Venue: Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
Distance: 25 Laps
Pole: Johan Zarco, P2- Lorezo Baldassarri, P3- Takaaki Nakagami
Starting from pole, Johan Zarco got a terrible start with wheelspin off the line, consigning him to fall to sixth position by the time the field made it to the first corner. Initially, it was Franco Morbidelli who took the lead, but was swiftly overhauled by Spaniard, Alex Rins. The Suzuki-bound rider set a series of qualifying-style laps to give himself a controllable gap over the rest of the field. Of the men who started on the front row, only Baldassarri was able to stay at the front and keep Rins honest. Behind them, a train containing the likes of Zarco, Sam Lowes, Thomas Luthi, Nakagami and Morbidelli began a ferocious fight for third place.
As ever with the tight nature of this circuit, the race claimed numerous riders throughout the race. On the opening lap alone five riders failed to make it beyond the first sector split, with a further four riders falling foul of the bumpy surface. The highest profile casualty was Lowes who suffered a particularly violent tank-slapper on the exit of turn 5 as he attempted to overtake Morbidelli for third place. It ended a difficult weekend for the Lincolnshire rider, with the team openly admitted to having to push the bike’s limit just to remain competitive with their rivals. His non-finish at Misano now effectively leaves the championship battle between Zarco and Rins. For fans of the British riders, the race was truly one to forget as Leopard’s Danny Kent was among those early fallers. Its been a difficult season for last year’s Moto3 champion, as he’s struggled to adapt to the demands of racing a 600cc Moto2 machine, from his previous 250cc steed.
Back at the front, Baldassarri had kept enough life left in his tyres to challenge Rins, closing up to the Spaniard in the final laps of the race. The young Italian produced a textbook blockpass out of the turn 14 hairpin, before holding off his rival to claim a memorable first grand-prix victory. A result only made sweeter by being in front of his home supporters. For Rins, being forced to concede the race lead so late on will not be so bitter a pill to swallow. Firstly, the fact that he produced such a strong ride whilst riding with a bolted collarbone cannot be underestimated as an achievement. Secondly, he has closed the gap on the championship leader to just 10 points. With only five races remaining this season, we’re in for a thrilling finale.
Race Result: 1- Lorenzo Baldassarri, 2- Alex Rins, 3- Takaaki Nakagami
Full race results available at http://www.motogp.com