By: news (offline)  Monday, 16 July 2012 @ 06:24 AM ICT (Read 1052 times)  

Last weekend at Mugello, Italy, it was a typically hard-fought Moto2 race, with some breathtaking passes and some fascinating slipstreaming battles on Mugello’s long main straight.

Marquez was the early leader, then Luthi went ahead and then Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team-Kalex), the Japanese rider having his best in a while. But being in front meant little at this stage, with up to a dozen riders breathing down the leader’s neck.

Espargaro made it to the front for the first time on lap 14 of 21 after tangling with Luthi in the first esses. A lap later Marquez’s challenge went awry when he nearly lost it at the same spot. After that he decided to score points, rather than risk a crash.

Espargaro was in astonishing form over the next few laps, building a 1.3s lead in just two laps. But local hero Iannone had the Spaniard in his sights and remorselessly closed the gap. Espargaro was also suffering from the right ankle injury he sustained yesterday when he was taken out by another rider.

Iannone dived inside Espargaro at turn one on the final lap, while Luthi ran wide and lost crucial metres on the leaders, which nearly took him back into the clutches of Smith.

Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex) rode a brilliant race, crossing the line a fraction of a second behind Marquez after being down in tenth place at quarter distance. Nakagami ended up seventh, just 4.4s behind the race winner.

Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) won a brilliant Moto3 race – one of the best races so far from the already reliably entertaining new category. The first three riders over the finish line were covered by just seven hundredths of a second!

Spanish teenager Vinales beat Italian teenager Romano Fenati (Team Italian FMI – FTR- Honda) by a slender 0.02s, with Sandro Cortese (KTM) in third, a further 0.051s back. His fifth victory of the year moved Vinales to within nine points of Cortese, who had taken the championship lead at last Sunday’s German GP.

Six of the first eight bikes home were Honda-powered bikes, with Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini – FTR Honda) leading the second group in fourth place, just ahead of Danny Kent (KTM), then Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda) in sixth and Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) in seventh. Jakub Kornfeil (Thomas Sabo GP Team – Honda) led home the third group in eighth position.

The race for the lead was a classic Mugello slipstreaming battle, with seven riders in the front-running group, chopping and changing at every corner. Then at three-quarters distance Vinales upped his pace, dragging Fenati and Cortese with him.

Cortese grabbed the lead as the trio attacked turn one for the 20th and last time, only to be immediately muscled back to third by the two Honda riders. Fenati now led, but Vinales swept back in front at Arrabbiata One. Cortese dived back into second place at the final turn and then it was a drag race to the chequered flag, won by Vinales by millimetres.

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