Johann Zarco got his Moto2 championship defence back on track with victory in a shortened Italian Grand Prix. The race was red flagged after a crash from Xavi Vierge punctured an air-fence and in the restarted ten lap sprint, Zarco edged out Lorenzo Baldassarri for his second win of the season.
The first phase of the race looked to be going to form with polesitter Sam Lowes leading away from Thomas Luthi and Takaaki Nakagami but Vierge’s crash at Correntaio on lap four caused damage to the safety barriers, forcing race direction to halt proceedings until suitable repairs had been made. The new quick restart procedure caught out several riders though with many missing the window to leave the pit-lane for their sighting lap and with seconds to go before the restart, the race was halted again while penalties were handed out.
No fewer than eight riders were found guilty of passing a red light at the exit of the pits with Nakagami and, crucially for the championship, points leader Alex Rins among those that received a penalty, relegating them to the back of the grid. From the front, Lowes had a golden opportunity to regain the championship lead but with no new tyre for the re-run, the Briton was eased back to fifth on lap one.
Baldassarri was chasing a maiden victory in front of his home crowd but on the final lap, Zarco produced a beautiful move into Materassi to grab the lead and despite a slipstream down the start/finish straight, Baldassarri agonisingly missed out on a first win by three hundredths of a second.
Lowes made a late recovery to overtake a feisty Hafizh Syahrin before snatching third from Luthi within sight of the flag. Although Rins rode heroically to salvage seventh, the Gresini rider regained the championship lead with his podium finish. Axel Pons took sixth ahead of Rins with Franco Morbidelli with Nakagami also slicing through the field to finish ninth.
Moto2 Gran Premio d’Italia TIM (Race Result)
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