Qatar Moto2: Bagnaia holds off Baldassarri for first win

Francesco Bagnaia opened his Moto2 victory account after holding off Lorenzo Baldassarri by just a tenth of a second in the first race of the 2018 season in Qatar.

Valentino Rossi protege Bagnaia - who has already secured a MotoGP ride for 2019 with Pramac Ducati - led virtually throughout the 20-lap contest after grabbing the lead from poleman Alex Marquez at Turn 1 on the opening lap.

Bagnaia, Pons rider Baldassarri and Marc VDS man Marquez formed a lead trio that pulled away rapidly from the chasing pack, with Bagnaia able to keep his rivals at arm's length until the closing stages.

Marquez and Baldassarri swapped places several times in their fight for second before the former lost ground when his rear brake appeared to get stuck on during the 15th lap.

With Marquez out of the picture, Baldassarri soon closed on leader Bagnaia and began the final lap right on his compatriot's tail.

Baldassarri attempted a lunge at the Turn 15 left-hander, but couldn't make the move stick, conceding the lead to Bagnaia again and finishing up just 0.112s behind at the chequered flag.

Marquez held on for third place a further five seconds back after his brake problem, one second ahead of Italtrans rider Mattia Pasini.

The works KTMs of Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder ended up fifth and sixth, the former recovering after running wide at the first corner and dropping to the lower fringes of the top 10.

Completing the top 10 were Intact GP duo Marcel Schrotter and Xavi Vierge, Bagnaia's VR46 teammate Luca Marini and the Gresini machine of Jorge Navarro.

Moto3 champion Joan Mir started his maiden Moto2 race down in 24th, but recovered to 11th place on board the second Marc VDS Kalex.

His former rival Romano Fenati went in the opposite direction, starting an impressive fifth but slumping to 24th by the chequered flag.

Hector Barbera was 13th on his Moto2 return on the second Pons bike, while fellow MotoGP refugee Sam Lowes crashed out while running inside the top 10 aboard the CGBM Evolution KTM.

Lowes and teammate Iker Lecuona, who suffered mechanical issues, were the only non-finishers.

Race results:

Pos.#RiderBikeTime/Gap
1 42 italy Francesco Bagnaia  Kalex 40'19.802
2 7 italy Lorenzo Baldassarri  Kalex 0.112
3 73 spain Alex Marquez  Kalex 5.625
4 54 italy Mattia Pasini  Kalex 6.657
5 44 portugal Miguel Oliveira  KTM 10.296
6 41 south_africa Brad Binder  KTM 10.344
7 23 germany Marcel Schrötter  Kalex 11.419
8 97 spain Xavi Vierge  Kalex 11.516
9 10 italy Luca Marini  Kalex 20.690
10 9 spain Jorge Navarro  Kalex 20.961
11 36 spain Joan Mir  Kalex 23.025
12 87 australia Remy Gardner  Tech 3 30.292
13 40 spain Hector Barbera  Kalex 30.299
14 24 italy Simone Corsi  Kalex 30.732
15 77 switzerland Dominique Aegerter  KTM 30.870
16 32 spain Isaac Viñales  Kalex 31.052
17 52 united_kingdom Danny Kent  Speed Up 31.958
18 64 netherlands Bo Bendsneyder  Tech 3 32.382
19 5 italy Andrea Locatelli  Kalex 35.228
20 20 france Fabio Quartararo  Speed Up 35.357
21 45 japan Tetsuta Nagashima  Kalex 35.969
22 4 south_africa Steven Odendaal  NTS 42.545
23 89 malaysia Khairul Idham Pawi  Kalex 42.776
24 13 italy Romano Fenati  Kalex 44.562
25 16 united_states Joe Roberts  NTS 56.077
26 62 italy Stefano Manzi  Suter 1'01.581
27 95 france Jules Danilo  Kalex 1'01.853
28 63 malaysia Zulfahmi Khairuddin  Kalex 1'11.618
29 21 italy Federico Fuligni  Kalex 1'20.148
30 51 brazil  Eric Granado  Suter 1'26.192
Ret 22 united_kingdom Sam Lowes  KTM 10 laps
Ret  27 spain Iker Lecuona  KTM 13 laps
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About this article
Series Moto2
Event Losail
Track Losail International Circuit
Drivers Lorenzo Baldassarri , Francesco Bagnaia
Teams Team VR46
Article type Race report