Augusto Fernandez secures first Moto2 victory at Assen, Alex Marquez and Lorenzo Baldassarri collide
Augusto Fernandez secured his maiden Moto2 victory in the Dutch TT at Assen after a thrilling race of attrition that saw Alex Marquez and Lorenzo Baldassarri collide.
Fernandez made a storming start to move up from 13th to the leading group in the early laps, pressuring early leader Brad Binder along with the Marc VDS pairing of Marquez and Xavi Vierge, as well as pole-man Remy Gardner.
After suffering several lurid moments that saw him lose positions several times, Fernandez bided his time and waited until the closing stages of the race to make his moves. His first target was Vierge, who he dispatched for fourth with five laps remaining at Turn 5.
The two made contact however and Vierge went down, taking the unfortunate Enea Bastianini with him.
The Pons rider then made a move on Binder to claim third behind the battling championship contenders of Marquez and Baldassarri, although drama was just around the corner.
Baldassarri attempted to take the lead from Marquez at Turn 3 with just a couple of laps to go, but lost the front mid-corner and wiped out Marquez as well as himself.
This left Fernandez with a lead he would never relinquish, allowing him to secure his first victory ahead of Binder, who also managed to survive the carnage to take his first rostrum finish of 2019.
Luca Marini secured the final step of the podium in third having fought back from 11th, while Thomas Luthi moves into the championship lead with a fourth place result following Marquez’s retirement.
Tetsuta Nagashima managed a brilliant fifth for SAG Racing, while Andrea Locatelli took sixth for Italtrans.
Stefano Manzi incredibly took seventh from the very back of the grid following his practice collision with Dimas Ekky Pratama, matching his best ever Moto2 result and scoring Forward Racing’s best result since the start of their MV Agusta partnership.
Marcel Schrotter was eighth ahead of the second Forward MV machine of Domique Aegeter, while Marc Bezzecchi secured his first ever top ten finish in Moto2 for the Tech 3 KTM team.
Gardner, despite looking to take the lead in the early laps, ended his race in the gravel trap at the final chicane after what looked like a gearbox problem forced him wide on several occasions.
Jorge Martin looked set to take his best ever result as he ran inside the top five for most of the race, but crashed out after losing the rear at Turn 2 with several laps remaining. Sam Lowes also went down after looking strong, the Brit pushed wide by Martin at Turn 9 and losing the front.
Speed Up's Jorge Navarro, who came into Assen third in the championship, was another rider to crash out as he tucked the front of his Moto2 machine into the final chicane early on, ending his race in the gravel.
Luthi now heads the riders standings by six points ahead of Marquez, while Fernandez and Marini close up to the leaders significantly with their podium results.