Tony Arbolino returned to winning ways after being awarded victory in a weather-disrupted Australian Moto2 race curtailed before the mid-way point due to worsening conditions.
The Italian was leading by a vast 14secs margin as he crossed the line to start lap nine, but as the casualties mounted around him in the treacherous conditions officials called a halt to proceedings with half-points being handed out.
It therefore softens the blow to Pedro Acosta’s comfortable lead in the overall standings, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider fighting back to tenth after being forced to start from the pit-lane following a spill on his way to the grid. With four rounds of the season remaining, Acosta heads up Arbolino by 56 points in the overall standings.
While the earlier Moto3 race was able to run to full distance, with rain continuing to fall as the Moto2 riders came round for lights out, there were already doubts over whether the intermediate category would achieve the same.
Nevertheless, the field successfully navigated the opening couple of turns with Alonso Lopez initially assuming the lead, albeit only until Turn 4 when he lost the rear of his SpeedUp Boscoscuro machine on the exit. Flicked into a vicious high-side, though he’d come to rest in the path of the entire field, he’d escape unharmed.
With those more confident in the slippery conditions beginning their ascent towards the front of the field, Sergio Garcia assumed the lead from the fallen Lopez with Filip Salac, Jake Dixon and Arbolino in hot pursuit.
As Garcia made the most of the clear circuit ahead to eke his advantage out over the group behind, Arbolino made light work of Dixon to take third on lap two before dismissing Salac for second on lap four.
Getting his head down straight away to begin the work of reeling Garcia in, it would prove elementary anyway when the Pons Racing rider barrelled out of the lead and the race at Turn 7, with Salac following him in just behind.
Promoting Arbolino into the lead, when Dixon - promoted to second after Garcia and Salac’s exits - also crashed out on lap five, the Italian found himself with a huge advantage over the opposition. Come lap nine, however, the weather had deteriorated enough to force officials to throw the red flag and call a halt to proceedings anyway.
While it meant only half-points on offer, it still represented Arbolino’s third Moto2 win of the season and his first since Le Mans, while his title hopes - though still slim - were given an added boost by Acosta enduring a nightmare by comparison after being forced to start from the pit-lane. Despite this, the Spaniard carved his way back up the order to ninth when the early red flag halted his progress.
Joining Arbolino on the soggy rostrum was pole sitter Fermin Alderguer, the Spaniard unable to make his dominant pace count in the wet but still collecting a second podium finish on the bounce, while Aron Canet assumed the flag for Pons in Garcia’s absence with third.
With the likes of Lopez, Garcia, Salac, Dixon, Sam Lowes and Celestino Vietti among the high-profile riders forced out of contention, Jeremy Alcoba came through for fourth place, ahead of Joe Roberts, while Izan Guevara notched up the first top ten finish in Moto2 with a strong run to sixth place.
Somkiat Chantra consolidated fifth in the overall standings in seventh, followers home by Bo Bendsneyder, the recovering Acosta and American Racing’s Marcos Ramirez in tenth.
Taiga Hada scored points once again on the Pertamina SAG Kalex, ahead of Rory Skinner, who shone through the gloom on the second American Racing bike to take 12th and with it the first points of both his season and in Moto2.
|2023 Australian Moto2 | Phillip Island Circuit | Race Results | Round 16 of 20|
|1||Tony Arbolino||🇮🇹||Elf Marc VDS Racing||Kalex||9 Laps|
|2||Aron Canet||🇪🇦||Pons Wegow Los40||Kalex||+15.088|
|3||Fermin Aldeguer||🇪🇦||SpeedUp Racing||Boscoscuro||+15.614|
|4||Jeremy Alcoba||🇪🇦||QJMOTOR Gresini||Kalex||+1 Lap|
|5||Joe Roberts||🇺🇸||Italtrans Racing Team||Kalex||+1 Lap|
|6||Izan Guevara||🇪🇦||GasGas Aspar||Kalex||+1 Lap|
|7||Somkiat Chantra||🇹🇭||IDEMITSU Honda Asia||Kalex||+1 Lap|
|8||Bo Bendsneyder||🇳🇱||Pertamina SAG Team||Kalex||+1 Lap|
|9||Pedro Acosta||🇪🇦||Red Bull KTM Ajo||Kalex||+1 Lap|
|10||Marcos Ramirez||🇪🇦||American Racing||Kalex||+1 Lap|
|11||Taiga Hada||🇯🇵||Pertamina SAG Team||Kalex||+1 Lap|
|12||Rory Skinner||🇬🇧||American Racing||Kalex||+1 Lap|
|13||Manuel Gonzalez||🇪🇦||Yamaha VR46 MasterCamp||Kalex||+1 Lap|
|14||Albert Arenas||🇪🇦||Red Bull KTM Ajo||Kalex||+1 Lap|
|15||Ai Ogura||🇯🇵||IDEMITSU Honda Asia||Kalex||+1 Lap|
|16||Kohta Nozane||🇯🇵||Yamaha VR46 MasterCamp||Kalex||+1 Lap|
|17||Dennis Foggia||🇮🇹||Italtrans Racing Team||Kalex||+1 Lap|
|18||Alberto Surra||🇮🇹||Forward Team||Forward||+1 Lap|
|19||Alex Escrig||🇮🇹||Forward Team||Forward||+1 Lap|
|20||Lukas Tulovic||🇩🇪||Husqvarna IntactGP||Kalex||+1 Lap|
|DNF||Alonso Lopez||🇪🇦||SpeedUp Racing||Boscoscuro|
|DNF||Celestino Vietti||🇮🇹||Fantic Racing||Kalex|
|DNF||Mattia Casadei||🇮🇹||Fantic Racing||Kalex|
|DNF||Jake Dixon||🇬🇧||GasGas Aspar||Kalex|
|DNF||Sam Lowes||🇬🇧||Elf Marc VDS Racing||Kalex|
|DNF||Filip Salac||🇨🇿||QJMOTOR Gresini||Kalex|
|DNF||Sergio Garcia||🇪🇦||Pons Wegow Los40||Kalex|
|DNF||Barry Baltus||🇧🇪||Fieten Olie Racing GP||Kalex|
|DNF||Zonta van den Goorbergh||🇳🇱||Fieten Olie Racing GP||Kalex|
|DNF||Darryn Binder||🇿🇦||Husqvarna IntactGP||Kalex|