Spoiler Alert: 2012 Moto2 Championship results from Motegi listed below
Catalunya Caixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez staged a stunning comeback Sunday to win in an eventful and thrilling Moto2 race at the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan in Motegi.
The Spaniard, who will join the Repsol Honda MotoGP team in 2013, finished ahead of Pol Espargaró and Esteve Rabat.
The start proved eventful, as Márquez’s bike wasn’t in gear, causing him to head into the first corner almost last, as much of the grid passed him while he put it in gear. Yet as Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding led the early stages ahead of Tuenti Movil HP 40’s Pol Espargaró, Márquez impressively fought his way up to seventh within two laps.
In frantic opening laps, the lead soon went to Espargaró’s teammate Esteve Rabat, whilst Italtrans Racing Team’s Toni Elías made his way into third.
With 19 laps to go Márquez had fought his way into fifth, while it was disappointing news for Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith, who had to retire with a mechanical issue after looking strong all weekend.
Two laps on it was almost over for Espargaró as he nearly lost control of his bike at full lean, yet put in an incredible save. Márquez also did well to avoid him as he nipped into second. It was then up to Rabat to hold off the change from the championship leader, who was all over his rear wheel with 14 laps left.
A lap later Márquez made use of the slipstream to go into the lead, whilst Espargaró had closed up in third. In the meantime, SAG Team’s wildcard Kohta Nozane was black-flagged after returning to the track after having previously retired.
Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio ran wide with 11 laps to go, dropping him back down the order, while Espargaró went past Rabat to chase down Márquez. A few laps later, Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Nico Terol copied Kallio and also ran wide at turn one on to the gravel. As the pack settled down, Espargaró caught up to Márquez with six laps to go as the pair rode a lonely race at the front. Three laps on and it was over for Elías as he crashed out of fifth place.
Espargaró tried to make his move half way through the penultimate lap, but nearly went into the back of Márquez. Rabat was holding strong in third, whilst Redding was trying to hold of Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi. Espargaró kept pushing, though it was to no avail, as Márquez crossed the finish line first, with Rabat recording his first podium this season.
This now puts Márquez 53 points clear at the top of the championship standings making him the clear favourite for the title. Redding held on for fourth, ahead of Lüthi, Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi, Elías teammate Takaaki Nakagami, JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco, Espargaró’s teammate Axel Pons and Technomag-CIP’s Dominique Aegerter.
2012 Motegi Moto2 Results:
|1.||25||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol||Suter||154.3||42’56.171|
|2.||20||40||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Tuenti Movil HP 40||Kalex||154.3||+0.415|
|3.||16||80||Esteve RABAT||SPA||Tuenti Movil HP 40||Kalex||153.7||+9.584|
|4.||13||45||Scott REDDING||GBR||Marc VDS Racing Team||Kalex||153.6||+11.069|
|6.||10||3||Simone CORSI||ITA||Came IodaRacing Project||FTR||153.2||+18.383|
|7.||9||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||Italtrans Racing Team||Kalex||153.2||+18.672|
|8.||8||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||JIR Moto2||Motobi||152.6||+28.226|
|9.||7||49||Axel PONS||SPA||Tuenti Movil HP 40||Kalex||152.6||+28.451|
|11.||5||60||Julian SIMON||SPA||Blusens Avintia||Suter||152.6||+28.971|
|12.||4||95||Anthony WEST||AUS||QMMF Racing Team||Speed Up||152.6||+29.609|
|13.||3||81||Jordi TORRES||SPA||Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2||Suter||152.5||+29.815|
|14.||2||19||Xavier SIMEON||BEL||Tech 3 Racing||Tech 3||152.0||+39.783|
|15.||1||63||Mike DI MEGLIO||FRA||Kiefer Racing||Kalex||152.0||+39.868|
|16.||72||Yuki TAKAHASHI||JPN||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||FTR||152.0||+39.970|
|17.||36||Mika KALLIO||FIN||Marc VDS Racing Team||Kalex||151.9||+40.763|
|18.||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Speed Master||Speed Up||151.9||+40.900|
|19.||18||Nicolas TEROL||SPA||Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2||Suter||151.7||+44.379|
|20.||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||RSM||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||FTR||151.6||+46.507|
|21.||14||Ratthapark WILAIROT||THA||Thai Honda PTT Gresini Moto2||Suter||151.0||+55.561|
|22.||88||Ricard CARDUS||SPA||Arguiñano Racing Team||AJR||151.0||+55.815|
|24.||23||Marcel SCHROTTER||GER||Desguaces La Torre SAG||Bimota||151.0||+56.492|
|25.||8||Gino REA||GBR||Federal Oil Gresini Moto2||Suter||150.9||+58.417|
|26.||22||Alessandro ANDREOZZI||ITA||S/Master Speed Up||Speed Up||150.1||+1’12.398|
|27.||82||Elena ROSELL||SPA||QMMF Racing Team||Speed Up||148.6||+1’39.841|
|28.||57||Eric GRANADO||BRA||JIR Moto2||Motobi||148.5||+1’40.787|
|29.||20||Jesko RAFFIN||SWI||GP Team Switzerland||Kalex||147.4||1 Lap|
|24||Toni ELIAS||SPA||Italtrans Racing Team||Kalex||153.5||4 Laps|
|38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Tech 3 Racing||Tech 3||149.6||20 Laps|
|31||Kohta NOZANE||JPN||SAG Team||FTR||0 Lap|