MotoGP Catalunya: Vietti back on winning form in Moto2

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Mooney VR46’s Celestino Vietti was back on the Moto2 top step at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after an intense battle on Sunday.

Flexbox HP40’s Aron Canet put up a fight to the end for his maiden victory before settling for second in his home GP with Red Bull KTM Ajo’ Augusto Fernandez stealing the final podium position from Inde GasGas Aspar’s Jake Dixon in the concluding corners.

Championship leader Vietti headed the grid as the 22-lap Moto2 race prepared. Mugello challengers Canet and Joe Roberts lining up alongside the Mooney VR46 man with an Aspar/British lockout behind as Dixon led teammate Albert Arenas and countryman Sam Lowes on row two. Last race winner Pedro Acosta starting a disappointing 12th.

Dixon took charge as the lights released the pack. Roberts and Canet swapping places for podium contention as Vietti slotted in ahead of Arenas in fourth and fifth. Lowes dumped down the field and just outside the top ten after a disappointing start.

Roberts was in the lead through turn five as Arenas bettered the VR46 just adrift of the podium battle. Joint series leader Ai Ogura trailing his rival in sixth with Marcel Schrotter, Augusto Fernandez, Alonso Lopez and Manuel Gonzales heading Lowes in eleventh.

Ogura was through on Vietti as lap three fired up. Roberts pulling away out front with Canet doing likewise from the likeable Brit. Alex Toledo crashed out at turn ten as his replacement ride for Gabriel Rodrigo on the Pertamina SAG came to an early end.

The American held a half-second advantage by lap five. Filip Salac crashing the Gresini out of the points at turn 13 as Lowes set a personal best lap then ran wide at turn one next time around. Ogura doing similar as he liked to gain ground on Arenas for fourth.

American Racing’s Cameron Beaubier was the next to suffer at the Barcelona track, the Californian’s race coming to a conclusion at turn 14. His countryman extending his dominance to eight-tenths at the head of the pack.

Vietti and Ogura repeatedly swapped positions as lap seven unfolded. Tony Arbolino dispatching a long lap penalty from the back of the points. The bickering pair pushed the pace as they began to make up the deficit to Arenas in fourth with Roberts firmly in a rhythm as the lead stretched to 1.6s.

Lowes began to make progress as he circulated ninth after as many laps. Dixon running just two-tenths adrift of Canet in the podium fight with Ogura fading backwards as his pace dropped off a cliff and into the path of the Marc VDS.

Dixon was up to second as lap ten wound down after a move and contact at the tenth corner. Roberts’ dream race coming to a heartbreaking end as the American crashed out at turn five and dispatching the Brit into an unexpected lead.

The leading five were now all in contention at the halfway stage with just six-tenths covering the battle. Vietti making his move onto the podium with Canet taking charge out front as the next lap began and immediately pulling the pin.

Fernandez was through on Arenas as the KTM took fourth, Schrotter following almost immediately as the second aspar dropped to sixth. Sam Lowes a second behind, in seventh, after he picked off Ogura before the Honda man hit back.

A near miss for Dixon saw Vietti run in hot with eight to go, before the VR46 rider bettered the Brit as the lap wound down. A quarter of a second separating the charging Italian from the Spaniard out front with Dixon almost half a second clear in the final podium position.

The championship leader took charge of the race through turn ten with seven to go as Ogura dropped back to eighth. Fernandez setting his sights on the podium as he reeled in the aspar ahead before Dixon defended.

Canet began to challenge after regrouping in the closing stages. Hitting back two laps later with a move through the opening corner and giving Vietti nowhere to go as he put the hammer down for a four-tenth gap. The Italian remaining in check as he answered the pace with three to go.

Arenas and Lowes crashed out as the race counted down. Turn 12 catching out the Brit with the Aspar rider retiring.

Vietti was back in the lead as the penultimate lap concluded with Canet striking back through turn one as the final revolution fired up. The pair inseparable through the middle of the lap before turn ten secured the spoils once again for the Italian, his first since Argentina, and Dixon lost the podium in the closing seconds to Fernandez.

Schrotter met the flag for fifth from Acosta and Ogura with Lopez winning an inter-team Speed Up bet with an eighth place finish. Master Camp’s Gonzalez claimed ninth from Arbolino with Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Somkiat Chantra, Bo Bendsneyder, Jorge Navarro and Fermin Aldeguer collecting the final points.

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