Assen Moto2: Nakagami fights through for maiden win
Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami took a long-awaited maiden victory in Moto2 at Assen, fighting through into the lead and then checking out once he was in clean air.
The 24-year-old's first win came in his 77th start, Nakagami having finished runner-up on four occasions back in 2013.
A textbook start from poleman Thomas Luthi kicked off an early stint in which the Swiss rider controlled the race, albeit he could not break away.
After Johann Zarco ran wide into Turn 1, Dominique Aegerter held the spot, trying to pick off his compatriot for the lead on Lap 2 only to allow Sam Lowes through instead.
Aegerter retook second place shortly thereafter, but would have no answer for a charging Franco Morbidelli, who rapidly dealt with Nakagami and a seemingly struggling Lowes before moving past the Swiss rider.
And, swiftly, Morbidelli then picked off Luthi as well out of the final chicane, delivering the first lead change of the race on lap 4.
Luthi was then also passed by Nakagami at Turn 1, and the Japanese rider used the same overtaking spot to take over in the lead of the race on lap 9.
Morbidelli tried to retaliate and briefly retook first place, but would eventually lose out, re-passed not only by Nakagami but also by Luthi and Zarco.
However, with Luthi struggling to keep pace with the Japanese rider, it was Nakagami's cue to check out as he quickly established a lead of around a second.
As Zarco picked off Luthi, that lead turned to two seconds - and when Morbidelli divebombed past Luthi and then overtook Zarco, only to be re-passed, Nakagami's advantage reached three seconds.
Zarco soon shook of Morbidelli for good and began slowly making up ground on the leader, but the complexity of the race changed at that point, with light drops of rain suggesting the possibility of a premature end.
And, after Luthi crashed and Julian Simon then hit Danny Kent out of the race, the red flags arrived, the race being called then and there.
Behind Nakagami, Zarco and Morbidelli, Lowes passed Lorenzo Baldassarri for fourth, despite being nearly thrown off his bike in a major moment while fighting.
Having fought Simone Corsi for most of the race, Suzuki-bound Alex Rins eventually prevailed over the Belgian to claim sixth putting himself level on points with Zarco at the top of the points standings.
Alex Marquez scored the best result of a nightmare season so far with eighth, while Aegerter and Tech 3 signing Jonas Folger made up the top 10.
|7||Simone Corsi||Speed Up||9.482|
|11||Xavier Simeon||Speed Up||16.374|
|16||Julian Simon||Speed Up||25.729|
|17||Xavi Vierge||Tech 3||34.115|
|21||Isaac Viñales||Tech 3||42.058|
|Ret||Thomas Luthi||Kalex||3 Laps|
|Ret||Luca Marini||Kalex||4 Laps|
|Ret||Hafizh Syahrin||Kalex||7 Laps|
|Ret||Axel Pons||Kalex||17 Laps|
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About this article
|Location||TT Circuit Assen|
|Drivers||Johann Zarco , Takaaki Nakagami , Franco Morbidelli|