MotoGP Aragon: Acosta celebrates home Moto2 victory| Christina Bulpett | MotoGP
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Pedro Acosta bounced back from injury to claim his second Moto2 victory of his rookie season at Motorland Aragon.
Launching from sixth, the reigning Moto3 Champion was quickly in the fight before dispatching teammate Augusto Fernandez and Flexbox HP40’s Aron Canet to carve out a three-second lead. The remaining duo switching positions in the closing stages to complete the Aragon Grand Prix podium from Honda’s title-challenger Ai Ogura in fourth.
Jake Dixon lined up from the edge of the front row following a high speed turn two crash in morning warm-up. The Brit trailing Shinto GasGas Aspar teammate Albert Arenas and pole-sitter Fernandez, as the KTM rider looked to consolidate his advantage in the championship standings ahead of a move to MotoGP. Mooney VR46’s Celestino Vietti forced to start from 17th on the grid after a disastrous Saturday.
Lights out for 21-laps and Dixon was through to second as Canet took his own advantage over Arenas before the Aspar rider struck back. Misano winner Alonso Lopez crashing out at turn two with Liqui Moly’s Marcel Schrotter following suit one corner later. Keminth Kubo, Sean Dylan Kelly, Niccolo Antonelli and Zonta Van Den Goorbergh off track and collected in the chaos before the quartet were able to continue.
Fernandez held a half-second lead as lap two kicked off, Dixon and Canet in hot pursuit with the second KTM of Acosta through on Arenas. The latter Spaniard crashing out mid-way through the second lap as he slid out at turn 12 with Intact GP’s Jeremy Alcoba and VR46 Master Camp’s Manuel Gonzales following him into the gravel trap moments later.
Acosta and Canet battled for the final podium position as the race continued before the KTM rookie took a look at Dixon. The Brit instantly dropped from second to fourth as Canet emulated the move at turn 14 before Elf Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino did likewise down the back straight.
Idemitsu Honda’s Ai Ogura was the next to take a look at the GasGas rider as Dixon fought back to fifth before pushing the pace. Italtrans; Joe Roberts up to seventh ahead of Speed Up’s Fermin Aldeguer with Jorge Navarro and Somkiat Chantra completing the top ten on the second Flexbox and Honda machines.
Acosta began to cut into his teammate’s advantage as he halved the gap by lap seven. Van den Goorbergh crashing out at the corkscrew and scattering the track with gravel. Canet hitting back at the rookie for second after a mistake at turn nine next time around.
Chantra was up to eighth as Roberts dropped two places back, Vietti running on the fringes of the top ten before Lorenzo Dalla Porta dispatched the Italian to head the third group.
Acosta and Canet continued to squabble for position as mid-race distance approached as the pair reeled in the leader ahead. Fernandez losing out to his younger teammate down the straight as Arbolino scalped Canet for the final podium position.
A turn ten moment for the Italian allowed the Pons rider back into third, the duo’s battle allowing the front runners space as shades of last season’s KTM dominance replayed around the Alcañiz layout.
Vietti’s early fightback began to fade as he circulated in 14th by lap 13 as American Racing’s Cameron Beaubier and RW Racing’s Barry Baltus dispatched the title-fighter to the fringes of the points. The Italian returning to the edge of the top ten three laps later.
Ogura got the better of Dixon for fifth as the race counted down. Acosta holding a near two-second lead with five laps to go as Canet reeled in Fernandez in the battle for second. A late race crash collecting Kubo and SAG’s Taiga Hada at turn 13.
Sam Lowes’ Marc VDS replacement Senna Agius collected his second long lap penalty of the race due to track limits as the race counted down, the penalty denying the rookie a point scoring finish after a strong recovery ride from the initial excursion.
Canet was up to second as Ogura struck at Arbolino, the top five battle intensifying in the closing two laps as Acosta maintained his three-second lead. Dixon upping the pace as he too looked to improve his position in the final stages. The Brit ultimately crashing out at turn 12 on the final lap for a full no score for the Aspar squad.
A heroic victory on his comeback from injury saw Acosta take the flag by 2.6 seconds as Canet claimed the runners up spot for the sixth time this year. Fernandez completing the podium to consolidate his lead in the title standings by just seven points as Ogura and Arbolino rounded out the top five.
Aldeguer was promoted to sixth after Dixon’s late mistake with Chantra, Navarro, Roberts and Vietti crossing the line in seventh to tenth. Beaubier, Dalla Porta, Baltus, Gresini’s Alessandro Zaccone and SAG’s Bo Bendsneyder picked up the final points from a disappointed Agius in 16th.