Alex Marquez takes Moto2 title lead with emphatic victory
Alex Marquez took his third successive win of 2019 at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, taking the championship lead in the process after another crash for Lorenzo Baldassarri.
Marquez moved up to fourth from sixth on the grid on the first lap, showing strong pace as front row starter Sam Lowes dropped back from the leading pair.
Marquez managed to dispatch Lowes quickly and set his sights on the leading pair of Thomas Luthi and pole-man Augusto Fernandez. The battling pair held themselves up significantly as they fought over the lead, allowing Marquez to swiftly join them.
Fernandez then began to struggle for speed and slipped behind the Marc VDS rider, allowing him to focus on catching Luthi in the lead.
Marquez was able to eventually reel in the Swiss ace, moving past into the lead by drafting past the Intact GP machine on the run down to the first corner just past half distance. While Luthi was able to initially hang onto the Spaniard, he haemorrhaged time in the closing laps and crossed the line 1.9 seconds behind Marquez.
Jorge Navarro secured the fourth rostrum finish of his campaign, moving him up to third in the championship in the process. The Speed Up man closed on Luthi in the closing stages but ran out of time to challenge for the runner-up position.
Fernandez managed to finish a relatively lonely fourth after losing touch with Navarro, while Enea Bastianini continued his strong maiden Moto2 campaign by taking his best result of the season in fifth.
Luca Marini recovered from a lowly 13th place start to sixth in the race ahead of the second Intact bike of Marcel Scrotter, while Xavi Vierge took eighth for Marc VDS racing.
Lowes contunied to slip back during the race to finish a disappointing ninth after starting third, while Tetsuta Nagashima impressed by moving from 16th on the grid to record his second top-ten result of the season for the SAG squad.
Lorenzo Baldassarri meanwhile struck his championship hopes another blow by suffering his third retirement of the year while challenging Sam Lowes, sliding his Pons Racing machine out of the race at the tricky Turn 10.
This corner also caught out Fabio Di Gianantonio, who was having a superb race. The Italian Moto2 rookie had qualified fifth and was running an excellent third after passing Fernandez, but came unstuck after tucking the front shortly after, retiring from the race
Marquez now leads the championship by seven points ahead of Luthi, while Baldassarri’s crash means he slips to fourth in the riders standings just a point behind Navarro heading to the next round, the Dutch TT at Assen.