Pedro Acosta has clinched the 2023 Moto2 World Championship title after holding his nerve to collect a second place finish and the points he needed to assure him the crown over Tony Arbolino in the Malaysian Moto2.
In a race won by Fermin Aldeguer, Acosta stayed calm in a lonely second place after Arbolino was caught up in two skirmishes that would drop him down the order and scupper his hopes of keeping his title dream alive into the penultimate round.
Though forced to play second best to Aldeguer in a race the SpeedUp Racing rider all-but-dominated, a comfortable runners-up spot on the day was the measure of a rider who has controlled proceedings since assuming the lead of the overall standings since the summer break.
Clinching the title in only his third season of grand prix racing, he now has two more events to build on his tally of seven victories and 14 podiums ahead of his step up to MotoGP with the GasGas Tech3 Racing team.
On the day, however, the race was all about the increasingly impressive Aldeguer, who brushed off contact with Manuel Gonzalez at the opening turn - a clash that took the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp rider out of the race - to stream clear of the chasing pack for his second consecutive victory.
It was a different story for Gonzalez though as he saw his hopes of securing an elusive first podium in Moto2 disappear stage left, even if he was lucky not to be struck by any one of the riders from the entire field swarming around him.
However, his fall was also instrumental in disrupting Arbolino’s attempts to keep his title dreams alive as he was almost brought to a halt trying to avoid him. Dropping him out of position, Arbolino then added insult to his own injury when a bungled attempt to overtake Aron Canet at Turn 8 on lap two instead resulted in him clipping the rear wheel of Ai Ogura.
Though he’d keep it upright, Arbolino slipped outside the top twenty and despite a valiant fight back to tenth, he’d lose his chance of staying within range of Acosta by the chequered flag.
Back at the front, Alderguer quickly built up a lead in excess of four seconds over Acosta, who in turn maintained a healthy distance back to the battle for third place.
It’s an advantage he’d protect to the flag, Aldeguer notching up his third win of the 2023 Moto2 World Championship season, a result that hauls him up to fourth in the overall standing having sat outside the top ten just four rounds earlier.
Behind, Acosta assured his coronation with second place to assure Red Bull KTM Ajo Motorsport a third consecutive title to follow on from Augusto Fernandez and Remy Gardner.
In third place, Marcos Ramirez delivered a consummate ride for his maiden Moto2 podium and a first for American Racing since 2020. The Spaniard - who started the season with Forward Racing before being called up by American Racing to replace Sean Dylan Kelly - made the most of another strong qualifying performance to fend off Ai Ogura in fourth.
Scrubbing the memories of the 2022 Malaysian Moto2 when his crash on the final lap all-but-ruined his chances of winning the title, Ogura recovered from Arbolino’s early strike to finish ahead of Jake Dixon in fifth place and team-mate Somkiat Chantra in sixth.
On a strong day for the British contingent, Sam Lowes secured his best result since the British Moto2 round with his run to seventh, ahead of Joe Roberts and Albert Arenas.
Despite his drop down the order, Arbolino put in a valiant fightback to tenth place to at least bag enough puts to secure the runners-up spot in the standings.
Barry Baltus was also back in the points in 11th on the Fieten Olie bike, ahead of Jeremy Alcoba and Alex Escrig, the former MotoE rider scoring his first points of the season and Forward Racing’s best result of 2023, with Filip Salac and Dennis Foggia taking the final points in 14th and 15th.
In addition to Gonzalez, Aron Canet was another high-profile retirement after slipping off at Turn 2, while Austrian Moto2 winner Celestino Vietti dropped his Fantic Racing machine at Turn 8 too.
|2023 Thailand Moto2 | Chang International Circuit, Buriram | RACE Results | Round 17 of 20|
|1||Fermin Aldeguer||🇪🇦||SpeedUp Racing||Boscoscuro||22 Laps|
|2||Pedro Acosta||🇪🇦||Red Bull KTM Ajo||Kalex||+3.481|
|3||Somkiat Chantra||🇹🇭||IDEMITSU Honda Asia||Kalex||+9.794|
|4||Tony Arbolino||🇮🇹||Elf Marc VDS Racing||Kalex||+12.923|
|5||Ai Ogura||🇯🇵||IDEMITSU Honda Asia||Kalex||+14.451|
|6||Marcos Ramirez||🇪🇦||American Racing||Kalex||+14.816|
|7||Albert Arenas||🇪🇦||Red Bull KTM Ajo||Kalex||+15.030|
|8||Alonso Lopez||🇪🇦||SpeedUp Racing||Boscoscuro||+18.360|
|9||Izan Guevara||🇪🇦||GasGas Aspar||Kalex||+19.798|
|10||Manuel Gonzalez||🇪🇦||Yamaha VR46 MasterCamp||Kalex||+20.564|
|11||Aron Canet||🇪🇦||Pons Wegow Los40||Kalex||+20.962|
|12||Dennis Foggia||🇮🇹||Italtrans Racing Team||Kalex||+24.198|
|13||Jeremy Alcoba||🇪🇦||QJMOTOR Gresini||Kalex||+25.593|
|14||Sam Lowes||🇬🇧||Elf Marc VDS Racing||Kalex||+26.526|
|15||Darryn Binder||🇿🇦||Husqvarna IntactGP||Kalex||+33.565|
|16||Bo Bendsneyder||🇳🇱||Pertamina SAG Team||Kalex||+33.716|
|17||Filip Salac||🇨🇿||QJMOTOR Gresini||Kalex||+33.734|
|18||Barry Baltus||🇧🇪||Fieten Olie Racing GP||Kalex||+35.157|
|19||Alex Escrig||🇮🇹||Forward Team||Forward||+37.586|
|20||Rory Skinner||🇬🇧||American Racing||Kalex||+42.531|
|21||Mattia Casadei||🇮🇹||Fantic Racing||Kalex||+55.552|
|22||Kohta Nozane||🇯🇵||Yamaha VR46 MasterCamp||Kalex||+1m 04.820|
|DNF||Lukas Tulovic||🇩🇪||Husqvarna IntactGP||Kalex|
|DNF||Zonta van den Goorbergh||🇳🇱||Fieten Olie Racing GP||Kalex|
|DNF||Sergio Garcia||🇪🇦||Pons Wegow Los40||Kalex|
|DNF||Celestino Vietti||🇮🇹||Fantic Racing||Kalex|
|DNF||Jake Dixon||🇬🇧||GasGas Aspar||Kalex|
|DNF||Joe Roberts||🇺🇸||Italtrans Racing Team||Kalex|
|DNF||Taiga Hada||🇯🇵||Pertamina SAG Team||Kalex|
|DNF||Alberto Surra||🇮🇹||Forward Team||Forward|