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MotoGP Mandalika: Chantra claims maiden Moto2 victory

Somkiat Chantra secured his first Moto2 victory at Mandalika after a dominant and historic performance from the Idemitsu Honda Team Asia rider.

Mooney VR46’s Celestino Vietti and FlexBox HP40’s Aron Canet competed the IndonesianGP podium, three seconds adrift of the winner, with Elf Marc VDS’ Sam Lowes in fourth after a heartbreaking afternoon for pole-man Jake Dixon.


The second race of the day was reduced to two-thirds distance as the Moto2 grid prepared ahead of the, now, 16-lap battle. Track conditions in the high temperatures the official reason given with spots of rain also threatening in the air.

Inde GasGas Aspar’s Dixon lined up at the head of the grid for his debut in charge, but it was Chantra who took charge, from fourth, as the action launched. Lowes shot for second in the opening sector with Dixon trailing his countryman in the opening lap. Simone Corsi, Celestino Vietti and Aron Canet squabbling behind.

Red Bull KTM’s Pedro Acosta battled with teammate Augusto Fernandez from the back of the top ten, the rookie aware of the approaching long-lap penalty following his Friday crash under yellow flags as he claimed seventh.

The leading trio began to break free of the fight behind as the race began to spread out. Dixon running three-tenths behind Lowes with a further seven-tenths breathing space from the fast-approaching Canet as Chantra disappeared out front.

The Second Marc VDS machine of Tony Arbolino and American Racing’s Cameron Beaubier joined the top ten fight with five laps dispatched. Acosta dropping to 16th as he served his punishment with Ai Ogura the first between him and the points on offer.

Disaster struck Dixon with 12 laps to go, the Brit having just got through on Lowes for second before he slid out at turn ten. Canet capitalising as he too got through on the Marc VDS machine in the podium battle. Lowes was losing positions fast as Vietti took third next time around, Arbolino advancing just as quickly as he joined his teammate in the top five.

Chantra’s advantage sat just shy of two seconds at the halfway stage, Vietti quickly on the wheels of Canet as the VR46 rider’s pace intensified. The move easily dispatched with eight and a half laps to go. Opposing fortunes for the second VR46 team as Master Camp rider Keminth Kubo crashed out.

Six laps to go and Chantra’s confidence increased, the Honda rider setting red sectors as the lap unfolded with Vietti 2.5s back in second. Canet maintaining his third position while a lonely Lowes circulated with two and five-second gaps on either side.

Augusto Fernandez captured fifth from Fermin Aldeguer with four to go, Ogura, Arbolino, Albert Arenas and Acosta rounding out the top ten from Beaubier, Jeremy Alcoba and Joe Roberts. The Italtrans rider challenging for 12th next time around as he moved into position behind his countryman. The third American, Sean Dylan Kelly, ending his second race in the World Championship early as he retired with technical issues from the back of the field.


The final lap began with a 3.2s lead for Chantra, as he dominantly claimed his debut intermediate class victory and the first in Grand Prix history for a Thai rider. Vietti and Canet maintained their hold on the podium with Lowes comfortably in fourth. The flag found Fernandez fifth from Ogura, Aldeguer and Arbolino with Acosta and Arenas completing the top ten. Roberts won out in the American battle as Beaubier settled for 12th, just 0.057s back with Jorge Navarro, Alcoba and Bo Bendsneyder completing the points finishers.

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