Fabio Quartararo took his 2nd win in his Moto2 career after holding off Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia in a race-long game of chess.
Frenchman Fabio Quartararo took the early lead stretching out an advantage of 0.5s over Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia with Baldassarri and Vierge both fighting for 3rd in the opening few laps.
It was a tough start for the KTM’s with Lecuona starting from the front row but got beat up on the opening 2 laps which dropped the Spaniard outside the top 6. The Factory KTM’s took a while to get up to speed setting low 52’s whilst the leading riders put in constant mid to high 51’s.
After his heavy fall in a damp Friday’s opening practice, Alex Marquez started putting the pressure on Iker Lecuona, trying to squeeze his Marc VDS Kalex up the inside at turn 1 but had his nose cut off at turn 1.
Jorge Navarro dropped out of the race with 9 laps remaining, his 2nd DNF in Japan in 2 years.
Meanwhile, the KTM’s started closing down 4th place man and EG 0,0 MVDS bound Xavi Vierge passing the Dynavolt Kalex with 8 laps to go putting the Portuguese rider at the front of the 6 bike train whilst his teammate dropped behind Lecuona and Marquez.
After getting up into the top 6, Iker Lecuona ran off the circuit at 90° corner dropping him to 9th.
After picking himself up to 6th, Alex Marquez passed Charge and launched an attack on the leading KTM rider with 7 laps remaining.
Back at the front 2019 MotoGP riders Fabio Quartararo and Pecco Bagnaia were separated by 0.4s as Bagnaia started to pull the pin, reeling in the Speed UP rider by a few hundredths a lap. Bagnaia’s first look at Quartararo was at the S curve carrying the speed through the left before taking a look into the right but thought better of it.
Whilst the battles for the lead and 4th was raging, Baldassarri was in a lonely 3rd position with Oliveira hanging on to 4th with 2 laps remaining.
Quartararo had the advantage up to halfway around the final lap with Bagnaia shadowing the leader taking a look into turn 11 but it wasn’t to be for the Italian leaving Quartararo to take yet another win with Baldassarri completing the podium in his 100th GP start.
Miguel Oliveira held on to 4th with Alex Marquez and Brad Binder completing the top 6.
Bagnaia now leads the Moto2 standings by 35 points as the Moto2 paddock heads to Australia in 5 days time.
Featured Image Credit: MotoGP.com