Augusto Fernandez won his first Moto2 Grand Prix as World Championship leader Alex Marquez was taken out by title rival Lorenzo Baldassarri in the closing stages of the Moto2 race at Assen.
A race which closer resembled a Moto3 race in the early stages than a Moto2 race saw Brad Binder leading a lead group of nine riders battling for the lead, however the difficult track conditions and some silly mistakes saw Remy Gardener crash out, before Sam Lowes was taken out by Jorge Martin, who himself crashed four laps later.
The lead group, which included title challengers Marquez, Baldassarri and Tom Luthi all sat behind Binder who had led from the very early stages of the race.
With six laps to go, the front six were separated by just over a second, however that was soon blown up when Xavi Vierge lost the rear end of his Marc VDS machine at De Strubben. Tom Luthi was forced off track, after being somewhat collected in the crash, with Enea Bastianini ending up on the floor after hitting Vierge’s bike.
With the front four of Binder, Marquez, Baldassarri and Fernandez now clear of the chasing pack, Marquez made his move to get to the front of the race, both Pons riders followed, with Binder appearing to struggle with grip from the rear of his Red Bull KTM.
On the penultimate lap, Baldassarri lined Marquez up and whilst next to the Spaniard, lost the front end of his Pons machine, collecting Marquez along the way. Marquez was visably and understandably fuming in the gravel trap, and had to almost be restrained by stewards as he tried to move Baldssarri out of the way to try and continue the race, collecting any World Championship points. His race was over as was the Italian’s, leaving Luthi the big winner from the incident.
Back out front, Fernandez had put five to six bike lengths into Binder and despite the South African’s best efforts, he couldn’t catch the Spaniard, allowing Fernandez to take his first Grand Prix win.
Binder settled for second as he and KTM look to turn the corner after a difficult and disappointing first half to 2019.
Luca Marini beat out Luthi on the final lap for the final podium spot, with the Swiss rider having to settle for fourth, but regaining the lead in the World Championship that to Marquez’ DNF.
Tetsuta Nagashima was fifth on his SAG Kalex, with Italian duo Andrea Locatelli and Stefano Manzi in sixth and seventh respectively. Marcel Schrotter was eighth with Domi Aegerter and Marco Bezzecchi rounding out the top ten.
Fabio Di Giannantonio was eleventh, just ahead of Jake Dixon who came home in a brilliant twelfth place with Lukas Tulovic, Iker Lecuona and Joe Roberts rounding out the point scorers.