Moto2 World Championship runner-up Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) won today’s Moto2 race, the last to be powered by Honda CBR600 engines, which have been used since the championship’s inaugural 2010 season. During that time Honda’s four-cylinder 600cc streetbike engines have completed 158 races and covered almost 2.8 million kilometres (1.7 million miles), more than three returns trips to the moon, with only a handful of failures during that time.
The race started on a soaking wet track, with 15 crashes during the 25 laps. Oliveira led the early stages, before Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) took over at the front. Honda’s 2014 Moto3 World Champion forced the pace, upping his speed throughout, while Oliveira gave chase, followed by Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter) and Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors KTM).
Sadly, Marquez’s hopes of scoring his first victory of the year ended when he slid off. The 22-year-old Spaniard hastily remounted and did superbly to take the final place on the podium in third place, some way behind podium first-timer Lecuona and Oliveira. Vierge also crashed and was unable to continue.
Twenty-year-old Australian Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing Tech 3), son of Honda’s 1987 500cc World Champion, muscled his way into fifth place in the final laps, his best-ever Grand Prix finish. His last victim was Catalan GP winner Fabio Quartararo (Speed Up Racing Speed Up), who bettered Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter) by less than a second. Twenty-one-year-old Grand Prix newcomer Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40 Kalex) had another great ride to eighth, less than a second behind Schrotter.
The Moto2 top ten was completed by Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) and Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 Kalex). Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex) finished the race two places behind Corsi, equalling his second-best result of the season.
This year’s Moto2 World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) finished 14th after being barged off the track after just two corners when team-mate and pole-starter Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) fell, along with Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40 Kalex) and Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex).
MotoGP winter testing begins at Valencia on Tuesday. The two-day outing is followed by another two-day session at Jerez later this month. Next year’s testing starts at Sepang, Malaysia, in February.