MotoGP Phillip Island: Lopez dominates Moto2 despite penalty| Christina Bulpett | MotoGP
Beta Tools Speed Up’s Alonso Lopez left the Moto2 field firmly in his wake at Phillip Island after claiming victory by 3.5 seconds on Sunday.
Despite a long lap penalty left over from the Thai GP, the 20-year-old’s dominance was unquestioned in Australia as he headed the pack from the opening lap and never looked back. Red Bull KTM’s Pedro Acosta claimed second from eighth on the grid with Inde GasGas Aspar’s Jake Dixon recovering from 14th to third as he dedicated his somewhat unexpected podium to the late Chrissy Rouse.
Moto2 lined up on a dry, cold but windy Phillip Island Circuit following a patchy warm-up session. Speed Up’s Fermin Aldeguer headed the front row alongside teammate Lopez with KTM’s Augusto Fernandez splitting the pair from second. His main title challenger, Ai Ogura, preparing to launch from 13th on the Idemitsu Honda with Brits Sam Lowes and Dixon either side.
Lights out and it was a Speed Up one-two before Elf Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino took charge overall. Lopez running second from Aldeguer and Fernandez before he became the next to claim the lead with Flexbox HP40’s Aron Canet and Acosta making strong starts to fifth and sixth. Lopez immediately pulled a one-second advantage as he looked to gain ground before his long lap penally was triggered, teammate Aldeguer second and defending from Arbolino with a further trio of riders almost inseparable behind.
Lopez held a 2.5s lead by just lap three as his pace ignited. American Racing’s Cameron Beaubier up to fifth from Acosta, Gresini’s Filip Salac and Canet with VR46 Master Camp’s Manuel Gonzalez and Liqui Moly Intact’s Jeremy Alcoba completing the top ten.
The long lap penalty dispatched, Lopez held a near-two second advantage as the Spaniard’s dominance continued. Flexbox HP40’s Jorge Navarro and MV Agusta’s Simone Corsi crashing out at Miller with the former requiring medical assistance after the latter was left with nowhere to go but over the number nine, Navarro controversially down and surrounded by marshalls with just yellow flags waved for two solid laps.
Arbolino was the next to succumb to the Australian layout as the Elf Marc VDS rider crashed out of second at the Hayshed. Championship leader Fernandez released into the position with Red Bull teammate in hot pursuit. The positions switched as lap nine fired up with Salac one-second off the podium fight in fourth. Beaubier heading Dixon in fifth and sixth as Mooney VR46’s Celestino Vietti entered the top ten.
The front running form faded for Salac with 15 laps to go as the Gresini rider crashed out at Doohan. Dixon bettering Beaubier as he set his sights on the podium but with almost three seconds to dispatch in the process.
A disastrous lap for VR46 found Master Camp’s Keminth Kubo and Mooney’s Niccolo Antonelli down and out in quick succession as Vietti made progress to sixth. Poleman Aldeguer dropping down the pack as he circulated ninth at the halfway stage before Vietti added to the misery with his own turn six crash.
Aldeguer regrouped as he returned to seventh with a move on Idemitsu Honda’s Somkiat Chantra. Fernandez the next to fall as the championship leader slid out at the Southern Loop, Ogura released to command the title-fight despite struggling in 12th with Dixon promoted onto the podium.
The British rider had Beaubier hard on his wheels as the duo battled for third with eight laps to go. Lopez and Acosta running over three seconds clear apiece out front with Gonzales circulating a career best fifth, albeit five seconds behind, before Aldeguer attempted to steal the position.
A four-rider fight for fifth developed in the closing stages as Alcoba and Chantra joined the battle. The remainder of the pack running solitary races with Beaubier dropping dramatically off the back of Dixon as late-race tyre woes began to make their presence felt.
Aldeguer arrived on the American with two to go. The number six quickly dispatched with Alcoba and Gonzales following suit after the Californian avoided contact with the Boscoscuro through the Southern Loop, fellow countryman Joe Roberts suffering a technical issue on the Italtrans machine to end his race early from the sidelines.
Lopez met the flag with 3.5 seconds in hand for a dominant second victory from Acosta and Dixon. Aldeguer’s late resurgence rewarded with fourth from Gonzalez, Alcoba, Beaubier and Chantra while Canet and Bo Bendsneyder completed the top ten. Ogura crossed the line 11th but with the advantage in the championship fight as Lowes, Marcel Schrotter, Albert Arenas and Taiga Hada collected the final points on offer.