Maverick Vinales rode an exemplary race to take his second Moto2 victory at Motorland Aragon on Sunday. The Paginas Amarillas rider took the lead early on and controlled the race superbly, holding off the challenge of Esteve Rabat. Despite finishing second, Rabat tightened his grip on the championship with Mika Kallio struggling to seventh.
The reigning Moto3 champion failed to convert his pole position into a first lap lead but lap four, the rookie had fought past Mika Kallio. With the Finn falling down the order, the challenge was expected to be taken up by Rabat but the championship leader lost time passing his title rival and was later mired in a scrap with Johann Zarco.
Vinales capitalised on the scrap for second by extending his lead to 2.5 seconds, a gap that not even Rabat could bridge, and eased home for his first victory at Aragon, ensuring he had now tasted victory at all four Spanish Grand Prix venues.
Rabat closed in slightly in the closing stages but later admitted he had no answer to Maverick’s pace. In term of the bigger picture though, he felt the weekend had proved to be a successful one.
“Yesterday I crashed in qualifying then this morning I had a difficult warm up in the wet, so I’m happy to finish on the podium today. It was lucky that the rain held off, other than a few spots during the race. I got a good start, tried to push straight away, but then I got into a fight with Mika. We lost two positions and once I’d got past Mika I had to pass Aegerter and Zarco, by which time Viñales had gone. I tried to push on and close the gap, but congratulations to him as he rode a clever race and never let me get close enough. I want to say a big thank you to the team because, when you have a difficult weekend, it is them that keep you calm and help you focus on what’s important. Now the focus is on Japan. New race, new country, new weekend, but the same aim; try to fight for the win.”
Zarco held off a late challenge from Thomas Luthi to take his second consecutive podium in third with Franco Morbidelli riding a sensational race to take fifth, ahead of Dominique Aegerter and the out-of-form Kallio. Jordi Torres was eighth while Sam Lowes put a disastrous qualifying session behind him to finish ninth for Speed Up.