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Moto2: Espargaro champion, Redding taken out
27 October 2013
By Lisa Lewis
Pol Espargaro powered away to race and title victory in a restarted Japanese Moto2 Grand Prix at Motegi.
Espargaro took the lead at turn eleven from Mika Kallio in the early stages and didn't look back.
With title rival Scott Redding out of the running due to an incident that red-flagged the original race start,Espargaro held his nerve for his sixth win of the season and the first not to come from a pole for the Tuenti HP 40 rider, who had qualified seventh on the grid.
The result gives Espargaro an unassailable 41 point lead over his season long rival Redding, with just the final round at Valencia left to run.
His brother Aleix, himself CRT champion in a successful year for the Espargaro family, brought out his celebratory t-shirt and flag for an emotional lap of honour for the 22-year-old.
The original start saw cruel luck for the Marc VDS team and Redding after all their efforts to make the grid in Japan.
After 31 consecutive finishes Dominique Aegerter uncharacteristically crashed to the gravel side of the track at the same time as Tito Rabat fell into the pack and straight into the path of Redding, who had nowhere to go, hitting the Spaniard and twisting across the track.
Alex Marinelarena was also tangled up in the incident, having crashed first, Redding avoiding him only to move into the path of Rabat. The Blusens rider needed trackside attention, Redding was stretchered away in the ambulance, Rabat was able to hobble away.
All riders were 'deemed OK' before the second go at running the race.
Redding may have seen his title hopes vanish but was reported to have at least not damaged his fractured wrist further, with pains in his knee, right arm and back.
The race was immediately red-flagged and replaced by a 15 lap sprint.
Kallio, who had started from pole, crossed the line 1.3 seconds behind the winner for Marc VDS, leading the way before succumbing to the performance of Espargaro.
Tom Luthi was a distant third as the Swiss rider continued his strong second half to the season for the Interwetten Paddock team.
The battle for fourth, sadly was where most of the action took place. The fight between Johann Zarco and Xavier Simeon raged until Zarco's bike failed him with six laps to go, The Frenchman appearing to not be able to change gear.
Simeon couldn't keep pace with the leaders but held kept fourth for the Maptaq SAG Zelos team. Julian Simon had his second best result of the season in fifth for Italtrans.
Nico Terol started down in 24th but fought all the way up to sixth for Aspar, making up an incredible 18 places over the course of the race.
There was a late scrap for the remaining points places which saw Alex De Angelis snatch a seventh place finish, he was also the top Speed Up rider.
Amazingly, Technomag carXpert rider Aegerter managed to join for the restart after the team frantically rebuilt his bike, giving the Swiss rider the chance to start the warm-up lap from pitlane and join the grid at the back.
He maintained his run of points finishes, placing eighth as he took the flag.
Ninth went to home rider Taka Nakagami as he picked up places on the final lap for Italtrans.
Mattia Pasini pushed his Forward racing bike inside the top ten, with Ant West in eleventh ahead of Marcel Schrotter in twelfth.
Axel Pons crossed the line in 13th just ahead of a battling Gino Rea who had run as high as eighth for the Arginano & Gines team.
The final point went to reigning Moto3 champion Sandro Cortese in 15th for Dynavolt Intact GP.
Simone Corsi crashed out of third place on the opening lap of the shortened race.
Also failling were Doni Tata Pradita, Ricky Cardus, Azlan Shah, Louis Rossi, Jordi Torres and Rafid Topan Sucipto.
Danny Kent didn't start the race for Tech3 after breaking his collarbone in a crash in the morning session.
With the title wrapped up the final round of the Moto2 championship will be a very open race with nothing at risk when the paddock makes it's final stop in Valencia in two weeks' time.
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