P10 for Bendsneyder at Phillip Island

Alonso Lopez has dominated the Moto2™ race at the Animoca Brands Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix despite having to serve a Long Lap penalty. The Beta Tools Speed Up rider took the lead four corners into the 25-lap encounter at Phillip Island and, despite the detour he was forced to take at Turn 4 – now Miller Corner – on Lap 4, he remained in front thereafter to claim victory by an official margin of 3.556 seconds. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) finished second and Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) third, while Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) took over the Championship lead by a 3.5-point margin even though he got home only 11th. The Japanese rider looked like incurring a big blow to his title hopes as he struggled in midfield, but then Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crashed out of third position with less than 10 laps to go and the tables turned completely. When lights went out for the 25-lapper at a Sunny Phillip Island, Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) jumped from Row 2 to the initial lead but Lopez, who had qualified third, was down his inside at Miller Corner to quickly take over first position. Fermin Aldeguer made it a Beta Tools Speed Up one-two when he passed Arbolino at Doohan Corner (Turn 1) at the start of Lap 2, as Lopez pulled out a big early lead. It was 1.7 seconds at the end of Lap 2 and when the 20-year-old took his penalty on Lap 4, as punishment for causing a crash with Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) in FP1, he still emerged with a margin of more than one second. Meanwhile, Arbolino had reclaimed third place from Fernandez after a brief spell behind the future GASGAS MotoGP™ rider, and then got second spot back from Aldeguer on Lap 5. Aldeguer lost two more positions, one to each of the KTM Ajo riders on Lap 6, and continued to slide down the order as teammate Lopez built his advantage back to more than two seconds. Then Arbolino crashed out of second position at the Hayshed on Lap 7 and Fernandez inherited that spot, albeit by a margin of three seconds in arrears of Lopez. Aldeguer sat sixth by then, with Ogura running in 14th and set to give up a fistful of precious Championship points. His cause was helped with a bit of friendly fire from the KTM Ajo riders, Acosta passing Fernandez on the run to Doohan Corner on Lap 9 and therefore taking four points off the Championship leader in terms of the live standings. On Lap 16, the picture changed entirely when Fernandez tucked the front at Southern Loop (Turn 2) and was out of the race. Dixon had already passed Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) and therefore assumed a podium position, while Ogura inherited 12th on the track and first position in the live Championship. Meanwhile, Lopez had been circulating at around four seconds up on Acosta, and could cruise to a second Moto2™ victory of his career. Dixon finished another six seconds back in third position, while Aldeguer got himself back up to a distant fourth at the chequered flag, ahead of Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team), Jeremy Alcoba (Liqui Moly Intact GP), Beaubier, Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40), and Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team). Also in the points, from 11th onwards, were Ogura, Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team), Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP), Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team), and Taiga Hada (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team). It proved to be a race of attrition, with only 18 finishers. Notable crashers aside from Fernandez and Arbolino were Filip Salac (Gresini Racing Moto2™) out of fourth position at Doohan Corner on Lap 11 and Vietti while running in the top 10 at Siberia (Turn 6) on Lap 13. Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40) and Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) are off for checks after a collision when the former went down exiting Miller Corner early in the race – he is thankfully conscious – while an apparent technical problem for Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team), late in the race, was what gave Ogura 11th position.

# 64 Bo Bendsneyder – P10 –

“I’m very happy for the top ten we achieved today. I had a good start and was able to gain several positions, but the wind direction changed a lot compared to the other days, making it a slower race. At the beginning of the race I struggled a bit, but at the halfway point of the race I managed to find my rhythm and I was able to catch the riders who were fighting for tenth position. I am very happy for what I have achieved and I especially want to dedicate this result to Victor”

Race results:

Source: motogp.com, stopandgo.es

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