Tony Arbolino secures his first win in Moto2 as both Celestino Vietti and Aron Canet crash out of the lead. Ai Ogura takes second ahead of Jake Dixon who takes his maiden Moto2 podium.
Tony Arbolino laid down a cool, calm and collected performance to take his maiden win in Moto2, despite tricky weather conditions. He found himself in the lead of the race after two front runners, Celestino Vietti and Aron Canet, crash out in the early stages of the race, potentially caused by those windy conditions.
Ai Ogura came home in second, having made huge strides from his starting position of 11th. This is his second podium in as many races – the first time he has achieved this in Moto2. He was joined on the podium by British rider, Jake Dixon, who enjoyed his first podium in Grand Prix racing.
Pole sitter and home hero, Cameron Beaubier had a difficult day – he was shuffled back in the early stages of the race and, despite making up ground, crashed out in the dying moments of the race.
AS IT HAPPENED
As the lights went out, Beaubier had an initial good start but was quickly shuffled back to fourth. Vietti flew off to take first, just ahead of Canet in second and Arbolino in third. Dixon slipped down to seventh whilst Sam Lowes jumped up to eighth.
The early stages of the race were filled with drama as the riders got to grips with those challenging conditions. Six riders all ended up in the kitty litter at the end of the first lap. As the grid came to turn 12 on the first lap, Somkiat Chantra hit the rear wheel of Sam Lowes’ bike as he mistimed his breaking. This then created a domino effect as Zonta van der Goorbergh hit Gabriel Rodrigo and the pair collected Fermin Aldeguer. Augusto Fernandez was lucky to not fall along with this group, however he was shuffled down to 15th as a result of the drama.
Rookie Pedro Acosta then crashed out from fifth in a separate incidence on lap four – he hit the ground at turn three before sliding dangerously across the track. Whilst all riders walked away unscathed, Rodrigo and van der Goorbergh were taken to the medical centre for a precautionary check-up.
On lap three, Canet found a way around the outside of Vietti at turn six, before firmly shutting the door at turn seven. With Canet now in the lead, he was able to pull out a 0.4s gap in the space of one lap.
On lap five, Vietti then crashed out from second place as the bike fell from under him at turn six. This promoted Arbolino up to second and Dixon up to third. Ogura was in fourth with Marcel Schrotter in an impressive fifth, despite starting down in 13th.
At this point in the race, Dixon was lining up for a move on Arbolino. This battle gave Canet the opportunity to put 1.5s of free air between himself and the rest of the grid.
However, everything went south for Canet shortly after as the front tire folds underneath him at turn seven on lap eight. He was almost able to save it but sadly ended up in the kitty litter. This promotes Arbolino to first, Dixon to second and Ogura to third.
Despite an initial challenge from Dixon, Arbolino was able to pull out a comfortable lead which he held for the remainder of the race. As the checkered flag fell, he had a 4s lead over his nearest competitors.
On lap 12, Dixon lost out on second place to Ogura after going wide – it is suspected that he faced a false neutral as Ogura came at him from very far behind.
A few laps later, just behind Dixon, Schrotter goes wide which allowed Beaubier past and into fourth. However, he wouldn’t be able to hold on to this position as the checkered flag fell.
Further retirements came from Simone Corsi who crashed on lap two, Alessandro Zaccone who retired on lap three and Niccolo Antonelli who retired on lap 14.
Despite a tricky weekend, Vietti remains at the top of the championship standings with 70 points, with Canet in second and Chantra in third. Today’s podium finisher, Ogura, is fourth in the title fight with Lowes and Arbolino close behind.
However, if Canet had been able to hang on to the lead of the race, he would have left America as the championship leader. It will certainly be a weekend of “what if’s” for the Spanish rider.
Feature Image Credit: MotoGP
Posted on 10th April, 2022 for The PitCrew Online
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