Pedro Acosta has taken another important step towards the 2023 Moto2 World Championship title after keeping his head in a restarted, incident-filled Indian Moto2 to secure a clear sixth win of the season.
The Spaniard stayed out of trouble as clashes reigned around him at the second get away - called after a five-bike pile-up at Turn 1 during the original start - before easing clear of the chasing pack to seal what could be another pivotal win.
Tony Arbolino, the KTM Ajo rider’s closest title rival, kept the damage to a minimum by coming through to second place, meaning the margin between the two riders sits at 39 points with seven rounds to go.
However, the title race seems also certain to come down to a direct head-to-head between Acosta and Arbolino after third in the standings Jake Dixon was forced out following a clash with another of the outside contenders Alonso Lopez, while Aron Canet was also an early retiree.
Following a relatively sedate Moto3 race, the inaugural Indian Moto2 at the Buddh International Circuit proved substantially more physical, particularly during the scheduled start when an errant Jeremy Alcoba folded his Gresini bike while trying to thread up the inside, taking Celestino Vietti, Somkiat Chantra, Marcos Ramirez and Taiga Hada with him and forcing a red flag.
Forcing a full restart at a shortened 12 lap distance, Acosta was the big beneficiary coming into Turn 1 despite reaching the right-hander behind pole sitter Jake Dixon, whose strong getaway was ruined by an errant Lopez surging up the inside and taking both wide on the exit.
Putting Sergio Garcia to the head of a Moto2 race for the first time, his joy would be shortlived as Acosta quickly dismissed him on the run to Turn 4 to snatch a lead that wouldn’t be bothered again to the chequered flag.
Behind Garcia, an incensed Dixon attempted a firm pass back on Lopez to regain ground, but instead sent himself too deep into the corner, forcing him down to sixth behind Lopez, Tony Arbolino and Joe Roberts.
With Roberts dealing out some justice coming into Turn 2 with an aggressive overtake into Turn 1 on Lopez, Dixon resumed his personal fight against the SpeedUp rider, but their feud would come to a disastrous conclusion when the Briton - upon block passing into Turn 3 - returned to his line in the path of his rival, the solid impact sending both down and out. Though Dixon would remount, a second crash on his own at Turn 12 on lap five would prove terminal.
Dixon and Lopez weren’t the only high profile riders in trouble with Canet getting it all wrong on lap one under braking for Turn 3, taking down Sam Lowes with him, while Ai Ogura and Chantra - having restarted - also failing to make it to lap two.
Back at the front, Acosta - having wasted no time in building a gap over the chasing pack - was keeping it neat, with Arbolino left with too much work to do once he had worked his way into second position at the expense of Garcia.
As such, the Spaniard maintained his strong form for a second win on the bounce to strengthen his grip on the 2023 Moto2 title, ahead of Arbolino, who enjoyed a confidence boosting first podium since prior to the summer break.
With several leading contenders out, the fight for the final podium spot went right down to the wire between two lesser fancied candidates in Garcia and Roberts. With a maiden Moto2 podium in his grasp, a determined Garcia defended hard against the more experienced Roberts, the pair swapping and swooping past one another on multiple occasions over the final revolutions.
Eventually the pressure told on Garcia when a mistake at Turn 4 releasing Roberts to secure third definitively, the American notching up only his fourth career Moto2 podium in what will be his final races with Italtrans.
Garcia collected himself for fourth to strengthen his status as Moto2’s top rookie, while Manuel Gonzalez came through once again for fifth place, a career-best equalling result he has achieved now on seven occasions in Moto2.
One of the big beneficiaries of the changeable weather conditions in Q2, there was joy for Zonta van den Goorbergh who gamely made the most of his fourth place starting position to keep the majority of the busy mid-pack behind him throughout. Though he’d cede to Gonzalez late on, the Dutch teenager held on for sixth, representing his first-ever Moto2 points in 31 starts.
