Misano Moto2: Baldassarri catches Rins for maiden win
Forward Racing's Lorenzo Baldassarri saw off Moto2 title contender Alex Rins for a famous home victory at Misano.
Baldassarri's win was his first in 47 Moto2 starts, the Italian reeling in runaway leader Rins, who had produced a superb run despite riding with a still-injured collarbone.
Off the line, Takaaki Nakagami stormed past poleman Johann Zarco for the lead, only to outbrake himself and run well wide into Turn 1, allowing Zarco back through and forcing Thomas Luthi to cut the corner.
Having retaken first place, Zarco controlled the pace for the first few laps, but couldn't build a gap over closest rival Baldassarri. And as Baldassarri amped up the pressure on Zarco, Franco Morbidelli snuck past both for the lead.
Zarco was then swallowed up by the slipstream, forced wide by Rins and slumping down to fifth, as the Spaniard then deposed Baldassarri and picked off Morbidelli on lap six, going down the inside of Turn 8.
At that point, the Suzuki-bound rider started checking out, going a second clear in a couple of sectors and then adding another second to his advantage as his chasers fought for runner-up.
Baldassarri eventually prevailed in the scrap, and soon began to gain ground back on Rins, helped by no pressure behind as Morbidelli and Sam Lowes now led a hard battle for third.
Briefly ahead of Morbidelli, Lowes was re-passed and then went down at Turn 15, recording his fourth non-score in the past five races.
Morbidelli was off the pace by that point, quickly overtaken by Nakagami and Zarco - who by then had already ran out of time to reel in the leading duo.
Instead, Baldassarri was making up ground en masse on Rins, turning a two-second lead into a lead of two tenths with four laps left to run.
On the penultimate lap, he finally got the overtake done. Rins did not throw in the towel, however, getting a massive run on Baldassarri into Curvone on the final lap, but he was forced wide under braking and would coast home in second.
Nakagami took third, ahead of Zarco, whose lead over Rins in the standings shrunk from 10 points to just three.
Morbidelli ended up fifth, ahead of Luthi, Hafizh Syahrin, Jonas Folger, Sandro Cortese and Alex Marquez.
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