MotoGP Misano: Lopez leads for maiden Moto2 win

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Picture: GeeBee Images

+Ego Speed Up’s Alonso Lopez secured his first victory in Moto2 in dominant style on Sunday at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.

A lights-to-flag win confirmed Lopez was a talent to watch after his late entry to 2022, the Spaniard having now lead the most amount of laps of the season despite only joining the class at Le Mans. Flexbox HP40’s Aron Canet and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Augusto Fernandez completed the podium with the number 37 retaking the lead in the title fight.

The Moto2 pole man was hard to miss as Mooney VR46 presented a one-off ‘Mad Dog’ livery for Celestino Vietti and teammate Niccolo Antonelli at their home event. Inde GasGas Aspar’s Albert Arenas and Lopez completed the front row with Jake Dixon forced to line up in 18th following an opening crash in Saturday’s qualifying. Pertamina SAG’s Bo Bendsneyder and VR46 Master Camp’s Keminth Kubo both faced long lap penalties for the 25-lap race with the pair starting 14th and 31st respectively.

Lights out and Lopez was instantly through to the lead as Dixon’s weekend went from bad to worse with a turn two crash. Kubo and Zonta van den Goorbergh following suit at turn four with Manuel Gonzalez out as the lap concluded.

Lopez held a half second lead as lap two fired up. Arenas and Vietti sitting second and third with Canet heading championship challengers Ai Ogura and Fernandez in the top six. The second Speed Up of Fermin Aldeguer held seventh from Elf Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino while Mattia Pasini continued his strong wildcard showing inside the top ten.

Flexbox’s Jorge Navarro was the next to fall, with Marc VDS replacement rider Senna Agius with Gresini’s Filip Salac tangling at turn eight.

Canet was into podium contention with six laps dispatched as Vietti slipped back to fourth. Aldeguer concluding his race early at turn one with Pasini progressing to seventh. Lorenzo Dalla Porta continuing the crash fest at the final corner after just eight laps on the Italtrans as his teammate Joe Roberts joined the top ten.

The podium battle intensified as Canet, Arenas and Vietti vied for position. Lopez released with over a second’s lead out front as Ogura and Fernandez looked to join the fight. The local rider’s progress halted by a turn four crash as his title hopes fading into the gravel with his fifth DNF of the season.

Fernandez bettered his title rival for fourth - and the championship lead - as the mid-race distance approached. Pasini up to sixth and challenging Ogura with Arbolino, Pedro Acosta, Roberts and Somkiat Chantra completing the top ten.

VR46’s disappointing home showing concluded on lap 12 as Antonelli joined his teammate with his own early retirement at turn four with Pasini’s hopes for home success doing likewise one lap later.

Canet came through on Arenas for runner-up honours at the halfway stage as Lopez increased his lead to over a second and a half. Fernandez looking to break his main rival at the edge of the top five before the Honda rider regrouped.

Eight to go and Marcel Schrotter received a long lap for track limits from 11th on the Liqui Moly Intact GP, Barry Baltus taking over both the position then the penalty in quick succession on the RW Racing machine. Arenas upped the anti from third as his pace increased while Lopez briefly faltered following his own limits warning.

Fernandez had the podium in his sights with five to go before he dispatched Arenas with ease. The Aspar rider hitting back almost instantly and prepared to fight in the closing stages with Ogura faded and settling for fifth, over four seconds in arrears.

The KTM rider was back through two laps later with a turn six move, that stuck, before getting his head down to build a gap. Lopez leading the way by almost two seconds as the final lap began, on his way to becoming only the fifth rider to win on Speed Up machinery.

With the chequered flag flying, the 20-year-old claimed his maiden Moto2 victory in dominant style with Canet and Fernandez completing the podium celebrations. Arenas denied in the closing stages and consolidating fourth from Ogura, Acosta, Arbolino and Chantra while Roberts and Intact’s Jeremy Alcoba rounded out the top ten. Schrotter, Bendsneyder, Baltus, American Racing’s Cameron Beaubier and Gresini’s Alessandro Zaccone claimed the final championship points, with Marcos Ramirez and Taiga Hada completing the 17 finishers after the injured Sean Dylan Kelly was forced to retire in the final third.

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