Tony Arbolino secured a second victory of the 2023 Moto2 season at Phillip Island after the race was red-flagged and called just before mid-distance due to inclement weather.
The Italian survived the early laps that saw many of the front runners fall victim to the cold and windy conditions afflicting the Australian venue. This included early leader Sergio Garcia, Speed Up’s Alonso Lopez, Arbolino’s team-mate Sam Lowes, GasGas’ Jake Dixon and Gresini’s Filip Salac, all of whom ran within the top five in the early tours.
All this ended up leaving Arbolino out in front by a monstrous 12 seconds by the time half-a-dozen laps had been completed, with pole man Fermin Aldeguer running second ahead of Pons’ Aron Canet.
Arbolino continued to extend his advantage out front across the remaining laps to around 15 seconds before the red flag was shown on lap ten as the conditions continued to deteriorate.
The severe wind ultimately forced race direction to call off any potential restart, thus declaring Arbolino the victor – though his hopes of taking chunks out of title rival Pedro Acosta’s points lead were dashed due to half-points being awarded.
Canet ended up being credited with second having passed Aldeguer shortly before the stoppage, the Speed Up man therefore left to complete the rostrum in third.
The sole remaining Gresini entry of Jeremy Alcoba came home fourth ahead of Italtrans’ Joe Roberts, while Izan Guevara secured his best Moto2 result to date in sixth for GasGas.
Somkiat Chantra rose from 16th on the grid to claim seventh in the end ahead of SAG’s Bo Bensneyder, with Acosta taking ninth in the final reckoning having started from 31st and last on the grid after crashing on the sighting lap.
Marco Ramirez completed the top ten for American Racing, while team-mate Rory Skinner secured his first ever Moto2 points finish in 12th just behind the other SAG machine of Taiga Hada.
Acosta now holds a slightly reduced 56-point lead over Arbolino with just four rounds of the 2023 term left to run.