Aragon Moto2: Morbidelli wins with audacious last-lap pass
Moto2 championship leader Franco Morbidelli scored his eighth win of the 2017 campaign at Aragon, prevailing in an exhilarating ding-dong battle with compatriot Mattia Pasini.
Morbidelli sealed the win with a forceful move on the final lap, nudging Pasini wide to settle a long-running duel.
KTM Ajo poleman Miguel Oliveira led the way off the line, but it took Morbidelli little time to establish himself in first place, the Italian having quickly dispatched Pasini and teammate Alex Marquez before diving down the inside of Oliveira at Turn 16.
Pasini overtook Oliveira on the second lap and successfully rebuffed an attack from the Portuguese rider two laps later, slipping behind at Turn 1 only to retake and consolidate the place a few corners afterwards.
But this allowed Morbidelli to build his gap up to a second, the championship leader gradually adding a few more tenths to his advantage before Pasini began to turn the tide of the battle.
As the race approached halfway, Pasini was now the fastest rider on track, making quick work of Morbidelli's lead and trying an initial, unsuccessful attempt to pass his compatriot on lap 13 of 21.
He continued to relentlessly hound Morbidelli corner after corner and dived down the inside of Turn 16 a lap later to finally complete the move.
Yet Pasini's expected breakaway didn't progress past a half-second gap, Morbidelli reeling him in and retaking the spot at the start on lap 18.
Pasini then edged ahead of Morbidelli on the penultimate lap but surrendered the lead once again to a forceful move down the inside of the reverse-corkscrew Turn 8.
On the final lap, Pasini took the lead once more, pulling off a pass at the Turn 4 left-hander.
He then took a defensive line into Turn 8, but Morbidelli followed close through the corner, before jamming his bike down the inside of Turn 9, forcing Pasini wide and retaking first place.
This proved the decisive move, Morbidelli hanging on to win by 0.145s.
Oliveira, who was around three seconds back at halfway point, managed to close within half a second of the leading duo as they battled, but had to settle for third.
Morbidelli's title rival Thomas Luthi fought off reigning Moto3 champion Brad Binder for fourth, with another rookie Jorge Navarro beating Simone Corsi to sixth.
Completing the top 10 were Takaaki Nakagami, Sandro Cortese and Francesco Bagnaia.
Having missed the Misano race after sustaining a left hip injury, Marquez didn't get to take any points out of Aragon either, despite running third in the early stages.
His pace faded badly as the race approached halfway and he soon disembarked his Marc VDS Kalex bike in the pitlane to head to the medical centre.
|7||24||Simone Corsi||Speed Up||7.597|
|14||97||Xavi Vierge||Tech 3||21.314|
|20||87||Remy Gardner||Tech 3||28.026|
|22||37||Augusto Fernandez||Speed Up||30.890|
|Ret||23||Marcel Schrötter||Suter||4 laps|
|Ret||22||Federico Fuligni||Kalex||4 laps|
|Ret||89||Khairul Idham Pawi||Kalex||6 laps|
|Ret||32||Isaac Viñales||Kalex||6 laps|
|Ret||73||Alex Marquez||Kalex||10 laps|
|Ret||10||Luca Marini||Kalex||12 laps|
|Ret||49||Axel Pons||Kalex||14 laps|
Quartararo joins Speed Up for sophomore Moto2 season
Motegi Moto2: Marquez wins, Morbidelli extends points lead