DRAMATIC DEBUT WIN FOR FERNANDEZ IN AWESOME ASSEN CONTEST

ASSEN. FlexBox HP40’s Augusto Fernandez claimed a maiden Grand Prix win in the most dramatic of circumstances at the Motul TT Assen after teammate Lorenzo Baldassarri took out Championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) with two laps remaining in the fight for the lead. The Spaniard managed to escape the chaos and take the chequered flag in what was one of the best Moto2™ races of the season.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder took the holeshot and fought off interest from behind, meaning KTM had finally led a lap in Moto2™ for the first time in 2019. Poleman Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) didn’t get the greatest start but set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 2 to move into second. Then, the Australian would have a huge moment on the exit of Turn 5 and as a result would slip down the order to fifth. Meanwhile, Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini) and Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) were moving into contention behind Binder. On lap seven, Lowes would dive through on Binder for the lead, but a slight mistake allowed Binder and Vierge to dive for a gap with the trio making contact. That allowed Fernandez to burst into the fight at the front by claiming third.
The race was beginning to resemble a Moto3™ scrap with no fewer than nine riders forming a lead group, with moves being made at every possible opportunity. Ten laps ticked by and the poleman Gardner made a big mistake at Turn 4 to slip down to twelfth before his race would come to a sudden end, on the same lap at the Geert Timmer Chicane, when the front end folded on him. Just two laps later, another contender went down after Lowes got tangled up with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jorge Martin, cutting short the Brit’s charge. After a disappointing weekend, title protagonist Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) then also crashed out on the same lap. Then, Martin would crash out as well, in what was turning into a race of attrition.
Nine frantic laps were left and Binder would start to break clear, taking full advantage of some bumping and barging out of the final chicane. The South African was over a second clear but Championship leader Marquez wasn’t going to let him escape. In just two laps Marquez closed him in and was looking favourite to make it a fantastic fourth win on the bounce. However, the EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider brought the FlexBox HP40 pair of Baldassarri and Fernandez along with him, meaning we were treated to an eight-wheel scrap for the win as we moved into the closing stages. Behind, Vierge would go down on the exit of Turn 5 and took Italtrans Racing Team’s Enea Bastianini with him in a scary incident.
Then, with two laps remaining, the race-defining moment would unfold. With Binder already having been usurped as the race leader by Marquez, fellow Championship contender Baldassarri tried to squeeze past into Turn 4 but the front end folded, and the pair would go down. A livid Marquez would berate the Italian in the gravel trap, meanwhile, Fernandez fortuitously accepted the lead. The 21-year-old would take the chequered flag and a debut victory. He was joined on the podium by the battling Binder, for the first time this season, and SKY Racing Team VR46’s Luca Marini.
Dynavolt Intact GP’s Thomas Lüthi came across the line in fourth and, following the nil points for Marquez, Baldassarri and Navarro, the Swiss rider will head to the Sachsenring as the new Moto2™ World Championship leader; now six points clear of Marquez.
ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team’s Tetsuta Nagashima claimed a career-best finish in fifth, ahead of Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) and Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward), who moved through from dead last on the grid to take MV Agusta’s best result on their return to Grand Prix racing. Rounding out the top ten were Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP), Dominique Aegerter (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward) and Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3).
Augusto Fernandez: P1
“Today has been incredible. Going from so far back is always more complicated but it’s a more interesting race.  In the morning in the warm up we already knew that we had rhythm to be ahead. The key has been the first laps and try to overcome the maximum positions. Once I reached the front group I saw that I could not break the group so I knew it would be a fun endgame. Finally I got the victory and it’s amazing, I’m very happy. A year ago we worked together with the team and being in front is already the result of the good work we are doing and we must continue. Thanks to the team again and the sponsors. “
Xavi Vierge: N.C.
“It’s a pity! But we have to take the positive things. We did a great job all weekend. I did a great race and was fighting for the victory until the last five laps when I crashed. Baldassarri overtook me and I was preparing a move on him when Fernandez pushed me out. I lost the front wheel and I couldn’t save the crash. It was a shame. But anyway I’m really, really happy. We made a big step. I enjoyed the race a lot until the incident but it’s like that. We need to take the positives and stay in the same rhythm for the next races. I want to say thanks to my team because they believe in me and they did an amazing job.”
Simone Corsi: N.C.
“It was a difficult weekend, even though I started from a backward position but I wanted to try to reach the points zone in the race. Unfortunately on the second lap, after passing Bendsneyder, I felt a blow from behind and found myself on the ground. I am determined to do better at the Sachsenring circuit historically favorable for me!”

