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MotoGP Catalunya: Marini holds off Lowes for Moto2 victory

Luca Marini continued his winning ways with another hard-fought victory over Sam Lowes in the Moto2 Catalan GP this afternoon, boosting his championship lead to 20 points over  sixth-place race-finisher Enea Bastianini, as Fabio Di Giannantonio joined Marini and Lowes for podium celebrations.

VR46 rider Marini launched from pole for the second time in two weeks as the 22-lap contest got underway at Montmeló this afternoon, holding fast at the front as the battle behind him heated up. Di Giannantonio and Jorge Navarro mastered an early gap to hold the remaining podium positions as Marco Bezzecchi, Sam Lowes, Enea Bastianini and Joe Roberts fought for fourth while Jake Dixon dropped to eighth just ahead of teammate Xavi Vierge.

Lap three saw Lowes win out in the five-rider battle, pushing through to the head of the group as he looked to drag them closer to the leading trio, while a turn 10 crash for Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Nicolò Bulega and Stefano Manzi cut the three Italians’ race short.


Six laps in and Lowes continued to make progress, stealing third from Navarro with a stellar lap as Jake Dixon made his way into the top-six. Delight for the younger Brit was short-lived, however, as a technical issue forced the frustrated Petronas rider to retire at turn nine.

With the pace heating up further at the front, Lowes and Di Giannantonio fought hard, breaking a second clear of the group behind but with the same again to leader Marini as the podium tussle developed, the Marc VDS rider winning out for second as he hunted down the lead.  

Lap eight saw disaster strike again for Petronas SRT as a fast crash saw Vierge down and out also at turn nine.

Mid-race brought a determined Lowes just two-tenths from the wheel of Marini as further back, Roberts moved on Navarro to head the battle for fourth with Bastianini finding his rhythm as he fought Augusto Fernandez for sixth.

Disappointment for the returning Jorge Martin saw the KTM Ajo retire with eighth laps to go as Somkiat Chantra took an excursion through the gravel, the luckless Thai crashing again in the closing laps to end his day early.

Seven to go and Lowes hit the front after a turn one pass, hoping to instantly break away from the confident Italian, finding three tenths by the third sector but precariously edging track limits. A long-lap penalty for Remy Gardner issued in the same revolution highlighting the danger of pushing the boundaries.

Similarly increasing his pace Navarro also broke clear, this time of Roberts, with his teammate now in his sights, the 1.5 second gap to Di Giannantonio reducing to 0.7 in just three laps with the final podium spot up for grabs.

The battle for the lead ignited again as Marini reeled in Lowes, returning to the front as the duo crossed the line for the start of the penultimate revolution. The Brit continued to push but the SKY rider had it all in hand, Marini claiming the victory by just under a second after a turn-six mistake left too much work to do for the number 22, his 14th podium, however, making him the most successful British rostrum-sitter in the class.

With the flag dropped it was Di Giannantonio who won out in the Speed UP battle for third over Navarro with Roberts heading Bastianini and Bezzecchi for fifth - a fitting celebration for the American’s 50th Grand Prix start. Aron Canet claimed eighth ahead of Marcos Ramirez and Marcel Schrotter as Thomas Luthi, Tetsuta Nagashima, Hector Garzo, Edgar Pons and Simone Corsi rounded out the points.


A late crash for Fernadez on the final lap, from sixth, concluded a dramatic day for the Spaniard, the Marc VDS machine having caught fire due to a technical issue in the morning warm-up.

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