Aragon Moto2: Morbidelli wins with audacious last-lap pass

Moto2 championship leader Franco Morbidelli scored his eighth win of the 2017 campaign at Aragon, prevailing in an exhilarating ding-dong battle with compatriot Mattia Pasini.

Aragon Moto2: Morbidelli wins with audacious last-lap pass
Franco Morbidelli, Marc VDS
Mattia Pasini, Italtrans Racing Team
Mattia Pasini, Italtrans Racing Team
Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Ajo
Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Ajo
Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Ajo
Thomas Luthi, CarXpert Interwetten
Franco Morbidelli, Marc VDS
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Morbidelli sealed the win with a forceful move on the final lap, nudging Pasini wide to settle a long-running duel.

KTM Ajo poleman Miguel Oliveira led the way off the line, but it took Morbidelli little time to establish himself in first place, the Italian having quickly dispatched Pasini and teammate Alex Marquez before diving down the inside of Oliveira at Turn 16.

Pasini overtook Oliveira on the second lap and successfully rebuffed an attack from the Portuguese rider two laps later, slipping behind at Turn 1 only to retake and consolidate the place a few corners afterwards.

But this allowed Morbidelli to build his gap up to a second, the championship leader gradually adding a few more tenths to his advantage before Pasini began to turn the tide of the battle.

As the race approached halfway, Pasini was now the fastest rider on track, making quick work of Morbidelli's lead and trying an initial, unsuccessful attempt to pass his compatriot on lap 13 of 21.

He continued to relentlessly hound Morbidelli corner after corner and dived down the inside of Turn 16 a lap later to finally complete the move.

Yet Pasini's expected breakaway didn't progress past a half-second gap, Morbidelli reeling him in and retaking the spot at the start on lap 18.

Pasini then edged ahead of Morbidelli on the penultimate lap but surrendered the lead once again to a forceful move down the inside of the reverse-corkscrew Turn 8.

On the final lap, Pasini took the lead once more, pulling off a pass at the Turn 4 left-hander.

He then took a defensive line into Turn 8, but Morbidelli followed close through the corner, before jamming his bike down the inside of Turn 9, forcing Pasini wide and retaking first place.

This proved the decisive move, Morbidelli hanging on to win by 0.145s.

Oliveira, who was around three seconds back at halfway point, managed to close within half a second of the leading duo as they battled, but had to settle for third.

Morbidelli's title rival Thomas Luthi fought off reigning Moto3 champion Brad Binder for fourth, with another rookie Jorge Navarro beating Simone Corsi to sixth.

Completing the top 10 were Takaaki Nakagami, Sandro Cortese and Francesco Bagnaia.

Having missed the Misano race after sustaining a left hip injury, Marquez didn't get to take any points out of Aragon either, despite running third in the early stages.

His pace faded badly as the race approached halfway and he soon disembarked his Marc VDS Kalex bike in the pitlane to head to the medical centre.

Race results:

1 21 italy Franco Morbidelli  Kalex 40'09.904
2 54 italy Mattia Pasini  Kalex 0.145
3 44 portugal Miguel Oliveira  KTM 0.577
4 12 switzerland Thomas Luthi  Kalex 4.181
5 41 south_africa Brad Binder  KTM 4.331
6 9 spain Jorge Navarro  Kalex 7.328
7 24 italy Simone Corsi  Speed Up 7.597
8 30 japan Takaaki Nakagami  Kalex 7.630
9 11 germany Sandro Cortese  Suter 10.973
10 42 italy Francesco Bagnaia  Kalex 12.657
11 40 france Fabio Quartararo  Kalex 12.904
12 77 switzerland Dominique Aegerter  Suter 16.107
13 7 italy Lorenzo Baldassarri  Kalex 21.243
14 97 spain Xavi Vierge  Tech 3 21.314
15 62 italy Stefano Manzi  Kalex 22.583
16 55 malaysia Hafizh Syahrin  Kalex 22.601
17 57 spain Edgar Pons  Kalex 25.622
18 45 japan Tetsuta Nagashima  Kalex 27.244
19 5 italy Andrea Locatelli  Kalex 27.374
20 87 australia Remy Gardner  Tech 3 28.026
21 27 spain Iker Lecuona  Kalex 29.042
22 37 spain Augusto Fernandez  Speed Up 30.890
23 2 switzerland Jesko Raffin  Kalex 31.765
24 4 south_africa  Steven Odendaal  NTS 36.918
25 19 belgium Xavier Simeon  Kalex 37.042
26 20 united_states Joe Roberts  Kalex 38.275
27 6 united_kingdom Tarran Mackenzie  Suter 49.354
Ret 23 germany Marcel Schrötter  Suter 4 laps
Ret  22 italy Federico Fuligni  Kalex 4 laps
Ret  89 malaysia Khairul Idham Pawi  Kalex 6 laps
Ret  32 spain Isaac Viñales  Kalex 6 laps
Ret  73 spain Alex Marquez  Kalex 10 laps
Ret  10 italy Luca Marini  Kalex 12 laps
Ret  49 spain Axel Pons  Kalex 14 laps
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