Sky VR46’s Pecco Bagnaia took a lights-to-flag Moto2 win at the Qatar MotoGP round after a late charge by Alex Marquez was muted by a rear brake jam which saw his disc glowing bright red and caused a loss of four seconds with six laps left to run.
Bagnaia, who opted for the extra-hard rear, took the holeshot and didn’t put a foot wrong over the 20-lap run, setting frighteningly consistent lap times as he held a gap of around eight-tenths over Marquez and Lorenzo Baldassarri, whose paint exchanges didn’t help them close the gap.
Marquez put a move on the Italian with nine to go and began to pull away but three laps later, diaster struck as Marquez’ rear brake jammed and he was forced off track, allowing Baldassarri to pass and gap the Spaniard. It looked like he was going to fall into the clutches of Mattia Pasini but as soon as the problem appeared, it vanished and Marquez was able to still take the final podium spot.
At the front, Baldassarri closed the gap on Bagnaia to half a second on the final lap, which closed to two tenths in the second sector which was 0.066s at the end of sector three. As they entered turn 15, Baldassarri put a move on Bagnaia but ran wide and Bagnaia had just enough to take a 0.112s win and his first in the class.
Miguel Oliveira took fifth place on the KTM and it looks like the Austrian manufacturer’s tyre management advantage from last year has been negated by Kalex as both he and team-mate Brad Binder weren’t able to reduce the gap to the front as the laps clicked down.
Marcel Schrotter put the Intact bike in seventh with Xavier Vierge, Luca Marini and Jorge Navarro completing the top ten. Reigning Moto3 champion Joan Mir finsihed in 11th with Remy Gardner 12th. Britain’s Danny Kent crossed the line in 17th while Sam Lowes crashed out with nine left to run.