MotoGP Buriram: Arbolino claims red-flagged Moto2 washout

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Elf Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino claimed victory in the Thai Grand Prix after Moto2 action was cut short due to torrential rain.

Delayed, shortened then red flagged, the dramatic race was ultimately cut short after eighth treacherous laps around the sodden Buriram circuit with Arbolino claiming the spoils from Gresini Racing’s Filip Salac and Flexbox HP40’s Aron Canet. Inde GasGas Aspar’s Jake Dixon securing fourth in the deteriorating conditions.

The rain arrived as the intermediate gird prepared with the race reduced to 16 laps. Local rider Somkiat Chantra lined up from pole position for the first time in his world championship career, much to the delight of the home fans, with Arbolino and Idemitsu Honda teammate Ai Ogura completing the front row. Brits Dixon and Sam Lowes sat seventh and 19th respectively with championship leader Augusto Fernandez defending his position from eighth.

Early drama saw Aspar’s Albert Arenas, VR46 Master Camp’s Manuel Gonzales and Italtrans Lorenzo Dalla Porta wheeled off the grid into pitlane as the teams failed to change tyres in the allocated time, with the trio facing a back of the pack start - the latter, bizarrely, on slicks.

Lights out after a solitary lap in the wet conditions found Chantra maintaining his control from a fast-charging Alonso Lopez on the Beta Tools Speed Up, American Racing’s Cameron Beaubier up to fourth before crashing out on the kerbs of turn four. The rain torrential as the pack continued to aquaplane with Canet and Dixon capitalising in third and fourth.

Chantra’s home run came to an early end with a turn four slide from a two-second lead on lap three. Lopez inheriting the lead from Canet and Dixon as Gresini’s Filip Salac headed Ogura, Arbolino and Italtrans’ Joe Roberts in the top seven. Fernandez remained in eighth with the second home rider, Keminth Kubo on the Master Camp machine heading Arenas at the back of the top ten.

Sean Dylan Kelly sat 11th with four laps dispatched as the American Racing rider picked off Mooney VR46’s Celestino Vietti before entering the top ten at the expense of Arenas. Jeremy Alcoba the next to fall on the Liqui Moly Intact GP.

Canet was in charge after a mistake from Lopez as Salac stormed through to second. Dixon bettering the Speed Up as he maintained his third position with Arbolino and Ogura closely behind in the top six.

Salac took the lead as lap five counted down, Arbolino doing likewise for fourth in the challenging conditions before taking a brief look at Dixon for third. Canet saved a near-highside moment as the next lap played out with the Marc VDS rider getting through on the Aspar at turn 12 before capitalising on second four corners later.

Nine to go and Vietti was making moves into the top ten. The Italian dispatching Kelly and Kubo with the Thai rider dropping back to 14th moments later. Salac suffered a mistake as he ran wide at turn 12 as Arbolino took charge, the red flag brought out one lap later as conditions continued to deteriorate with only half race distance completed.

An aborted attempt to start the five-lap dash after further torrential rain saw the race ultimately cancelled with half points awarded. Arbolino securing the victory from Salac and Canet with Dixon just missing out on the podium celebrations once again. Lopez headed title-rivals Ogura and Fernandez from fifth to seventh with Roberts, Kubo and Vietti completing the top ten.

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