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MotoGP Austin: Delight as Arbolino wins, Dixon bags podium

Elf Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino survived a COTA crashfest to claim his maiden Moto2 victory in Austin on Sunday.

The debut delight continued as Shimoko Aspar’s Jake Dixon completed the celebrations for his first podium in the world championship, settling for a well earned third behind Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura.

Cameron Beaubier lined up for his debut pole position ahead of his home Grand Prix as the first American to head the grid since Ben Spies and the first in the intermediate class on US soil since John Kocinski at Laguna Seca in 1989. His American Racing machine adorned with a dramatic stars and stripes livery to celebrate the occasion.


Mooney VR46’s Celestino Vietti and Flexbox HP40’s Aron Canet joined him on the front row with the Italian looking to increase his championship lead and the Spaniard still hunting his elusive maiden win. Arbolino headed row two alongside the GasGas team of Albert Arenas and Dixon with second Elf Marc VDS rider Sam Lowes one row back in ninth as Moto2 kicked off Sunday’s stateside action.

Under cooler, cloudy and windier conditions than the pack expected, the lights released the 18-lap contest. Vietti launching to the lead as Beaubier dropped to fourth in the first corner chaos. KTM’s Pedro Acosta up to fifth as Lowes crashed out amid a five rider incident. Somkiat Chantra taking out the Marc VDS rider with Gabriel Rodrigo, Fermin Aldeguer and Zonta van den Goorbergh all out of the race on the opening lap.

Beaubier was back in podium contention as the race unfolded, Arbolino challenging for third as Canet deposed Vietti out front. Dixon running fifth behind the home hero with Acosta and Ogura for company before the American dropped back to seventh.

Simone Corsi crashed out on lap four at turn 14 with Acosta doing likewise at turn three next time around as his KTM slid back across the track in front of the oncoming traffic. Beaubier wrestling with his AR Kalex in the differing conditions before Vietti became the latest victim as he crashed out of the leading fight at turn six.

Dixon was promoted to the final podium position as he looked to battle Arbolino for more. Ogura and Schrotter heading Beaubier in the top six with Jorge Navarro, Augusto Fernandez, Barry Baltus and Bo Bendsneyder completing the top ten with 13 laps to go. Californian Joe Roberts just adrift in 11th on the Italtrans machine.

It wasn’t for long, however, as the American struck as the next lap began, taking two in one as he jumped to ninth with Fernandez the next in his sights.

Canet’s maiden victory faded in the dust with 11 laps to go as the Spaniard crashed out of a dominant near-two-second lead at turn seven. Arbolino promoted into command with Dixon and Ogura neatly behind.

Eight to go and Arbolino held a 1.3 second lead from Dixon. The Brit holding a similar advantage to the Honda rider behind as Marcel Schrotter defended from an advancing Beaubier for fourth. Navarro recovering to fifth after his long lap penalty for Saturday’s FP3 crash under yellow flags.

A mistake for Dixon saw the Aspar rider drop to third as Ogura capitalised. The Honda saving a moment for himself moments later as the Idemitsu bike launched him out of the seat. Niccolò Antonelli retiring the second VR46 machine after a difficult weekend plagued with illness for the Italian rookie.


Dixon looked to fade as he settled for third with five to go. Beaubier sliding through to fourth on Schrotter as the lap concluded and immediately upping the pace in the free air ahead. Roberts battling with Jeremy Alcoba for eighth further back.

Three laps to go and Arbolino held a four-second advantage as he drew closer to his debut Moto2 win. Alcoba challenging Bendsneyder for seventh as the Dutchman held fast with Roberts half a second back.

The penultimate lap saw Dixon begin to reel in Ogura for second before he settled back in the final revolution ready for his maiden podium in Moto2. ‘Tiger Tony’ crossing the line to seal the victory from the pursuing two as heartbreak for the local fans saw Beaubier down at turn 16, just four corners before claiming his best result since his arrival from MotoAmerica.

Schrotter collected the fourth position ahead of Navarro, Alcoba and Bendsneyder with Roberts meeting his home flag in eighth. Fernandez, Baltus, Arenas, Marco Ramirez, Manuel Gonzales, Filip Salac and Romano Fenati completed the points positons at the Circuit of the Americas with just Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Sean Dylan Kelly the remaining finishers of the 29-strong grid.

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