ARBOLINO DOUBLES UP TO BEAT DALLA PORTA IN A LAST-LAP SCRAP

ASSEN. VNE Snipers’ Tony Arbolino claimed his second victory of the season in a last-lap battle against compatriot Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) at the Motul TT Assen, with third place going the way of Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP) despite receiving a long lap penalty with just two laps to go.
Polesitter Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) grabbed the holeshot as the lights went out, with Arbolino launching well from P3 on the grid to hold his position off the line before getting himself up to second. His teammate Romano Fenati was a big mover in the opening exchanges, the Italian getting himself up to 4th from P13 as both VNE Snipers riders were at the forefront.
However, they weren’t the only ones there. In fact, the top 25 were all line astern and covered by just three seconds as the lightweight class treated us to another unbelievable battle. The lead and positions inside the top five were changing all the time but Arbolino was a constant threat at the front, with Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) and the SIC58 Squadra Corse machines of Antonelli and Tatsuki Suzuki up there too. Dalla Porta then started to make strides after a quiet opening exchange, the Italian now swarming inside the top five.
The race was impossible to call and with the likes of Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) coming through from P25, it really was anyone’s to claim and with 12 to go, the top 25 looked like they were chained together.
Drama then started to unfold. Championship hopeful Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) had a mechanical issue with seven to go and then on the following lap, four riders went down at Turn 5. Suzuki, Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team), Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Toba – while going for the same piece of track – all crashed out of contention. This left the top seven with a gap to the rest and soon enough, Kornfeil had control of the race.
The Czech rider had a lead of 0.4 over Dalla Porta and to duo stretched away from the pack after a bit of dicing. However, Kornfeil was then given a long lap penalty after exceeding track limits at the Geert Timmer chicane – drama with two laps to go. Kornfeil took the long lap route but still emerged third due to his advantage, but this left Dalla Porta and Arbolino as the candidates for the win in Assen. Dalla Porta held a half second advantage but Arbolino was able to reel his compatriot in and on the last lap, there was nothing between them.
Dalla Porta held P1 but heading into the fourth and final sector of the race, Arbolino got himself tucked into the slipstream and dived underneath his fellow Honda rider at Turn 16. A hard, brave and race winning move. Arbolino held on into the Geert Timmer chicane to take his second win of the season, Dalla Porta had to settle for his fourth P2 of the year. Kornfeil did brilliantly to hold on to third, the experienced Czech stands on the podium for the first time since the 2018 Czech GP, with Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) recovering from a mid-race tangle to grab P4. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) produced a sterling ride to claim P5 after starting 20th, the Brit beats Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) and Catalan GP winner Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) in P6 and P7 respectively. Behind the latter trio in the fight for the podium was poleman Antonelli, he claimed P8 after taking the long lap penalty route half-way through the race. Fellow Italian Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) completed the top ten. Fenati ended P11 after looking strong throughout, with Championship leader Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) having a quiet race to come home 12th.
Binder crashed out of the leading group at Turn 5 with just a few laps to go – rider ok. Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power) crashed out of the battle for the points in the early stages.
Tony Arbolino: P1
“I am very happy, another victory after a hard race. I always fought to stay ahead, without losing the contact with the firsts. In the final part, after a contact with another rider, I lost contact and I thought it was finished. I gave everything, by risking a lot, to catch Dalla Porta once again. In the last lap, I knew perfectly where to overtake him, as I tried that before, and I did it. I thank my team for the excellent job done”.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta: P2
“I believe the victory is close. It’s been a difficult race but I have to be happy because we’ve done a very good one, we’ve gotten another podium and we have to keep working like this. At the beginning of the race my bike did a wheelie, I lost many positions and at that point I thought I was going to have a difficult day. But then I felt better, I was able to recover some spots while fighting with my rivals and I knew I could be in front. When I did it, I tried to push but in this track wind is very important and so is slipstream. Arbolino has beaten me practically on the line and I couldn’t win this time, but I believe victory will arrive soon and I’m pleased with the work we’ve done. The important thing is we’ve reduced the distance with Canet on the standings and we’ll try again in Sachsenring, in a few days. Many thanks to the team, they’ve done an incredible job”.
Jaume Masia: N.C.
“It is always a pity to finish a race with 0 points even more if it is for technical problems and when you are on the top group but there is nothing we can do except for thinking in Germany and ending the first half of the season with good feelings!”

THE SPANISH RIDER IS NOW UNDERGOING FURTHER CHECKS TO ASSESS THE CONDITION OF HIS LEFT KNEE

CATALUNYA. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) has extended his Championship lead to 37 points after cruising to victory number four of the season in a controversial Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya that saw his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, main Championship rival Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP duo Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi all crash out on Lap 2 at Turn 10.
Coming into the tricky Turn 10, Lorenzo was late on the brakes as he attempted to pass Viñales up the inside as teammate Marquez went to dive past race leader Dovi. However, in too hot, Lorenzo then tucked the front as Dovi turned into the corner. The number 99 Repsol Honda collected the number 04 bike and the former teammates went down, with Viñales also crashing after being left with nowhere to go. Rossi, who was also late on the brakes as he tried to pass Mission Winnow Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci for P5 just behind, went wide and became another victim of Lorenzo’s crash – The Doctor almost kept it upright, but he and his Yamaha became too tangled with Lorenzo’s RC213V as the nine-time World Champion crashed out.
Quartararo made amends for Jerez’s disappointment claiming P2 while Petrucci took home his third successive podium of the season with Rins recovering to snatch fourth from Miller. Rookie Mir secured his best result of the season in P6 to finish just over two seconds from the podium, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) pocketing another top ten in seventh. After a disappointing qualifying, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was able to collect his sixth top ten in seven 2019 races. Reale Avintia Racing’s Tito Rabat recorded his best result since last season’s Americas GP in P9, the Spaniard held off Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Johann Zarco – the Frenchman completing the top ten.
Aleix Espargaró: N.C.
In a race conditioned by numerous crashes, a contact in a braking section took both Aleix Espargaró and Bradley Smith out of the action in the early stages. The Spanish rider, who returned to pit lane in pain, is now undergoing further checks to assess the condition of his left knee.