Having started alongside van den Goorbergh in fifth, Darryn Binder brought his Husqvarna IntactGP bike home for his second top ten of the year in seventh, ahead of Barry Baltus in what was a rewarding day for the Fieten Olie Racing GP team, while Marcos Ramirez scored his and American Racing’s first top ten finish of the year in ninth.
Filip Salac rounded out the top ten on an otherwise humbling day for the Gresini team after Alcoba - having been given a long lap penalty for causing the earlier Turn 1 crash - receive a second one for failing to heed the first in the allotted time. Things then went from bad to worse for the Frenchman when he got his braking for the extended turn wrong and slid into the gravel trap and out of the race.
Of the remaining points’ paying results, Dennis Foggia and Fermin Aldeguer came home 11th and 12th, with Izan Guevara and the injured Albert Arenas 13th and 14th, while Sean Dylan Kelly scored both his and Forward Racing’s first point of the year in 15th.
On a dismal day for the Brits, Rory Skinner was denied a career-best 17th place finish when he was wiped out by Kohta Nozane at the very final turn on the last lap.
|2023 Indian Moto2 | Buddh International Circuit | Race Results | Round 13 of 20|
|1||Pedro Acosta||🇪🇦||Red Bull KTM Ajo||Kalex||12 Laps|
|2||Tony Arbolino||🇮🇹||Elf Marc VDS Racing||Kalex||+3.543|
|3||Joe Roberts||🇺🇸||Italtrans Racing Team||Kalex||+6.506|
|4||Sergio Garcia||🇪🇦||Pons Wegow Los40||Kalex||+7.377|
|5||Manuel Gonzalez||🇪🇦||Yamaha VR46 MasterCamp||Kalex||+7.903|
|6||Zonta van den Goorbergh||🇳🇱||Fieten Olie Racing GP||Kalex||+11.437|
|7||Darryn Binder||🇿🇦||Husqvarna IntactGP||Kalex||+11.644|
|8||Barry Baltus||🇧🇪||Fieten Olie Racing GP||Kalex||+12.225|
|9||Marcos Ramirez||🇪🇦||American Racing||Kalex||+12.578|
|10||Filip Salac||🇨🇿||QJMOTOR Gresini||Kalex||12.790|
|11||Dennis Foggia||🇮🇹||Italtrans Racing Team||Kalex||+13.262|
|12||Fermin Aldeguer||🇪🇦||SpeedUp Racing||Boscoscuro||+14.051|
|13||Izan Guevara||🇪🇦||GasGas Aspar||Kalex||+15.250|
|14||Albert Arenas||🇪🇦||Red Bull KTM Ajo||Kalex||+20.917|
|15||Sean Dylan Kelly||🇺🇸||Forward Team||Forward||+23.286|
|16||Borja Gomez||🇪🇦||Fantic Racing||Kalex||+27.210|
|17||Alberto Surra||🇮🇹||Forward Team||Forward||+28.219|
|18||Bo Bendsneyder||🇳🇱||Pertamina SAG Team||Kalex||+33.145|
|19||Sam Lowes||🇬🇧||Elf Marc VDS Racing||Kalex||+54.448|
|20||Rory Skinner||🇬🇧||American Racing||Kalex||+1m 06.071|
|DNF||Ai Ogura||🇯🇵||IDEMITSU Honda Asia||Kalex|
|DNF||Alonso Lopez||🇪🇦||SpeedUp Racing||Boscoscuro|
|DNF||Taiga Hada||🇯🇵||Pertamina SAG Team||Kalex|
|DNF||Kohta Nozane||🇯🇵||Yamaha VR46 MasterCamp||Kalex|
|DNF||Jeremy Alcoba||🇪🇦||QJMOTOR Gresini||Kalex|
|DNF||Jake Dixon||🇬🇧||GasGas Aspar||Kalex|
|DNF||Aron Canet||🇪🇦||Pons Wegow Los40||Kalex|
|DNF||Somkiat Chantra||🇹🇭||IDEMITSU Honda Asia||Kalex|
|DNF||Celestino Vietti||🇮🇹||Fantic Racing||Kalex|
|W||Lukas Tulovic||🇩🇪||Husqvarna IntactGP||Kalex|