Jorge Martin took advantage of a chaotic last lap to snatch up a late victory in the Moto2 Valencia Grand Prix, with the championship title still up for grabs thanks to the results behind him.
After a handful of laps with Martin ahead after a strong start it was Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) who lead the way for most of the race, with continued pressure coming from from MB Conveyors Speed Up rider Fabio Di Giannantonio as their pair broke away at the front.
The number 21 made a move with six laps remaining but ran wide, then sat in behind his compatriot. A clean move saw ‘Diggia’ ahead just before the start of the final lap, but he ran wide and slipped out of the race.
Instead of finding himself leading comfortably, their tussle at the front had brought the chasing duo of Martin and rookie Hector Garzo into play.
With nothing to lose and a race win to gain Martin went for a risky last lap lunge at an unusual part of the track for passing and it paid off – his move caught Bezzecchi off guard, so much so that Garzo was also able to slip under for second, just 0.072s behind.
That move handed Martin, who was second at Ricardo Tormo last weekend, his second win of the season with Red Bull KTM Ajo.
Garzo’s second is his first podium finish with Flexbox HP 40 and takes him to second in the rookie standings, with neither Canet, who leads the way or Marcos Ramirez finishing the race.
Bezzecchi had enough of a gap to hold on to third and complete the all Kalex podium. His points leave him fourth in the title hunt, 23 adrift of Bastianini after the race, with the title to be decided next weekend in Portugal.
Marcel Schrotter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) spent most of his time in fourth after inheriting the position when pole man Stefano Manzi crashed out.
Sky Racing’s Luca Marini kept his championship hopes alive in fifth after vying for position with Enea Bastianini, who then seemed happy to sit mid pack and maintain his title lead on his way to sixth for Italtrans.
Remy Gardner (Onexox TKKR SAG Racing) has been battling a stomach bug all weekend. Impressively he managed to move into to the chasing group and ran as high as third on his way to a seventh place finish.
Bo Bendsneyder continued his improved run, after finishing in the points for the first time since Qatar last race, the NTS RW Racing rider rode confidently to a best Moto2 finish of eighth.
Nicolo Bulega picked off his rivals in the race to climb to ninth for Federal Oil Gresini after qualifying down in 14th.
Lorenzo Baldassarri came close to catching his fellow countryman in tenth on the second Flexbox HP 40 entry.
Joe Roberts also made up places after sitting in 16th on the grid, climbing to eleventh by the chequered flag.
Sam Lowes moved into the points places while nursing his injured right hand through the race. Riding through the pain, the injury, picked up in practice where he was also hit on the chin by his bike, kept him quiet for the first few laps.
With Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in his sights, the Japanese rider responded and picked up the pace. Despite dropping his personal best on virtually every lap the EG 0,0 man couldn’t bridge the gap.
Nagashima finished 12th with Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) fading to 13th.
That left Lowes 14th , with the final point going to his team-mate Augusto Fernandez.
Tom Luthi just missed out on a points finish in his 300th grand prix start, he crossed the line 16th for Liqui Moly Intact GP.
Jorge Navarro crashed out of a top ten finish with 18 laps completed. Edgar Pons fell on the penultimate lap.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Andi Farid Izdihar also failed to make it to the end of the race.
Jake Dixon was absent through injury and not replaced by Petronas.