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GP Week : Issue 167
MARQUEZ THE MERCILESS MAKES IT SEVEN MOTO3 MOTO2 FAVOURITE BLOWN OUT IN LAST-LAP BRAWL 31 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: Pre-season favourite Maverick Vinales (FTR Honda) was the loser in a typical Moto3 last-lap brawl – fifth among a group of seven across the line in 1.3 seconds. The win went instead to points leader Sandro Cortese (KTM), shouldering his way back to the front with three laps left, and staying just far enough ahead of the fight for a third win of the season. Italian rookie hero Romano Fenati (FTR Honda) had led for much of the race though Cortese would frequently nose ahead. Alex Rins (Suter Honda) was in the mix, along with Indy winner Luis Salom (Kalex KTM), Efren Vazquez (FTR Honda), Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM), and Vinales, hovering near the back of the gang after qualifying a down-beat 11th. Australian rookie Arthur Sissis (KTM) was also there for the early part of the race, losing touch only after half distance. Fenati tried to break away with some seven laps to go, but it didn’t last for more than a lap, and when they started the last one he was down in fifth after being shoed aside four places on lap 21. But there was more to come from the teenager. Vinales had picked his way through to third as they started the final lap, and up to second halfway around it, with Cortese still well within reach. Then he was swamped in the last corners, with Salom seizing second and Fenati third. With Rins fourth, Vinales was fifth, ahead of Folger and Vazquez – a high cost to his dwindling title hopes. Antonelli and Oliveira were a couple more seconds away; Sissis an excellent tenth. Cortese now leads Vinales by a very comfortable 46 points, with Salom just ten behind on 169. Fenati has 120, and Rins96. Marc Marquez took another merciless stride towards the World Championship at Misano, taking his seventh win of the season in a shortened Moto2 race, after an oil spill at the first attempt brought out the red flags after three laps. The CatalunyaCaixa Suter rider took the lead only when it mattered, halfway round the final lap, in a fearsome battle with dwindling title rival Pol Espargaro (40 HP Kalex). Pol had taken the lead on lap 11, and didn’t give up easily, the pair changing places three times on the final lap. He was a disheartened three tenths behind over the line. Andrea Iannone (Speed Master Speed Up) was third, dropping away at the end, after an early attempt at running away was cut back by his two pursuers. The same trio had been in front at the first start, but after three laps Gresini Suter rider Gino Rea’s engine blew in a cloud of smoke, and the race was stopped immediately so that oil could be cleaned up. The restart for a hectic sprint played badly for Scott Redding (Marc VdS Kalex), who had been fourth and threatening first time out. This time he was eighth into the first corner. Iannone led away from Marquez, Rabat, Espargaro and Luthi; and within three laps he had a lead of better than 1.3 seconds. But now Espargaro had consigned Rabat to third, and he gradially closed the gap. With Marquez on his tail he gradually closed up, catching him at the end of lap ten. By the end of it both he and Marquez were past, and two laps later had put a little distance on the Italian. With such a short race there was no time for loitering, and the leaders hastened towards their last-lap showdown, as fierce a fight as we’ve seen all year. Iannone was four seconds clear of the next trio, Mika Kallio (Marc VdS Kalex), Rabat (HP 40 Kalex) and Aegerter (CIP Suter). Luthi (Inter wetten Suter) dropped behind Redding and Bradley Smith (Tech 3); Johann Zarco (JIR Motobi) a close tenth. Marquez now has 238 points to Espargaro’s 185; with Iannone on 165, Luthi 161 and Redding 115. MOTOGP >>> MISANO