Alex Marquez dominates Brno Moto2 contest, Thomas Luthi crashes out
Alex Marquez notched up his fifth Moto2 win of 2019 with a dominant Brno display, while title rival Thomas Luthi crashed out early on.
Marquez lost the lead to fellow front-row man Sam Lowes on the run to Turn 1, but re-gained the upper hand as he dove back past into Turn 3, immediately pulling an advantage over the Brit.
The Marc VDS racer had extending his lead to nearly a second by the end of the first lap, but now had to fend off the chasing Speed Up of Fabio Di Gianantonio who had moved into second at the start of the second lap.
The Italian looked to have the speed to catch Marquez during the first half of the 19-lap race, cutting the leading advantage to just seven-tenths at one point. He was unable to sustain his challenge though, and steadily dropped back throughout the second half of the race.
This allowed Marquez to secure victory and extend his championship lead to 33, as title threat Thomas Luthi crashed out. The Swiss ace tucked the front of his Intact GP machine at Turn 5 after just a few laps, retiring in the gravel trap as a result.
Di Gianantonio managed to stem the flow in the closing laps, crossing the line just two seconds behind Marquez as he secured his first Moto2 rostrum ahead of a charging Enea Bastianini who denied Jorge Navarro third on the final lap.
Navarro was forced to fight back from his 11th starting position, the Speed Up racer charging through the field to take the final podium spot with around a third of the race remaining, holding onto the result despite a similarly rapid Bastianini closing in during the final couple of tours.
The Italtrans rider was flying, having recovered from a lowly 18th on the grid to fourth and was just a second behind Navarro heading onto the penultimate lap.
He had narrowed the gap to just half-a-second heading onto the final lap, and got close enough to dive past at Turn 11, just getting his Kalex stopped on the apex to secure his own first intermediate class podium.
Navarro therefore had to settle for fourth ahead of Luca Marini, who lost his grip on the final podium spot to Navarro several laps previous, while VR46 team-mate Niccolo Bulega also secured his best Moto2 result with seventh on the weekend he announced he would be leaving the Valentino Rossi-run squad for 2020.
Marcel Schrotter managed to slot in between the Italian pair in sixth on the sole finishing Intact bike, while Augusto Fernandez brought his Pons-run machine home eighth in what was a quiet race for the Assen winner.
Tetsuta Nagashima took ninth for the SAG Racing team while Iker Lecuona rounded out the top ten just ahead of a disappointing Lorenzo Baldassarri, who slipped from fourth back to 11th at the flag.
Sam Lowes crashed out after losing the rear of his Gresini Kalex at Turn 7 at just before mid-distance, having slipped from leading early on down to tenth as struggled for pace in the dry conditions.