#FRENCHGP – MOTO2, Advantage Arbolino in title fight as Acosta crashes out
Tony Arbolino (Elf MarcVDS Racing Team) took an important victory for his Championship campaign as he commanded the race from the front putting the pressure on his Championship rival Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who crashed out on 2nd place whilst trying to reel in the Italian at the front. Filip Salac (QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2™) put pressure on the MarcVDS man as the chequered flag drew closer, but Arbolino held strong forcing the Czech rider was forced to settle for 2nd. Alonso Lopez (Lightech SpeedUp) was in the mix as well as the Spaniard hung unto the coattails of the leading duo to take 3rd place in France.
It was Arbolino who got the holeshot as the Moto2™ grid barreled into the first two corners for the initial start. Lopez dived up the inside to take the lead pushing Arbolino back to 2nd, and it was drama one lap later as Arbolino took the lead into Turn 1 with his teammate Sam Lowes (Elf MarcVDS Racing Team) crashing out of 3rd place at Turn 2. Meanwhile, the red flags came out for a incident involving multiple riders at turn 5.
With the countdown to the restart underway Lowes was sent to the medical centre as the MarcVDS box swarmed the Brit’s damaged Kalex machine in a desperate rush to repair the damage before the restart. The polesitter rushed his way back to the box with under a minute left until the green light went on to open pit lane. The crowd watched on with baited breath as Lowes missed the deadline for the the pitlane closing time by just one second, forcing the Brit to start from the back of the grid.
The riders lined back onto the grid for the restart but this time without the polesitter. The red lights went out once again and it was Arbolino who took the holeshot fending off Lopez through the Dunlop chicane with Acosta latched onto to the leading duo. Arbolino, Lopez, Acosta, and Salac was the order as the came across the line for the first time with the top 3 stretching out a little bit of breathing space to the Czech rider. Lopez and Acosta were swapping paintwork as the two Spaniards battled it out letting Arbolino sail away at the front and allowing Salac to join the P2 party.
Arbolino began to stretch a lead at the front as he set a new race lap record on his very first flying lap. This stretched out the riders behind as Acosta began to pull away from Lopez who had Salac and Celestino Vietti (Fantic Racing) for company in the battle for 3rd. Acosta responded one lap later setting the new fastest lap but still with 0.6s to find to catch the Italian.
Incredible Championship drama came soon after as the Championship protagonist Acosta crashed out of the race with 10 laps to go with his title rival Arbolino sat in comfortable victory contention.
This promoted the battle for 3rd to the battle for 2nd as Salac led Lopez in P2. Arbolino had 1.8s in his pocket until he began to lose ground at an alarming rate with Salac getting within under half a second of the Italian with seven laps to go. The MarcVDS man judged it to perfection as he controlled the gap at 0.5s at the front, taking the race victory as Acosta watched the #14 stretch out a 25-point lead in the Championship. Despite the efforts from Salac, it wasn’t enough for the Czech rider to take victory as he took 2nd place with Lopez keeping him honest to round out the podium.
Vietti looked strong in the opening stages of the race but wasn’t able to keep up with the incredible pace of the top 3 as the Italian finished 0.6s back from the podium fight in P4. Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar M2) rounded the top 5 after carving through an incredible scrap involving Somkiat Chantra (IDEMISTU Honda Team Asia), Barry Baltus (RW Racing GP) and Fermin Aldeguer (Ligthtech SpeedUp) who finished 6th, 7th, and 8th respectively.
The Lowes watch was a dramatic one as the Brit carved his way through from the back of the grid picking off rider after rider in hopes of finishing in a point-scoring position. Although it’s not the result the Brit would have wanted, the MarcVDS man recovered his FrenchGP hopes climbing his way up to P15 as he walked away from Le Mans with a single Championship point.
1. Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team)
2. Filip Salac (QJ Motor Gresini Moto2™) + 0.620
3. Alonso Lopez (CAG Speed Up) + 1.537
4. Celestino Vietti (Fantic Racing) + 2.193
5. Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar M2) + 3.041
6. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 4.175
7. Barry Baltus (RW Racing GP) + 8.853
8. Fermin Aldeguer (Lightech Speed Up) + 9.437
9. Ai Ogura – (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 10.696
10. Sergio Garcia – (Pons Wegow Los 40) + 10.817
“Not an easy race. I pushed hard to recover positions. We are making steps forward in every race and this Sunday too I finished in the points, but I’m still struggling with the front. The Mugello tests will certainly help me”.
Dennis Foggia P14
“It wasn’t the race we expected, we made a step forward today but we found a new point where we need to improve. We couldn’t get all the work we have done this weekend, the points could have been scored today. On the one hand we know in which direction we have to try to improve my feeling with the bike and get my 100%, on the other hand it’s hard to see them so far back but we keep fighting because we know we’ll get there soon.”
Lorenzo Dalla Porta P21
“We had some bad luck with a small technical problem during the formation lap. The team managed to fix the bike quickly, allowing me to take part in the race, so I thank all my team for the great job they did. On the restart, after the red flag, I battled a bit with the small group and we gained some more experience on a historic track. I can’t wait to get to Italy for the Mugello GP!”
Borja Gómez P23
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