Espargaro closes in on championship lead with impressive win, Rabat back on the podium in Misano
The duel for the Honda-powered Moto2 World Championship swung back in the favour of Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex) today, the Spaniard scoring a brilliant, hard-charging win while main rival Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) struggled to sixth. Two weeks ago at Silverstone it was the other way around, with Redding taking the win and Espargaro coming home in eighth spot.
Although Espargaro started from pole position and led the first few laps it was Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) who dominated most of the race. At the halfway stage the Japanese was two seconds ahead of Espargaro and looked set for his first Grand Prix win. But once again his pace faltered in the last laps while Espargaro got into the groove, thanks to his crew successfully adapting his bike to a new rear slick, recently introduced by Dunlop. Espargaro carved big chunks out of the leader’s advantage to take the lead at the start of the penultimate lap. Nakagami had no reply, crossing the line 0.6 seconds down on the winner and 1.2 seconds ahead of Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex).
Pol Espargaro, Tuenti HP40 Pons: “It was tough, because Taka made an incredible start to the race. For the first five laps I was slow – maybe the tyres or the full fuel tank – while Taka was pushing so hard and took a two second gap. So I had to recover and close the gap. After ten or 12 laps I felt more comfortable with less fuel and the rear tyre a bit used. It wasn’t easy, but it was enough to win.”
Esteve Rabat, Tuenti HP 40 Pons: 3rd “I made a good start and at the beginning I could easily stay with Pol. Then after five or six laps he started to push and it was difficult to follow his rhythm. I don’t know why he was able to go away from me but later on I recovered my confidence in the bike and started pushing again. I did my best.”
Source: Honda Racing