Lorenzo Baldassarri beats Remy Gardner to Argentina win
Lorenzo Baldassarri stormed to back-to-back Moto2 wins in 2019, after snatching the lead late on in an exciting Argentine Grand Prix.
Baldassarri sat in the lead group for the majority of the the 23-lap encounter, before hitting the front with four laps remaining and cruising to the win to extend his championship lead to 17 points.
Marcel Schrotter had an easier run into the first corner after poleman Xavi Vierge was forced to park up on the warm-up lap due to a technical issue with his Marc VDS machine, with the Intact GP rider taking the holeshot.
Alex Marquez led the charge against Schrotter on the sole-remaining Marc VDS Kalex, though Gardner soon moved into second at the start of lap two, before launching a successful raid on the lead at Turn 7.
Gardner proceeded to stretch out a seven-tenth advantage on his SAG bike, though Schrotter reeled him in again over the next few laps and attempted to reclaim the lead at Turn 5 on lap six.
His bid failed, with Marquez robbing him of second two laps later. Marquez then closed down Gardner, and passed him at Turn 5 on lap 11.
Gardner struck back immediately, scything through two turns later. Schrotter demoted Marquez to third with a brave move at Turn 12, and was once again leading the race on the following tour.
By lap 15, Baldassarri began to make his move for the lead, the Pons rider taking third from Marquez at the penultimate turn, while Gardner led Schrotter once more.
Baldassarri made light work of Schrotter for second on lap 17, and forced his way through to the front of the field two tours later, Gardner running wide at Turn 5 as a result.
The Pons rider moved seven tenths out of reach straight away, and held a 1.4s lead as he took the chequered flag.
Gardner made his way back into second to claim his maiden grand prix podium, with Marquez rounding out the rostrum places.
Iker Lecuona took top KTM honours on his CGBM Evolution machine in fourth having started 15th, with Ajo KTM man Brad Binder trailing him after making a hard move on Schrotter in the last laps.
Schortter dropped to sixth following his Binder battle, with Luca Marini [VR46], Speed Up's Jorge Navarro, and rookies Enea Bastianini [Italtrans] and Somnikat Chantra [Honda Team Asia] completing the top 10.
Moto2 returnee Tom Luthi crashed out after contact with Binder early on while trailing the lead battle – the Intact GP rider following Gresini's Sam Lowes into the Turn 7 run-off area.