner first from pole position. Nakagami remained where he started in third but within five corners he had pushed past Espargaro and when he returned to the pit straight, the Japanese rider breezed past Redding’s Marc VDS Kalex to move into the lead.

Despite having never won a Grand Prix, Nakagami looked at home at the front of the field and built up a two second lead over a group of six riders fighting over second, led by Redding. That was until lap twelve when Espargaro drew first blood against his arch-rival at turn one. At this stage, Rabat was lying sixth and showing signs of frustration behind Nicolas Terol and Dominique Aegerter, making numerous failed attempts to gain places.

On lap seventeen, just eight from the finish, the Rabat charge to victory started with the long awaited pass of Aegerter. The Pons rider had showed a wheel into turn two on previous laps but this time he was able to make the move stick and the floodgates were now open. Terol surrendered fourth in identical circumstances a lap later and the next man in Esteve’s sights was the championship leader. As one of the lightest riders in the class, Rabat proved too tough for Redding to keep behind with the Spaniard breezing through into third but his charge wouldn’t stop there. He now had his teammate in his sights.

Any hopes Pol had of team orders assisting him were quickly wiped away when Rabat drew alongside him at the start of lap 21 before storming past and what looked like a promising position was now turning into a disaster for Pol who then saw Redding come back at him, pushing him down to fourth a lap later.

Rabat was inspired and reeled Nakagami in at a second per lap, ensuring that he had four laps to make a move stick. He only needed one with turn one the place of the winning overtake as Esteve tasted victory for the second time this year, denying Nakagami the first of his career.

Redding took a crucial third to increase his lead over Espargaro to 26 points. It could have been worse for Pol who had Aegerter on his tail in the closing stages but the Spaniard held onto fourth. Strong finishes from Simone Corsi and Mika Kallio saw them finish sixth and seventh respectively ahead of Johann Zarco and Xavier Simeon but the two Aspar Suters faded horribly to tenth and twelfth, Jordi Torres finishing two places ahead of Nicolas Terol in the end.