Lorenzo Baldassarri maintains Championship lead after stunning comeback

by Ryan Lilly

Until the lights went out at the Italian Grand Prix, it was looking like a weekend to forget for Moto2 Championship contender Lorenzo Baldassarri, who had qualified down in fifteenth place after a poor qualifying session.

Baldassarri’s problems started on Friday outside of the top ten with work to do on Saturday morning in a bid to get himself inside the top fourteen. Baldassarri improved his lap times but could only manage eighteenth, resulting in the Italian having to go through Qualifying one.

Baldassarri did enough however to get a spot in Qualifying 2, finishing the opening 15-minute Qualifying session in third. In Qualifying two, Baldassarri could only manage a lowly fifteenth place for his home Moto2 race.

With a special crash helmet for the Italian Grand Prix, Baldassarri made a perfect start to the race and continued to fight his way through the pack over the course of the 21 lap race.

Baldassarri was locked in a battle with poleman Marcel Schrotter, rookie Enea Bastianini, his teammate Augusto Fernandez and the man of the season so far for many, Jorge Navarro. Baldassarri managed to squeeze his way through the pack and sealed fourth position, leaving his home round two points clear of Tom Luthi.

Speaking after the hard-fought race in front of the home crowd, Baldassarri said: “I am very happy with today’s result. After a complicated weekend, we have never stopped working and the proof is this comeback. We’ve been close to the podium and it would have been good, but I’m happy with fourth place and we’re still championship leaders, which is the most important.”

Baldassarri will have his work cut out in Barcelona, where he will aim to extend his championship lead once again under the Spanish sunshine.

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