MotoGP 2017 – Round Four – Jerez – Moto2 Race Report
Alex Marquez breaks through for maiden Moto2 victory
Remy Gardner battles through pain to valiant 22nd after breaking ankle
Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) took a stunning maiden win at the Spanish GP, crossing the line three and a half seconds clear of an impressive first intermediate class podium for Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46). The rider from Cervera was back on the top step for the first time since the Moto3 race in Motegi in 2014, the year he took the lightweight class crown. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took another podium for KTM in third, as Championship leader Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) slid out of contention early on.
Marquez took the lead out of Turn 1 after a good start, with Morbidelli taking the apex first and then running a little wide – but it was an EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1-2 streaking away at the front as Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing), Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) squabbled for third – with Bagnaia then getting up into the fight.
There was drama soon after as Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) lost control and slid out, taking Vierge and Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) out of contention with him – and the drama wasn’t over.
That incident left Pasini and Bagnaia fighting for third, ahead of Aegerter, Oliveira, Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team), Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP), Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) and an impressive start for Khairul Idham Pawi (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) in the top ten – and a four second gap to the EG 0,0 Marc VDS pair up in the lead.
Back at the front, a small mistake from Marquez left Morbidelli to come through with 18 laps to go – before the unexpected suddenly hit the lead as the Championship leader slid out and Marquez found himself 4 and a half seconds ahead of Bagnaia on the chase. Keeping it calm and collected at the head of the race, the 2014 Moto3 World Champion crossed the line in clear air to take his maiden Moto2 win – and in front of the home crowd.
With the final laps approaching, Bagnaia had moved through into a more secure second to secure a stunning rookie podium, with Oliveira then hunting down Pasini to take third – the second rostrum for the KTM intermediate class chassis in four races. Veteran Italian Pasini crossed the line in fourth, ahead of Marini and Schrötter.
Dominique Aegerter followed up his top five in Texas with a seventh in Jerez, ahead of a good day in the points standings for Lüthi as the 2016 runner up came home eighth to cut some of the gap to Championship leader Franco Morbidelli.
Axel Pons (RW Racing GP) just lost ninth on the final lap to an impressive race from Yonny Hernandez (AGR Team), as the Colombian took a good points finish in the fourth race of the year.
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) was eleventh ahead of rookie Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), with Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) in thirteenth ahead of a solid ride from Red Bull KTM Ajo’ Ricky Cardus, standing in for injured reigning Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder. Tetsuta Nagashima (Teluru SAG Team) locked out the points back on more familiar turf for the former FIM CEV Repsol Moto2 frontrunner.
“This is unbelievable, I could not have imagined a victory like this in front of my home fans. I want to dedicate this win to my mum on Mother’s Day. It was a long wait for three years to catch a victory and winning in Jerez is a dream come true. It was a difficult race in hot conditions and when I saw Franco crash I knew how easy it was to make mistake. I could not hold my maximum pace because I was on the limit with the front grip so just controlled the gap to the riders behind. I want to thank everyone in the team and all those who support me in Spain.”
Tech3 Racing Team rider Remy Gardner pushed through the pain to complete his first Moto2 race of the year as he bravely finished the challenging round four fight in 22nd despite his heavily injured ankle.
The young Australian began from the head of the tenth row of the grid and progressed throughout the race before he met the chequered flag, as he showed admirable determination.
Remy Gardner – P22
“The GP today was certainly difficult but I gave my absolute all and I am happy to have completed the whole distance and not just half a lap, like the last times. It was very hot and after about seven or eight laps, it started to get really painful for me to change direction due to my injury. Also, my arms got tired because I had to use more of my upper body to compensate. In addition, my eyes began to swell up and close during the race for some reason, so it was definitely a tough one! Next week will just be recuperation, but for now, I just want to move on and focus on Le Mans. There, I hope to be in better shape and I’m sure we can have a more positive time.”
Hervé Poncharal – Team Manager at Tech 3
“I have to congratulate Remy Gardner for his never give up attitude and his strong desire to push even though he was in a lot of pain. We told him that it was fine if he chose to not race due to his injury. Yet, he fought until the end and this shows his pure grit. Everyone hopes that he will be closer to full fitness at Le Mans, where he can hopefully score his first points of the year at the Tech3 team’s home Grand Prix, where hopefully we will have a bit more luck and some more speed.”
Le Mans now awaits as the Championship closes up – with Morbidelli looking for a comeback and Marquez fired up to stop him.
Moto2 Race Results – Jerez 2017
- Álex Márquez (SPA – Kalex) 43’24.350
- Francesco Bagnaia (ITA – Kalex) + 3.442
- Miguel Oliveira (POR – KTM) + 4.958
Moto2 Championship Standings – Jerez 2017
- Joan Mir 74
- Romano Fenati 65
- Jorge Martin 59
- John McPhee 49
- Aron Canet 43
- Fabi Di Giannantonio 35
- Andrea Migno 35
- Marcos Ramirez 23
- Juanfran Guevara 23
- Nicolo Bulega 22