Pedro Acosta took another big step towards the 2023 Moto2 World Championship title with a dominant fifth victory of the season at Misano.
The Spaniard ended a victory drought stretching back to before the summer break in Germany with a formidable lights-to-flag success that showcased his scorching pace in scorching temperatures.
Acosta never looked troubled after securing the hole-shot from pole sitter Celestino Vietti into Turn 1, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider never looking back as Vietti and initially Aron Canet tried to keep pace with him.
Indeed, with Acosta setting a searing pace out front from the very start, only Vietti and Canet could live with the pace with a gap to fourth quickly opening up in the early laps.
The three-way fight whittled down to two on lap eight, however, when Canet lost the front of his Pons Kalex into Turn 14 for what is now his third DNF and 17th accident during the course of the 2023 Moto2 season.
With Canet off his tail, Vietti got to work trying to reel Acosta in ahead, an objective he achieved with a couple of quick mid-race laps that brought him up to within striking range of the Ajo bike.
However, a slip of the front-end at the half-way stage would see Vietti lose the ground he’d made, before a second similar well-held slide a few laps later served as a warning for him to play more cautiously.
As a result, Vietti would noticeably ease up in the final stages, releasing Acosta to complete a clear victory, more than six seconds clear of the Fantic Racing rider who nonetheless picked up his second podium in three races behind.
With Canet out, Alonso Lopez was promoted into third place for a fourth podium finish of the season, ahead of Tony Arbolino, who looked racy early on as he picked his way through the pack on another tricky weekend for the title contender.
Together with a struggling Jake Dixon proving well off the pace in 12th at the flag, Acosta has pulled another big chunk of points over his two main rivals in the overall standings. Having started the weekend with a 22 point lead, the Spaniard departs Misano with a 34-point buffer over Arbolino.
IDEMITSU Honda Asia riders Ai Ogura and Somkiat Chantra worked together to climb through the order having run outside the top ten in the early stages, the pair getting the better of Manuel Gonzalez in seventh, while Joe Roberts - in his final race on Italian soil for Italtrans - completed the top eight.
Filip Salac - riding a QJMotor Gresini bike decked out in Fausto Gresini tribute colours - started well to run inside the top five before fading to ninth, ahead of wild-card Mattia Pasini on the RW Racing GP bike.
Completing the points’ paying positions, Sergio Garcia brought it home for 11th, from Dixon - some 23secs shy of the top spot - in 12th, Bo Bendsneyder in 13th, Marcos Ramirez in 14th and Barry Baltus in 15th.
A tough day all round for the British contingent, Sam Lowes looked on course for a top six finish before sliding off at Turn 1 in the closing stages, while Rory Skinner also failed to make the flag while running outside the top twenty.
|2023 San Marino Moto2 | Misano World Circuit, Italy | Race Results | Round 12 of 20|
|1||Pedro Acosta||🇪🇦||Red Bull KTM Ajo||Kalex||22 Laps|
|2||Celestino Vietti||🇮🇹||Fantic Racing||Kalex||+6.305|
|3||Alonso Lopez||🇪🇦||SpeedUp Racing||Boscoscuro||+9.989|
|4||Tony Arbolino||🇮🇹||Elf Marc VDS Racing||Kalex||+11.344|
|5||Ai Ogura||🇯🇵||IDEMITSU Honda Asia||Kalex||+12.442|
|6||Somkiat Chantra||🇹🇭||IDEMITSU Honda Asia||Kalex||+13.160|
|7||Manuel Gonzalez||🇪🇦||Yamaha VR46 MasterCamp||Kalex||+13.907|
|8||Joe Roberts||🇺🇸||Italtrans Racing Team||Kalex||+20.350|
|9||Filip Salac||🇨🇿||QJMOTOR Gresini||Kalex||+20.523|
|10||Mattia Pasini||🇮🇹||Fieten Olie Racing GP||Kalex||+21.759|
|11||Sergio Garcia||🇪🇦||Pons Wegow Los40||Kalex||+21.989|
|12||Jake Dixon||🇬🇧||GasGas Aspar||Kalex||+22.900|
|13||Bo Bendsneyder||🇳🇱||Pertamina SAG Team||Kalex||+23.747|
|14||Marcos Ramirez||🇪🇦||American Racing||Kalex||+30.287|
|15||Barry Baltus||🇧🇪||Fieten Olie Racing GP||Kalex||+32.547|
|16||Jeremy Alcoba||🇪🇦||QJMOTOR Gresini||Kalex||+38.673|
|17||Alberto Surra||🇮🇹||Forward Team||Forward||+46.029|
|18||Borja Gomez||🇪🇦||Fantic Racing||Kalex||+51.346|
|19||Taiga Hada||🇯🇵||Pertamina SAG Team||Kalex||+52.716|
|20||Sean Dylan Kelly||🇺🇸||Forward Team||Forward||+55.708|
|21||Kohta Nozane||🇯🇵||Yamaha VR46 MasterCamp||Kalex||+55.330|
|DNF||Izan Guevara||🇪🇦||GasGas Aspar||Kalex|
|DNF||Lukas Tulovic||🇩🇪||Husqvarna IntactGP||Kalex|
|DNF||Sam Lowes||🇬🇧||Elf Marc VDS Racing||Kalex|
|DNF||Fermin Aldeguer||🇪🇦||SpeedUp Racing||Boscoscuro|
|DNF||Rory Skinner||🇬🇧||American Racing||Kalex|
|DNF||Aron Canet||🇪🇦||Pons Wegow Los40||Kalex|
|DNF||Dennis Foggia||🇮🇹||Italtrans Racing Team||Kalex|
|DNF||Zonta van den Goorbergh||🇳🇱||Fieten Olie Racing GP||Kalex|
|DNF||Senna Agius||🇦🇺||Husqvarna IntactGP||Kalex|
|W||Albert Arenas||🇪🇦||Red Bull KTM Ajo||Kalex|