Motegi Moto2: Quartararo beats Bagnaia in straight fight

Fabio Quartararo came on top in a tense duel with championship leader Francesco Bagnaia to win the Motegi Moto2 round on Sunday.

Motegi Moto2: Quartararo beats Bagnaia in straight fight

MotoGP-bound Quartararo was quick off the line from the middle of the front row but ran wide at Turn 1, handing the lead back to polesitter Bagnaia.

But Quartararo quickly recouped to put himself on the rear of Bagnaia and swiftly passed him towards the end of lap 3 as the two pulled away from rest of the field.

The Speed Up rider managed to build a half-a-second buffer early on while Bagnaia fell into the clutches of Lorenzo Baldassarri, but Bagnaia upped his pace to resume the two-way fight for victory.

Quartararo appeared to have the measure of Bagnaia until about four laps to go, when the championship leader tried a desperate move at the S curve.

From there on the two ran in close formation to the chequered flag, with Quartararo hanging on to score his second win of the season following his Barcelona triumph earlier in the year.

Pons rider Baldassarri had a lonely race en route to third as he finished over six seconds behind the leading duo.

Bagnaia’s closest championship challenger Miguel Oliveira (KTM) jumped up from ninth to sixth on the opening lap and then reeled in Alex Marquez on lap two.

However, his early charge didn’t last long as he finished a a distant fourth after overtaking Xavi Vierge in the second half of the race, 12 seconds behind Quartararo.

Marquez - who escaped injury after a dramatic crash in Friday practice - dropped to the lower regions of the top 10, but the Marc VDS rider staged an impressive recovery to finish fifth, just two tenths ahead of Brad Binder (KTM).

Augusto Fernandez (Pons) finished seventh ahead of Vierge (Intact GP), while front-row starter Iker Lecuona finished no higher than ninth.

The CGBM Evolution rider made a decent getaway off the line but ran over a kerb in the opening sequence of corners, dropping down the order.

He managed to return to the group comprising Oliveira, Marquez, Binder and others but then made an unforced error, slipping back again.

Bagnaia’s VR46 teammate Luca Marini completed the top 10, while future Suzuki MotoGP rider Joan Mir was an anonymous 12th on the second Marc VDS bike.

Race results:

Pos. # Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 20 France Fabio Quartararo  Speed Up 41'03.849
2 42 Italy Francesco Bagnaia  Kalex 0.445
3 7 Italy Lorenzo Baldassarri  Kalex 6.672
4 44 Portugal Miguel Oliveira  KTM 11.998
5 73 Spain Alex Marquez  Kalex 12.528
6 41 South Africa Brad Binder  KTM 12.793
7 40 Spain Augusto Fernandez  Kalex 13.146
8 97 Spain Xavi Vierge  Kalex 14.097
9 27 Spain Iker Lecuona  KTM 14.256
10 10 Italy Luca Marini  Kalex 16.049
11 23 Germany Marcel Schrotter  Kalex 18.001
12 36 Spain Joan Mir  Kalex 19.666
13 45 Japan Tetsuta Nagashima  Kalex 20.256
14 77 Switzerland Dominique Aegerter  KTM 20.723
15 54 Italy Mattia Pasini  Kalex 23.536
16 87 Australia Remy Gardner  Tech 3 24.913
17 5 Italy Andrea Locatelli  Kalex 25.067
18 22 United Kingdom Sam Lowes  KTM 26.733
19 16 United States Joe Roberts  NTS 34.332
20 4 South Africa Steven Odendaal  NTS 34.519
21 2 Switzerland Jesko Raffin  Kalex 34.748
22 66 Finland Niki Tuuli  Kalex 37.903
23 89 Malaysia Khairul Idham Pawi  Kalex 38.366
24 57 Spain Edgar Pons  Speed Up 43.015
25 62 Italy Stefano Manzi  Suter 47.112
26 95 France Jules Danilo  Kalex 56.945
27 32 Spain Isaac Viñales  Suter 1'00.104
28 18 Andorra Xavi Cardelus  Kalex 1'07.510
Ret 64 Netherlands Bo Bendsneyder  Tech 3 1 Lap
Ret 9 Spain Jorge Navarro  Kalex 9 Laps
Ret 21 Italy Federico Fuligni  Kalex 13 Laps
Ret 24 Italy Simone Corsi  Kalex 19 Laps
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