Austria Moto2: Morbidelli comes out on top in tense battle
Franco Morbidelli scored his seventh victory of the Moto2 season at the Red Bull Ring, coming out on top against teammate Alex Marquez and title rival Thomas Luthi in a closely-fought battle.
From second on the grid, Morbidelli grabbed the advantage on the opening lap, as Marquez, Luthi and poleman Mattia Pasini formed up in a tight group that would run together for the first part of the race.
Points leader Morbidelli was able to stay just clear of the battle for second between Marquez and Luthi, who made a number of attempts to pass at Turn 3 but consistently ran wide.
As Pasini faded, the order of the top three remained the same until the 18th lap of 25, when Marquez launched an attack on his Marc VDS stablemate Morbidelli at Turn 3 - only to himself run wide and surrender the position to Luthi.
The Swiss veteran tried to force his way by Morbidelli for the lead at the same corner the next lap, but couldn't get the move done, and fell back behind Marquez two laps later.
By now, Morbidelli had the margin out front he needed to win, the MotoGP-bound Italian crossing the line 1.312s ahead of second-placed man Marquez.
Luthi completed the podium in third after running wide with three laps to go, Morbidelli stretching his points lead to 26 with seven rounds left.
KTM's Miguel Oliveira had threatened to get among the leading group in the latter stages after charging up to fourth, but the Portuguese suffered a violent crash at Turn 8 with five laps left.
That left Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing VR46) to claim fourth, ahead of Pasini (Italtrans), Takaaki Nakagami (Team Asia) and the surviving Ajo-run KTM of reigning Moto3 champion Brad Binder.
Gresini's Jorge Navarro, Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer) and Hafiz Syahrin (Petronas) completed the top 10.
Fabio Quartararo (Pons) had qualified a commendable sixth, only to be taken out of the race at the very first turn by Xavi Vierge (Tech 3) in an incident that also removed Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward) from contention. Issac Vinales (SAG) was also running inside the top 10 early on before crashing.
Danny Kent, standing in for Marcel Schrotter at Intact GP, didn't take the start after suffering a back injury in practice.
|11||24||Simone Corsi||Speed Up||21.887|
|15||87||Remy Gardner||Tech 3||25.128|
|16||37||Augusto Fernandez||Speed Up||33.460|
|17||89||Khairul Idham Pawi||Kalex||33.931|
|21||27||Iker Lecuona||Kalex||2 laps|
|Ret||44||Miguel Oliveira||KTM||5 laps|
|Ret||62||Stefano Manzi||Kalex||12 laps|
|Ret||5||Andrea Locatelli||Kalex||13 laps|
|Ret||32||Isaac Viñales||Kalex||14 laps|
|Ret||97||Xavi Vierge||Tech 3||24 laps|
|Ret||19||Xavier Simeon||Kalex||24 laps|
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